Venison: Enjoying the local harvest and giving back

A resource for recipes and information on a venison meat donation program to support Michigan families in need.

November 15th is considered a holiday to thousands of Michigan families. As the first day of firearms deer season, many hunters head to local woodlots and farm fields to harvest venison for the winter. The harvesting of these local animals is an ancient tradition and one that fits into the local food movement. Because of these traditions, hunters of all ages become more closely connected to their meat source.

Michigan State University has partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to provide researched-based information to hunters. Here you will find information on how to safely field dress an animal, hunting rules and regulations, and deer management issues. There is also a link to guide hunters seeking to locate property on which to hunt.

For those interested in finding Michigan venison recipes, view the web site of the Michigan Out-Of-Doors television show here. Here you will find recipes for venison in mushroom cream sauce and a seared loin of venison with brandy cream sauce, which both sound delicious. In addition, Michigan State University Extension educators have authored some helpful articles about handling and preserving venison as well as cooking the meat.

Proponents of the local food movement also support efforts to provide locally-grown food to people living in areas with limited access. Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger was formed in 1991 to create linkages between hunters, meat processors, and organizations providing food for low -resource families in Michigan. In 2012, the organization was able to facilitate the donation of over 30,000 pounds of venison to families in need. This is a meaningful way that hunters can both enjoy their sport and contribute back to their community. To learn more, as well as to find a list of their participating processors visit their website. Happy hunting!

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