UNDATED (AP) -- The Department of Natural Resources says the deer donation program is off to a good start -- even before the start of the regular gun hunt.
Wisconsin deer hunters can donate venison from deer they harvest for distribution to food pantries across the state.
The program's coordinator Laurie Fike says some processors in the 'earn-a-buck' units say they've already received 50 to 60 percent of the total they processed all season last year.
This fall 59 counties and 143 processors are participating in the program.
There's a separate program for deer killed in the chronic wasting disease management zones. Seventeen processors will hold the venison for donation until C-W-D test results are back -- and only venison from negative deer will be sent to pantries.
Since 2000, hunters have donated more than 35-thousand deer to the program, providing more than a (m) million pounds of ground venison to the food pantries.