Hunters donated enough deer this fall to provide nearly 500-thousand pounds of venison for Wisconsin food pantries.
The Department of Natural Resources says nearly 11,000 deer were donated through the state program -- a record.
Program coordinator Laurie Fike says it means food pantries will be able to distribute venison through the winter and into the spring.
Last year nearly 68-hundred deer were donated. The D-N-R pays butcher shops 50 dollars for each deer processed. That money comes from a one-dollar surcharge on hunting licenses.
Fike and others says the state's expanded Earn-A-Buck program this fall is a major factor in the increased donations. Under the program, hunters in some parts of Wisconsin were required to shoot an antlerless deer before killing a buck.
Johnson's Sausage Shoppe in Rio processed the most donated deer with 639, followed by Brandon Meats and Sausage in Brandon with 426.