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Wisconsin unveils turkey donation program

Like you, I enjoy helping others.
I give lots of fish to friends, especially older folks, who can't get out and enjoy the outdoors anymore. I'll even clean and fillet fish for my closest friends, relatives and elderly people, knowing full well that some day I will need a helping hand, too.
Our family is usually fortunate enough to get one deer for the freezer each year, although some years we get skunked. When we are lucky enough to get two deer, we manage to make room in our freezer. We do share venison burger with family, friends and the elderly, but we haven't donated any deer to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Deer Donation Program.

I quit turkey hunting when I retired seven years ago. To this day I really don't now why. I still enjoy calling the critters. Yet, my heart isn't in it anymore.
If I did hunt turkeys, I wouldn't get involved with the new turkey program offered this spring and next fall.  
You see, hunters now have the option of donating their harvested turkey to needy families through the new Turkey Donation Program.
I'm sure it will develop into another worthwhile program to help the needy, and I applaud the DNR for offering it. However, I'm a little selfish. I enjoy wild turkey as much as venison. I shot many wild turkeys through the years and they were always delicious on the grill. Family members agree.
For those of you heading to the turkey woods and fields this spring and fall, have safe, successful hunts. And if you wish to donate your turkey, be sure to follow the instructions below.
Donated turkeys will be processed free of charge and meat will be provided to local food pantries. For the spring 2017 turkey hunt, three pilot counties, Dodge, Fond du Lac and Jefferson, were chosen. This program will be expanded for the fall turkey hunt later this year.
Participating locations are as follows (additional locations may be added after the start of the spring season; a list of participating locations can be found on the DNR’s website:, keyword search Turkey Donation):
* Dodge County: Pernat-Haase Meats, N4202 Hwy M, Juneau, 920-386-3340;
* Fond Du Lac County: Loehr's Meat Service, 523 E Main St, Campbellsport, 920-533-4513; and
* Jefferson County: Pernat’s Premium Meats, 312 Milwaukee St, Johnson Creek, 920-699-6990.
Hunters can follow four simple steps to donate a harvested turkey to a family in need. Turkeys must be taken to a participating location by May 31:
* Prior to donation, field dress the turkey, complete registration, and validate the carcass tag.
* Contact a participating processor before drop-off to verify the processor has space to accept a turkey.
* Donate the entire turkey to receive processing for free (the feet, beard and feathers may be removed prior to donating). A bag of ice placed in the cavity will help preserve the carcass in warm weather.
* Complete the log sheet and indicate desire to donate the turkey. The donated turkey will be processed and the ground turkey will be distributed to charitable organizations to help feed families in need.
Those interested in supporting the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs can voluntarily donate $1 or more to the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs to help cover meat-processing fees. To donate, visit any license sales location or donate online through a Go Wild account at GoWild.Wi.Gov
For more information about the DNR’s turkey donation program and more on how you can help, visit and search keywords “