Sharing the harvest

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture wants to let deer hunters throughout the state know that if they don’t want to process and eat their kills, there is a need for them.

Hunters are invited to 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. Last year, Minnesota hunters donated 350 deer to the program, providing 12,740 pounds of processed venison to food shelves.

There is no cost to participate. To be eligible, hunters must have their deer processed at a state-registered meat processing plant that has agreed to participate in the program. A list can be found online by searching for “venison processors” in the search field on the MDA homepage,

Only entire carcasses with hide attached can be donated. Cut and wrapped meat will not be accepted. Hunters and processors must adhere to specific standards to prevent food-borne illness.

Processors can only accept carcasses that are:
* Free from signs of illness
* Field dressed with hide intact
* Free of visible decomposition or contamination
* Properly identified with a Minnesota DNR registration tag

For more information, contact Margaret Hart, MDA communications, at (651) 201-6131 or email