Hunters Helping the Hungry is a program established by the Nebraska Legislature in April 2012 that provides ground venison to Nebraskans in need. It allows hunters to donate whole field-dressed deer at participating meat processors, and food pantries and other charitable organizations that distribute the ground venison across the state.
Frequently asked questions
More information about donating deer, receiving deer, participating processors, restrictions and more can be found below.
No. All processing costs for deer donated by hunters to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program are paid for by the program.
The list of contracted meat processors is located on the Hunters Helping the Hungry main page. Most processors will be accepting deer through all Nebraska deer hunting seasons, but a few may only accept deer through the end of the November firearm deer season.
Deer donations will be accepted at most contracted processor locations with the start of the Nebraska archery season and continue through the end of the late antlerless firearm season. However some processors may participate for only a portion of the deer hunting seasons, so please refer to the list on the Hunters Helping the Hungry main page.
No. Only funds donated to the program may be used to fund Hunters Helping the Hungry program – not permit funds. Hunters are asked if they would like to donate to the program when they buy a permit, but only the dollars that are donated to the program may be used for program costs.
No. The Hunters Helping the Hungry program can only accept deer harvested with a Nebraska deer permit. If a hunter has taken a deer in another state and wishes to donate it, they should contact the agency responsible for issuing deer permits in that state for information on what program may be available there.
To donate to someone they know, hunters cannot use the Hunters Helping the Hungry program to cover the processing costs. Instead hunters should transfer their deer or venison to that individual using a custody tag to accompany it. Deer that is donated at a participating meat processor for the Hunters Helping the Hungry program cannot be held for distribution to someone the hunter knows. Instead it will be picked up by a charitable organization that will distribute it to Nebraskans in need.
No. The Hunters Helping the Hungry program only allows donation of deer harvested with a valid Nebraska deer permit. Hunters who wish to transfer other game harvested to someone else, can do so by using a custody tag.
You’re right – it is a great program. Every deer donated by hunters is expected to yield about forty pounds of pure ground venison; that’s about 160 quarter-pound burgers. To turn that deer into venison we do need your donation. Tax-deductible cash contributions to support the program can be made three ways:
- Add a contribution while purchasing any Nebraska hunting permit.
- Make a contribution online.
- Write a check made out to Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, with HHH written in the memo field and mail it to: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, ATTN Hunters Helping the Hungry, 2200 N 33rd St, PO Box 30370, Lincoln, NE 68503-0370.
Venison is distributed by charitable organizations selected by the Commission. Individuals who want to receive venison should look at the map on the Hunters Helping the Hungry main page. It lists the charitable organizations participating with each contracted processor. Venison from the program is provided to Nebraskans in varying ways. For example, in one area the charitable organization may operate a soup kitchen and serve meals, while in another area an organization may operate a food bank and hand out packages of frozen venison to individuals or families. The Commission will rely heavily on the Food Bank for the Heartland and the Lincoln Food Bank as distributing organizations if the contracted processor has not nominated a local charitable organization.
No. Only deer harvested on Nebraska deer hunting permits are eligible for donation. Hunters donating a deer will provide on a donation log at the processors, their Nebraska deer permit number, the seal or telecheck number received when checking their deer, the date, their name, phone number and signature.
Charitable organizations wishing to participate have a couple of options.
- They can contact either the Food Bank for the Heartland or the Lincoln Food Bank to request becoming a partner organization, and request to receive venison from the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program.
- They can contact custom exempt meat processors in their area and request that the processor nominate them if they apply to participate in the program. The Commission does not have a list of all custom exempt meat processors, but many are members of the Nebraska Association of Meat Processors (NAMP). The Commission selects charitable organizations first by contacting any charitable organization that is nominated by processors that applied to participate in the program, and second by relying on the Food Bank for the Heartland or the Lincoln Food Bank if the processor has not nominated a local organization. All nominated charitable organizations are contacted to confirm their interest, to provide them with program information, and are asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Deer donated under the Hunters Help the Hungry program is intended for consumption by Nebraskans in need. It will not be distributed for pet food.
No. Participating meat processors are instructed not to accept road kill deer for inclusion in the program. Road kill deer can be legally claimed for use by individuals by obtaining a salvage tag.
The best way to help is to share information about the program, or make a cash donation to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program fund. At present there are no volunteer opportunities for individuals.
Hunters may keep the antlers, head and cape when donating a deer to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program. The contracted processor participating in the program and the hunter may decide together what process will work best to accomplish that (the program will not cover the cost to remove them).