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Venison Donation

You Can Help Feed the Hungry!

Each year, DEC partners with the Venison Donation Coalition and Feeding New York State to help provide food for those in need. Through a cooperative relationship involving the New York State Department of Health, non-profit organizations like Feeding New York State's regional food banks and deer processors, hunters contribute nearly 40 tons of venison each year to needy families across the state!

There are many ways a hunter can help feed those less fortunate. You can donate your deer or part of it at a cooperating processor, support your regional food bank monetarily, or make a cash donation to the Venison Donation Coalition when you purchase your hunting license to help offset the cost of processing donated venison (all links leave DEC website).

If you'd like to learn how you can support these programs or donate venison to help feed local families, visit the Venison Donation Coalition or Feeding New York State (both links leave DEC website).

Acquiring Venison Without Hunting

You don't have to be a hunter to enjoy high protein, low fat, and versatile wild game fare! Hunters may not sell venison or exchange goods or services for venison, but they can donate it to anyone they choose. Just ask a hunter, then Eat Local!

To make it easier on the hunter, you may opt to receive the whole deer and process it yourself or pay for a commercial processor to do it for you. Or the hunter could drop the deer off at the processor, and you could pay the processor when you pick up the packaged meat.

It's easy! When receiving donated venison, you will need:

For a whole deer:

  • The hunter's state-issued deer harvest tag, fully filled out, must be attached.
  • In addition, a signed note must be attached to the carcass that includes the date of donation and the names and addresses of both the hunter who shot the deer and the recipient of the carcass.
  • If the entire carcass minus the head is being transported, evidence of sex of the deer must be intact and on the back of the harvest tag must be written the name and address of the taxidermist where the head was sent and the number of points on each antler.

For packaged meat:

  • A note signed by the hunter attached to the packages of meat including:
    • The names and addresses of both the hunter who shot the deer and the recipient of the meat.
    • The hunter's hunting license number.
    • The amount of meat donated.
    • This tag must remain in possession of the recipient until the meat is consumed.
  • Packages of meat should be clearly labeled 'venison'.

When You Choose to Eat Wild Game, You:

  • Make the healthy choice to eat meat from an animal that was free range, consumed a natural diet, and was never treated with hormones or antibiotics.
  • Help to reduce the number of over-abundant deer in New York State.
  • Take an active role in acknowledging where your food comes from.

Find more information about the nutritional benefits of wild game, as well as wild game cooking tips see (both links leave DEC website):

Read Choose Non-lead Ammunition for tips to reduce the risk of lead in venison.