Eau Claire (WQOW) - More than 115,000 deer were harvested during opening weekend of the gun deer hunt. It may sound like a lot, but that's down more than 4,000 from one year ago. On Tuesday, News 18 checked in with businesses that rely on a successful harvest.
Mike Maier, who owns Mike's Star Market in Eau Claire, said things have been a bit slower compared to year's past. He thinks the cooler temperatures mean people have been able to hang deer longer, and don't need to take them to the butcher right away. “They just drop it off, and what we do is cut it up, grind it into hamburger and it goes to the food pantries in the Eau Claire County area,” Maier said.
Feed My People Food Bank, located in Eau Claire, hopes for a big deer harvest every year to help stock their shelves with venison. Emily Moore, the executive director for Feed My People Food Bank, said in 2015, more than 1,800 pounds of venison were donated to the food bank. So far in 2016, they haven't received any donations, but they said, typically, donations do not start coming in until later in the hunting season. “If they have more deer than they are able eat them selves, it is just fabulous if people are willing to share with others because the need is great and it is a very popular item,” Moore said.
If you are interested in donating venison, click here for a full list of locations to drop off your donation.