Hunters encouraged to consider donating deer to local food pantries

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages hunters to donate Wisconsin-harvested deer through the DNR’s Deer Donation Program. The program helps stock food pantries to support residents in need.

Wisconsin has a network of venison donation partners, including county land and water conservation departments, food pantries, charitable organizations, USDA – Wildlife Services and participating meat processors, who help implement and administer the program.

Since the program began in 2000, hunters have donated 98,000 deer, totaling over 3.9 million pounds of venison.

How To Donate

Hunters interested in donating a Wisconsin-harvested deer to the DNR’s Deer Donation Program should follow these steps:

  1. Field dress the deer. 
  2. Register the deer through GameReg. Please note the registration confirmation number and keep it on hand when dropping off the deer.
  3. Test the deer for CWD before taking the deer to a processor if harvested from a CWD-affected county. A list of CWD sampling locations is available on the DNR’s Sampling For Chronic Wasting Disease webpage
  4. Call ahead. Contact a participating processor before dropping off the deer to make sure they have space to accept it. More processors may be added later in the season, so check back if you don’t see one currently in your area. 
  5. Bring the deer to the processor. If donating a deer being tested for CWD, inform the processor and provide the CWD barcode number. The processor will not distribute the deer until the results are known.

Don’t Hunt Or Want To Donate Your Deer?

Hunters and non-hunters may also support the Deer Donation Program through a monetary donation at any Wisconsin Hunting License sales location or online through their Go Wild account.

Visit Wisconsin’s Deer Donation Program webpage to learn more about the program.

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