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Hunters Helping the Hungry

Hunters Helping the Hungry allows hunters to donate whole field-dressed deer to participating meat processors, with the final product donated to food pantries or charitable organizations statewide. The program is made possible through monetary donations that cover the processing costs of this program.

Every deer donated by hunters yields about 40 pounds of pure ground venison; that’s about 160 quarter-pound burgers. Since the program’s inception in 2011, Hunters Helping the Hungry has provided more than 900,000 meals to Nebraskans. Working together, we can keep that number rising!

How to contribute

Donate money

Tax-deductible cash contributions to support the program can be made in two ways:

  1. Make a contribution online today through our permit website, Contributors may use guest checkout. Hunters may add a contribution while purchasing any Nebraska hunting permit.
  2. Write a check made out to Nebraska Game and 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.

Become a processor

Nebraska Game and Parks seeks applications from interested processors each year. Selected processors are announced each August; see below for current participating processors.

Donate a deer

Hunters can donate a deer at a contracted processor beginning with the first day of the deer archery season and ending on the day after the late antlerless deer season ends. However, some contracted processors may only accept deer for a part of this period. Hunters are reminded any donated deer must be legally harvested with a valid Nebraska deer permit and checked through Telecheck or at a November firearm check station.

Hunters may keep the deer head, antlers and cape, but should contact a contracted processor to discuss removal of those portions. The program will not pay for removal. There is no limit to the number of deer a hunter may donate, however the number of deer donated at a processor location may be limited based on the available program funds to pay for the processing.

Participating processors

2023-2024 processors

  • Elmwood – Elmwood Meat Plant
  • Lindsay – Melcher’s Locker
  • Norfolk – R&M Meats
  • North Platte – Kelley’s Custom Pack
  • Pickrell – Pickrell Locker & Smokehouse
  • Ulysses – The Butchery
  • Table Rock – Den’s Country Meats

*Amherst – Belschner Custom Meats has met their quota for 2023-24 and is no longer accepting donated deer.

Processing restrictions

Since processing costs must be covered by donated funds, contracts limit the number of deer processors can accept annually. Only deer expected to yield at least 40 pounds of ground venison may be donated. Only whole, field-dressed deer can be accepted; hunters may not keep any venison.


Find answers to common Hunters Helping the Hungry program questions, including how to donate and receive deer, participating processors, restrictions and more.

No. All processing costs for deer donated by hunters to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program are paid for by the program.

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. Please refer to the list above.

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.

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. 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.

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).

Thanks to all our previous donors

Since our program’s inception, Hunters Helping the Hungry has provided more than 700,000 meals  (1/4 lb. serving of venison) because with your donations! Working together, we can keep that number rising!In 2021, the program received $10,000 from the BassPro Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, $5,000 from Scheels, and Farm Focused contributed $1,500 in donated profits from sales of HHH Gear.The Hunters Helping the Hungry program is very grateful to the following donors who contributed more than $30,000 combined to support the program in its first year: Cabela’s Club VISA, CBSHome, the David Scott Foundation, HOME Real EstateHomeServices of America, Inc., the Metropolitan Utilities DistrictNorthern Natural GasTenaska Marketing Ventures, and Woods Brothers Realty.

Contact us

Have questions about Hunters Helping the Hungry? Contact us.

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