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Hunters can donate deer hearts and meat to local wildlife rehabilitators

An eagle admitted to Wild Instincts last November with lead poisoning.
Wild Instincts
An eagle admitted to Wild Instincts last November with lead poisoning.

Every year, Wild Instincts Wildlife Rehabilitation treats hundreds of animals.

They range from tiny squirrels disturbed in their nests to adult eagles grounded with lead poisoning.

For their larger meat eaters like eagles, foxes, coyotes, bears, and even the occasional bobcat, Wild Instincts goes through a lot of food.

Wild Instincts assistant rehabber Kaitlin Wikoff says deer donations can help feed all those patients.

“We’re specifically very interested in any meat or hearts, preferably nothing with bone. No rib cages please. But any deboned meat or hearts, we are more than happy to take and put to very good use,” said Wikoff.

Donations can be from cleaning out your freezer to make room for this year’s venison or it can be from a fresh harvest.

Deer meat donations can be dropped off in the coolers in front of Wild Instincts.

You are asked to leave a note with how the deer was killed.

“Whether its archery, or rifle, or copper bullet, if you know specifically what it was shot with please leave us a note or write it on the package,” said Wikoff.

Wild Instincts does ask hunters to not use lead ammunition for both donation purposes and protecting wildlife in general.

“Lead does do a lot of detriment to our wildlife up here. We get eagles and vultures and loons, and all sorts of different critters get lead poisoning every single year,” said Wikoff. “We’d really like to do our part and get that out of ecosystem and out of our hunting and fishing equipment just so that we do less damage, less bycatch, in a sense, to our wildlife up here cause we love it so much.”

Wikoff says they usually start seeing an increase in eagles and other raptors with lead poisoning after the 9-day gun deer season because the birds will eat deer carcasses with lead fragments in them.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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