ST. PAUL, Minn. (Nov. 15, 2013) — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is reminding Minnesota deer hunters that they can donate venison to Minnesota food shelves through the Hunter Harvested Venison Donation Program.
The program provides a source of protein to people in need while helping reduce local deer populations. Minnesota hunters donated 350 deer to the program in 2012, which provided 12,740 pounds of processed venison to food shelves throughout the state.
There is no cost to the hunter or processor to participate in the donation program. To be eligible to donate venison to the program, hunters must have their deer processed at a state-registered meat processing plant that has agreed to participate in the program. A list of processors can be found online by typing “venison processors” into the search field on MDA’s homepage at www.mda.state.mn.us.
Only entire carcasses with the hide attached can be donated. Cut and wrapped meat will not be accepted for donation. Hunters and processors must also adhere to specific standards designed to prevent food-borne illness. Processors may only accept carcasses for donation that are: Free from signs of illness; field dressed with the hide intact; free of visible decomposition or contamination; and properly identified with a Minnesota DNR registration tag.