Nebraska Deer Exchange Program to Begin This Fall

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A pilot program of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will allow for the transfer of deer meat from hunters to people who want to receive it.

The Deer Exchange, expected to be available by Nov. 1, will be run from the Commissions Internet site. Venison donors and willing recipients will search a database, with contact information, for interested parties in their area. The parties will contact each other and work out the details of the transfer.

While the venison cannot be sold, recipients may pay for the processing or butchering of the meat.

The donors and recipients will register online at OutdoorNebraska.org. There is no cost to register.

A record deer harvest is expected this year. In an effort to thin the whitetail population, especially in eastern Nebraska, 87,000 antlerless whitetail bonus tags have been made available. Crop damage complaints and deer-vehicle collisions have increased along with the deer population.

The Deer Exchange is designed to accommodate the additional harvest of deer. Hunters who have filled their freezers may still bag a deer and have somewhere to take the meat.

Other benefits of the program are: supplying a source of protein to the hungry; increasing communication between hunters and nonhunters; and increasing hunter recruitment, development, and retention.

The Commission will not be responsible for the quality of the deer meat or the failure of the donor or recipient to follow through with the transfer. However, the agency will provide the necessary transfer cards.

The recipient will have the choice of accepting field dressed deer, skinned and boned deer, or wrapped and frozen deer meat. The donor is responsible for properly field dressing and checking the deer at a check station prior to transfer.

When transferring game animals, the hunter must provide the following information: name, address, phone number, date of birth, permit number or seal number, estimated weight of meat (in pounds), species of animal, date taken, signature of donor, and name of recipient.

The Commissions goal for this fall is to have 1,000 deer donated. If successful, the agency could begin a similar program for species such as carp.

Venison has nutritional benefits over a common rival.

According to nutritiondata.com, 100 grams of ground, pan-broiled venison has 187 calories, compared to 246 for the same portion of 80-percent lean pan-broiled ground beef. Venison has 26.5 grams or protein, compared to beefs 24, and 8.2 grams of total fat to beefs 15.9. Venison is low in sodium.

More information about the Deer Exchange will be made available as the system progresses. For more information on deer hunting, or to buy a permit, go to OutdoorNebraska.org.