DNR Program Receives Record Low Of Deer Donations To Food Banks

DNR Officials Say Fewest Deer Offered In 15 Years

food donations
U.S. Department of Agriculture (CC-BY)

A state Department of Natural Resources deer donation program that provides venison to food pantries is seeing its lowest numbers on record, despite an increase in the total number of deer harvested.

Hunters have given around 1,200 deer to the DNR’s Deer Donation Program this year, as compared to the record of nearly 12,000 in 2006.

DNR wildlife biologist Brad Koele said this year marks a record low.

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“The number of deer that are coming in to processors seems up from last year but unfortunately the donations are down,” he said.

Koele said more hunters are opting to keep the deer they shoot, due in part to restrictions on shooting does.

“A lot of things have changed over time as far as tag availability throughout the state and then also deer numbers have changed,” he said.

The DNR has administered the deer donation program for the past 15 years.