NE Game and Parks need deer and money donations

By: Kayla Bremer

There's a unique way for deer hunters to help people in need this holiday season.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission started a new program called “Hunters Helping the Hungry.” It's aiming to supply food banks with venison donated by deer hunters.

“We're paying the processors to take care of the venison but that moneys not coming from permit fees or Game and Parks funds or tax dollars,” Ralph Wall said.  “It comes from our good will of what we can afford to give.”

They're asking for people to donate deer but also money to pay for the processing fees, which is about 85 dollars per deer.  This year's goal is 10,000 pounds of meat or about 275 deer.

Game and Parks says right now they're only at a third of their quota.  Deer numbers are down due to a combination of the drought and a disease that's fatal to the animal.

“Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, that particular virus is carried by a biting fly or a midge and the deer get it…it's always fatal,” Wall said.  “It happens every year but this year was particularly bad because of the drought.”

Game and Parks says anyone can help even if you're not a hunter.  Cash donations will go towards processing fees and setting up funds for next year's goal of 25,000 dollars.

“It doesn't have to be a lot.  A buck or two by everybody would really accomplish a lot toward helping Nebraskans in need this particular holiday season and really all through the year.”

If you're interested in helping, you can drop off cash donations at any Game and Parks location or go to their web site and make donation online.