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Love the Hunt, But Hate the Taste? Donate the Deer! - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Love the Hunt, But Hate the Taste? Donate the Deer!

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Deer hunters across the state of Minnesota finally got to head to their deer stands this morning. Hundreds of thousands bought a licence for today's firearms deer opener. But unfortunately not everyone likes venison. Valley News Live found out about a state program that will take it off your hands and give it to people who need it.

It was a good day for Larry Burgeson of Buffalo Minnesota. He came up to Detroit Lakes after a deer hunting hiatus of nearly six years. But it just took a quick moment to remember what the opener is all about.

"I was shaking like a leaf. It was insane how I was shaking from the nerves and adrenaline pumping." Burgeson says, describing the rush involved in seeing a deer on opener morning. But he managed to take the shot, about 25 yards out, and it fell.

He's got plans for this 10 pointer though. He says those plans include a favorite breakfast item, and somewhere to store all of that meat,"we got an empty deep freezer ready for it."

But not everyone is fond of the taste, and so many others just don't have room in the freezer. But they still love the hunt. A possible solution is Hoffman's Meat Market in Detroit Lakes. They'll take the venison off your hands, process it, and give it to folks who could really use the lean meat, and all for free.

"Our local food pantry prefers all ground beef so we bone the deer out, we grind it package it and then the state will take it." Says Randy Gradelle the owner of Hoffman's Meat Market. He's been involved in the deer donation for the past three years. Last year they sent nearly 40 processed deer to the food pantry.

"When they come and get it and it gets back to the local food pantry it comes around Christmas time, New Years. When the holiday is around... So it probably ends up at the right time of the year too for needy people." Explains Gradelle.

While giving up your venison isn't for everyone, especially for a guy who hasn't shot a deer in six years. Most everyone can appreciate the idea behind the giving. Burgeson says although he's not letting his deer go, he likes the concept; "I think it's a great idea. It helps the homeless and people in need and what better way if you really enjoy the hunt but aren't a fan of eating it. Your gonna put the meat to good use. You can actually enjoy the hunt then donate the deer."

Hoffman's Meat Market in Detroit Lakes isn't the only butcher to take donated venison. There are a number of butchers across Minnesota that take donated deer. We have a link that lists them all on valleynewslive.com under the hot button.

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