Illinois Department of Natural Resources officials are encouraging sportsmen to donate deer meat to food banks and charities as the fall hunting seasons approach.
The department has a list of participating meat processors who will grind venison into 2-pounds packages. The Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program will offer $50 to help pay for the cost of processing whole deer donations.
Hunters must properly field dress deer before delivering the game to meat processors. Processors won't accept questionable deer. Road kill deer can't be donated because it isn't possible to determine the animal's time of death.
The youth firearm deer season starts Saturday. The firearm deer seasons for this year start Nov. 16 and Nov. 29. Muzzleloader seasons begin Nov. 29 and Dec. 7.