Posted at: 11/19/2012 4:33 PM
Updated at: 11/19/2012 10:57 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
Northland hunters are starting to fill their freezers with venison, but some lucky shooters are choosing to stock up for other people. Venison donation programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota allow hunters to give meat to their area food shelf. It must go through a state-approved meat processor, but it's free of charge.
"The feelings great," Robert Hursh, owner of Hursh Processing, said. "I mean, it's an upbeat deal. A ten dollar bill can go anywhere; the food is filling the belly."
Hursh Processing in Poplar, Wis. has participated in the program for eight years, and he said it's a great way to help out. So far, nine deer have been donated at his business in just three days.
"People love it if they need it," Hursh said. "Each hunter that donates it, is happy also. Everybody wins."
A food shelf down the street is just one place Hursh's donated meat goes. The Rural Care and Share Food Shelf at Peace Lutheran Church serves about 70 families every month.
"I really hope that hunters do continue to give their venison to the food shelf," Pastor Gregory Gullicksrud said. "People here really appreciate getting the food, especially during these times."
Wisconsin hunters have donated 80,000 deer in the past twelve years. The program started in 2000, and in Minnesota, it started in 2007. The effort is funded through hunting license fees.