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Contact information
For information on the Deer Donation Program, contact:
Brad Koele
Wildlife damage specialist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
715-356-5211, ext. 234

Wisconsin deer donation

The deer donation program helps those in need by providing an opportunity for hunters to donate their deer. The venison from donated deer is processed and distributed to food pantries across the state. Since the program began in 2000, hunters have donated over 90,000 deer which were processed into over 3.7 million pounds of ground venison. Wisconsin has a network of venison donation partners including: county land and water conservation departments, food pantries, charitable organizations, Hunt for the Hungry, USDA - Wildlife Services and participating processors who all help implement and administer the program.

Celebrating 20 years

The deer donation program has been providing venison to needy people throughout Wisconsin for 20 years. This is thanks to the counties, processors, pantries, and hunters that work hard to make this program a success. To celebrate, hunters will receive a free hat upon donation of a deer through the program in 2019.

Chronic wasting disease affected counties

Deer that are harvested in one of the 24 CWD-affected counties listed below must be sampled for CWD either prior to or at the time of donation. The processed venison will be held until results are known.

  • All adult deer harvested in Crawford, Dodge, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Lincoln, Milwaukee, Marquette, Oneida, Portage, Racine, Vernon and Waukesha are required to be tested for CWD and;
  • All adult deer and fawns harvested in Adams, Columbia, Dane, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland, Rock, Sauk and Walworth are required to be tested for CWD.

How to donate your deer

Hunters, you can help feed needy people throughout Wisconsin by taking 5 simple steps.

  1. Donate any legally harvested deer from Wisconsin by dropping it off at a participating processor [PDF] by February 1, 2020. Deer harvested outside of Wisconsin cannot be donated through the Wisconsin deer donation program.
  2. Prior to donating, field dress the deer, register it and write your registration confirmation number down. You will need the registration confirmation number handy in order to fill out the hunter donation log sheet that the meat processor maintains.
  3. Call first! Contact one of the participating processors before dropping the deer off to verify the processor has space to accept your deer.
  4. Donate the entire deer to receive the processing for free. (Head and/or antlers may be removed for mounting.) Please handle the carcass as if it were destined for your own table. A couple bags of ice placed in the cavity will help preserve the carcass in warm weather.
  5. When dropping your deer off at a processor, please complete the log sheet indicating your desire to donate the deer. We'll do the rest. The donated deer will be processed and the venison will be distributed to charitable organizations to help feed Wisconsin's needy.

Make a financial donation to the Deer Donation Program

Hunters and the public can voluntarily donate $1 or more to the Deer Donation Program. Donations will be used to help cover meat processing fees. To donate, either go to any WI Hunting License sales location or donate online through your Go Wild account.

Non-toxic ammunition

Please consider switching to non-toxic ammunition as even a very small amount of lead in a deer carcass may be toxic to humans and wildlife. Page 29 of the 2019 Deer Hunting Regulations [PDF] booklet lists recommendations to reduce the risk of lead in venison.

Thank you for your interest and good luck hunting

Last revised: Tuesday December 17 2019