It’s been an especially hard year for families in need and area food pantries as they continue to see their resources thinned by the COVID-19 pandemic, but local hunters can play a role in keeping food on more tables this winter through the Wisconsin DNR’s deer donation program. Each year, hunters, meat processors, and the DNR team up to donate thousands of pounds of venison to Wisconsin food pantries. Since Wisconsin’s Deer Donation Program first began in 2000, more than 92,000 deer have been donated, totaling more than 3.7 million pounds of venison distributed to food pantries across the state. To participate, hunters can donate a deer at a participating meat processor, including Liljestrand’s One Stop in Marinette, Pelkin’s Venison Processing in Crivitz, or Meatski’s in Pound, or when they purchase a hunting license, they can make a monetary donation to help cover venison processing costs. Hunters are only asked to field dress and register their deer before donation and should contact their participating processor before dropping off a deer.