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Venison donations up this year, say local food pantries

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Local food pantries say they've been getting more venison this year thanks to the efforts of hunters donating their deer to charity.

It's all a part of the Wisconsin Venison Program, and local pantry directors are thankful for the help. Interfaith Food Pantry coordinator Melvin Dow says donations are much higher this year. "We have gotten about 800 to 900 pounds so far this year, last year we only got about 400 pounds." The Neighbor's Place in Wausau has received about 1000 pounds of venison so far, and director Tom Rau says that's just through the bow season. "At least 500 families that come to our pantry would get a part of 1000 pounds of venison."

The program has collected 3.7 million pounds of venison over the last 13 years and this year 120 local meat processors and butcher shops will take part in the program. Dow says the venison goes into their regular packages of food. "Venison is real popular mainly with the older recipients."

The Neighbor's Place in Wausau has plenty of room for more collections, says Rau. "We do have a freezer and refrigerator here, industrial sized, so we're able to take as much venison as we can possibly get during this season."

You can get a list of participating programs inside and outside the CWD zones online, at a DNR service center, or anywhere you can buy a deer tag.

ON THE WEB: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/donation.html

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