DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife reminds hunters that Sportsmen Against Hunger program accepts donated deer

Butcher shops and self-serve coolers available to accept donated deer to help feed those in need

DOVER – During the current peak of the 2019/2020 deer hunting season, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife reminds hunters that its Sportsmen Against Hunger program is available for hunters to donate harvested deer to help feed those in need. All donated deer are processed free of charge to the hunter, and the meat is distributed to participating charitable groups.

Donated deer can be dropped off at participating private butcher shops as well as self-serve, walk-in coolers maintained by the Division of Fish & Wildlife as listed below. Deer generously donated by deer hunters are processed into ground venison and distributed to charitable groups that provide meals for needy Delawareans.

Last year, the Sportsmen Against Hunger program distributed 19,069 pounds of venison from 639 deer donated by hunters to approximately three dozen food pantries and shelters statewide, which provided more than 76,000 meals to Delawareans in need. Since it began in 1992, the program has provided more than two million such meals.

Participating butcher shops in the Sportsmen Against Hunger program

New Castle County

Townsend Deer Butchering
1300 Dexter Corner Road
Townsend, DE 19734
302-378-3268

Kent County

D&J Custom Cutting
89 Myers Drive
Hartly, DE 19953
302-492-0323

Miller’s Butcher Shop
577 Morgans Choice Road
Wyoming, DE 19934
302-697-8278

Sussex County

Dave’s Cut ‘Em Up
6854 Delmar Road
Delmar, DE 19940
302-381-7257

Walk-in cooler locations to donate deer for Sportsmen Against Hunger program

New Castle County

Augustine Wildlife Area, 303 North Congress Street, Port Penn, DE 19731

Kent County

Little Creek Wildlife Area, 3018 Bayside Drive, Dover, DE 19901
Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, 782 Kersey Road, Viola, DE 19979
Mosquito Control Office, 1161 Airport Road, Milford, DE 19963

Sussex County

Redden State Forest Headquarters, 18074 Redden Forest Drive, Georgetown, DE 19947
Trap Pond State Park, 33587 Bald Cypress Lane, Laurel, DE 19956
Gumboro Community Center, 36849 Millsboro Highway, Millsboro, DE 19966
Assawoman Wildlife Area, 37604 Mulberry Landing Road, Frankford, DE 19945

Hunters donating deer at self-serve, walk-in coolers are asked to call the phone number posted on the cooler so that the deer can be transported for processing in a timely manner. Hunters are reminded that all deer dropped off at a cooler must be field-dressed and registered by the hunter, with the registration number written on the field tag attached to the deer. Coolers are checked frequently, with donated deer taken to participating private butcher shops or the Sussex Correctional Institution’s deer butchering program for processing.

All deer harvested in Delaware, including donated deer, must be registered through the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter and Trapper Registration (HTR) system. Deer hunters are encouraged to access the system online using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Hunters who prefer to talk to a live customer service representative can call 1-855-DEL-HUNT (1-855-335-4868).

More information on hunting in Delaware can be found in the 2019-2020 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and from license agents statewide.

For more information on the Sportsmen Against Hunger Program, including an interactive map of the donation locations, please visit Sportsmen Against Hunger, or contact Bill Jones, regional wildlife manager, at 302-284-4795 or Eric Ness, deer biologist, at 302-735-3600.

Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.


Severe crop damage at Redden State Forest creates public deer harvest opportunities to assist local farmers

DOVER, Del. — A recent increase in severe deer damage to agricultural crops on two portions of Redden State Forest in Sussex County has created public deer harvest opportunities to assist local farmers. Through a partnership with DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife, the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is opening specific portions of Redden State Forest’s Jester Tract immediately to expanded antlerless deer harvest dates and methods through Monday, Sept. 30.

“We recognize that farmers are attempting to protect their crops without using lethal measures, but the steps they are taking are not keeping deer from causing crop damage. The field inspections conducted by the Department of Agriculture are showing upwards of 85 percent crop loss,” said Deputy State Forester Kyle Hoyd. “We have an opportunity to assist these Delaware farmers by opening these portions of Redden State Forest earlier than normal to allow the use of firearms to harvest deer, which will provide the public additional opportunities to harvest antlerless deer.”

Under this special permit from DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, only antlerless deer can be harvested in the specified portions of the Jester Tract outlined in red on the associated maps. The harvest of antlerless deer, specifically does, has been proven to be the most effective way of reducing local deer populations and associated crop damage.

Only firearms or archery equipment that can be legally used to harvest deer in Delaware are allowed. Those using archery equipment may still harvest antlered deer on these permitted areas once the archery and crossbow deer seasons open on state forests on Monday, Sept. 2. Pursuit and harvest of deer on Sundays is prohibited in these areas.

All users of the areas, including those pursuing the harvest of deer, are required to wear and display at least 400 square inches of hunter orange in these permitted areas through Sept. 30. These areas will have signage posted, so the public knows where these expanded firearm harvest opportunities of antlerless deer are permitted.

To harvest or attempt to harvest deer, a Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) is required. To purchase a hunting license, either in person or online, hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, must have a successfully completed a basic hunter education safety course. Delaware hunting licenses can be purchased online at Delaware Licenses, at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, or from hunting license agents statewide.

Deer must be tagged immediately after harvest, and tags must remain attached until the deer is processed. Delaware hunting licenses come with four antlerless deer tags, but additional antlerless deer tags may be purchased online or from license agents for $20.

All harvested deer must be registered deer within 24 hours of harvest. A registration number is required before taking any deer to a butcher or taxidermist. Likewise, those who butcher their own deer must register the deer within 24 hours of harvest or before processing. Deer may be registered by visiting the Hunter and Trapper Registration (HTR) system online at https://egov.delaware.gov/htr using their smartphone, tablet or computer, or by calling 1-855-DEL-HUNT (1-855-335-4868).

Harvested deer may be donated to the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger Program using the walk-in cooler at the Redden State Forest. All donated deer will be processed free of charge and the meat will be distributed to participating charitable groups. The Division of Fish & Wildlife requests that those donating harvested deer call the phone number posted on the cooler, so that donated deer are transported for processing in a timely manner. Any deer dropped off at a cooler must be field-dressed and registered, with the registration number written on a field tag to be attached to the deer.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, 302-698-4542, stacey.hofmann@delaware.gov