Wisconsin DNR strongly recommends testing deer for CWD before venison gets donated

A new gun deer season in Wisconsin means a busy time for deer meat processors.

“It’s gonna be pretty crazy around here for the next, you know, probably two weeks,” St. Joe’s Country Market co-owner Kyle Seubert said.

St. Joe’s Country Market in La Crosse is taking part in the deer donation program for the first time.

“We’re actually pretty excited about that, and hopefully help some families out,” Seubert said.

But that does not change the fact the Wisconsin DNR is encouraging hunters to get their deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease.

In fact, the DNR requires all harvested adult deer to be tested for the disease in counties with positive CWD cases.

“We’re doing disease surveillance and disease detection, so when hunters sample their deer, it gives us an idea of the geographic distribution of the disease,” Wisconsin DNR CWD biologist Terry Sheurette said.

Sheurette says sampling your deer helps everybody out.

“It gives hunters that peace of mind, too, if it’s something they’re concerned about,” Sheurette said.

The steps when processing the meat is not as complex as some might think.

“We’ll skin it, and then actually cut it up. And then, box it up, freeze it, and that’s pretty much it,” Seubert said.

After that, processors send the meat to food pantries.

“We usually don’t get a lot of ground meat in, so that’s what makes it such an important donation,” Hunger Task Force of La Crosse program assistant Nicole Larson said.

Larson says the meat is kept in a freezer around negative 10 degrees until it gets donated.

“The deer meat that we get in is then distributed to more than 100 programs throughout the Coulee Region,” Larson said.

All they ask for is a small favor.

“We just encourage hunters to get out there and donate even if it means that they just donate a couple pounds, we love that as well,” Larson said.

Because Seubert knows there’s people out there in need.

“If there’s a family out there that’s hungry, and we have all these reliable resources around here like shooting deer, it’s a no-brainer,” Seubert said.

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