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MassWildlife’s Hunters Share the Harvest Program

MassWildlife's Hunters Share the Harvest program provides an outlet for hunters to donate venison to Massachusetts residents facing food insecurity. Since the program's inception, more than 20,000 meals have been distributed to families in need.

This program provides the opportunity for hunters to donate and share venison with those in need, while supporting forest conservation by utilizing hunting for population management. Regulated hunting is a safe activity that brings communities together through the sharing of food, skills, and time spent outdoors with nature. Free range, organic venison is a healthy source of lean protein with a low carbon footprint that already provides more than 1.8 million meals of venison to hunters and families across Massachusetts each year. Licensed hunters play an important role in wildlife management in Massachusetts, and now successful hunters can help combat hunger and food insecurity in their communities by donating venison. 

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Donation instructions for hunters

For inclusion in the program deer must be: 

  • Recovered and field dressed within 4 hours after shot unless the ambient air temperature stays below 37°F.  
  • Dropped off whole and field dressed to a participating processor within 24 hours after shot. 
  • Legally reported and tagged with a confirmation number. 

Donation cost

  • With the support of donors, hunters who donate their full deer pay no processing or packaging fees.  
  • Hunters can choose to donate a portion of their deer as long as it is processed entirely at an approved processor following all program requirements. Some processors may choose to not allow partial donation. 
  • Hunters that choose to donate at least 15 pounds of processed venison from their deer will have their deer processing costs reduced by $50. The processing cost is set by the individual processor. 
  • Hunters must still purchase required licenses/permits. The costs may be tax deductible as a donation. Discuss with a tax professional. 

Current participating processors

Approved processors are likely to increase and are subject to change throughout the season. Check back on this site before considering donation to ensure you have the most up to date information on what processors are accepting deer.

Haskins Custom Butchering 
308 Silver Street Hanover, MA
(781) 985-5100

Ventura’s Meat Market 
386 Lawton St #4, Fall River, MA
(508) 678-2508

Country Butcher 
68 Boston Rd Groton, MA
(978) 448-9300

If you are interested in donating deer on Martha's Vineyard, you are able to through the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society.

Program impact

Processed venison from the Hunters Share the Harvest Program is distributed through partnering food programs, including:

  • Massachusetts Military Support Foundation's Food4Vets
  • Daniel's Table
  • Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe
  • Worcester County Food Bank
  • Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)

MassWildlife launched the Hunters Share the Harvest Program in 2022 with a single venison donation site. In the pilot year, generous hunters donated more than 3,000 meals of venison to families in need. The program has grown rapidly and in 2023, approximately 17,800 meals were distributed.

Support MassWildlife's Hunters Share the Harvest Program

Donations help cover the processing and packaging costs for donated meat. A donation of $50 will provide about 75 servings of meat for families in need.

Monetary, equipment, and logistic support provided by: Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, Massachusetts Conservation Alliance, Mass Audubon, Middleboro Sportsmens Club, Plymouth County League of Sportsmen, Safari Club International New England Foundation, Schwab Charitable Foundation, Somerset Sportsman's Club Inc, and individual donors like you!

How to make a monetary donation:

Online: Go to the MassFishHunt Donate Page and add a donation to "Hunters Share the Harvest" to your cart. Use a credit card to pay and follow the instructions to log in to an existing MassFishHunt account or check out as a guest.

By mail: Make checks payable to Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (please write HSH Program in the memo) and mail it to:

MassWildlife
Attn: Hunters Share the Harvest Program
1 Rabbit Hill Rd
Westborough, MA 01581

Help MassWildlife expand

MassWildlife plans to expand donation and distribution locations in the coming years. Meat processors, food pantries, hunger relief agencies, or other organizations who want to participate in MassWildlife’s Hunters Share the Harvest program in the future should contact Martin Feehan, MassWildlife’s Deer and Moose Project Leader, at martin.feehan@mass.gov.

Contact   for MassWildlife’s Hunters Share the Harvest Program

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