Wisconsin DNR encourages donation of deer to fight hunger

La Crosse Hunger Task Force continues to work with MNR and meat processors to provide game to families in need

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WKBT) – About one in 12 Wisconsin households struggles to put food on the table. It was before the pandemic. However, fall hunters can help solve the problem.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to donate deer harvested in Wisconsin each season. Between local processors and pantries, the community helps get healthy food into the kitchens of those in need. People are facing unstable livelihoods as it is now due to a pandemic and rising cost of living.

“We see people in need struggling with low wages, high rents, things like that,” said Shelly Fortner, executive director of the Hunger Task Force at La Crosse.

A lot of people are constantly worried about whether their next meal will be seated at their table.

“We have been here for 20 years to combat this problem,” said Fortner.

“Food insecurity has existed in our region and across the country for as long as I can remember. “

Fortner sees the need with his own eyes. She also knows how people can help. Since 2000, hunters have donated over 94,000 deer, over 3.8 million pounds of venison.

“I think it’s an easy and great way to help your neighbors in need,” Fortner said.

As part of the Hunters to the Hungry program, his organization is working with Wisconsin DNR and meat processors to deliver game to families.

“We’re getting around 5-8,000 pounds a year from this program,” she said.

“It’s very skinny. There isn’t a lot of fat in there. It is very healthy.

Hunters in search of that trophy deer, according to Fortner, can also save a family from an empty table, just in time for the holidays. It costs meat processors money.
All monetary donations as well as deer venison are also helpful.

How to donate deer harvested in Wisconsin

Hunters interested in donating a deer harvested in Wisconsin to the MNR’s deer donation program can follow these steps:

  1. Dress your deer in the field. Handle the carcass with care.
  1. Register your deer via Game register. Write down your registration confirmation number and keep it handy when you drop off your deer.
  1. Test your deer for CWD if it is harvested in a County affected by CWD that requires testing before taking the deer to a processor. To find a MDC sampling location near you to submit free samples of deer collected in Wisconsin, visit the MNR website. Sampling for Chronic Wasting Disease Webpage. Test results are usually available from MNR within two weeks.
  1. Call ahead! Contact one of the participating processors before you drop your deer to make sure it has space to accept it. Other processors can be added later in the season, so check back if you don’t see any currently in your area.If you are donating a deer harvested in Wisconsin and tested for CWD, notify the processor at the time of donation and provide your MDC barcode number. The processor will keep the donated deer until the results are known and before distributing it to a non-profit association.
  1. To file your deer at a participating processor.

Visit the MNR Deer Donation Program webpage for more information.

About Marc Womack

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