Can You Sell or Donate Your Deer Meat in New York State?
Not all of us hunt, but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy a good piece of game meat. Along those same lines, not everyone who hunts can eat every bite they harvest. So can you sell or donate your extra venison? The answer is Yes and No.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) in conjunction with the Venison Donation Coalition and Feeding New York State has an answer for those of you who want to make sure every deer you harvested this season becomes a meal for someone in the community. There is a team of organizations ready to make sure no venison goes to waste. So, yes, you can donate your deer in New York but no, you can't sell it.
Hunters may not sell venison or exchange goods or services for venison, but they can donate it to anyone they choose.(NYS DEC Bulliten 12/9/2021)
According to a NYS DEC bulletin sent out today (December 9, 2021) via email, hunters have contributed nearly 40 tons of venison each year to help needy families across New York State. There is a process that hunters who donate have to follow but it really isn't too complicated. One way to donate is to get your harvest to a cooperating processor you can offset some costs by donating a portion of your deer.
You Don't have to be a Hunter in New York to Receive Fresh Venison
Whole Deer Donations (from NYS DEC Bulletin)
- The hunter's state-issued deer harvest tag, fully filled out, must be attached.
- In addition, a signed note must be attached to the carcass that includes the date of donation and the names and addresses of both the hunter who shot the deer and the recipient of the carcass.
- If the entire carcass minus the head is being transported, evidence of sex of the deer must be intact and on the back of the harvest, on the tag must be written the name and address of the taxidermist where the head was sent and the number of points on each antler.
Package Deer Meat (from NYS DEC Bulletin)
- A note signed by the hunter attached to the packages of meat including:
- The names and addresses of both the hunter who shot the deer and the recipient of the meat.
- The hunter's hunting license number.
- The amount of meat donated.
- This tag must remain in possession of the recipient until the meat is consumed.
- Packages of meat should be clearly labeled 'venison'.
I have had the good fortune of knowing a few hunters over the years that always invite me to one of their venison dinners. I am not a hunter and most people who know me would say me in the woods with a gun congers up images of Elmer Fudd so I am going to stick with the generosity of friends.