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Hunters help feed the hungry

Wildlife officials encourage hunters to donate venison for feeding the hungry. <i>Stock photo</i>

The DNR-coordinated Wisconsin Venison Donation Program started 11 years ago and since then, has stocked 3.6 million pounds of ground venison into the state's food pantries.

As deer season gets well underway, the program and its affiliates -- Hunt for the Hungry, Target Hunger and about 120 meat processors from around the state -- remind hunters of how to donate deer to the program.

DNR wildlife biologist coordinating the venison program, Brad Koele, said the processors are ready to accept and distribute extra venison, "The generosity of hunters, meat processors, and volunteers has been incredible," he said. "We need your help again this season to share the harvest and help families in need."

Over the life of the program, hunters have donated 80,000 deer. When they donate the entire deer, processing is free -- though hunters may remove the head and/or antlers.

The DNR advises donating hunters to take these steps:

  • Field dress the deer and register it at a DNR registration station before donating.
  • Call the meat processor first to be sure they have room to accept the deer.
  • Sign a simple log sheet at the processor's place to indicate donation.

After processors ready the venison, it is distributed to Wisconsin food pantries.

Donation processors in St. Croix County:

  • Deer's Food Locker at 715-269-5118 and 210 N. Main St, Deer Park
  • Glenwood City Lockers at 715-265-4833 and 424 1st St., Glenwood City
  • Kessler Processing at 715-265-4248 and 1181 Hwy. 128, Glenwood City
  • Powers Wild Game at 715-377-3291 and 2040 Hwy. 65, New Richmond
  • RJ's Meats & Groceries at 715-386-9291 and 1101 Coulee Rd., Hudson.

Donation processors in Pierce County:

  • Pierce County Meats at 715-273-4741 and 460 E. Wall St., East Ellsworth
  • Ptacek's IGA at 715-262-5636 and 1449 Orrin Rd., Prescott.

Find a statewide list of participating meat processors on the DNR web site: www., type in key words 'deer donation.'

The DNR includes a special set of instructions for processing harvested deer that were sampled for chronic wasting disease, either inside or outside the CWD management zones.

Get more information about the deer donation program from Brad Koele at 608-266-2151 or from Jenny Peleg at 608-264-9248.