The Lake County-based deer donation program designed to supply food pantries with venison is still in progress.
And doing well. So far the program has processed 22 deer.
Time is still available for archery hunters to donate their kill but the clock is ticking. Ohio's archery deer-hunting season ends Feb. 7.
A joint venture with the United Way of Lake County, Lake Metroparks, the U.S. Coast Guard and retired Ohio Division of Wildlife officer Reno "Jay" Reda, the project sees to it that any donated deer is processed and distributed to area food banks.
Providing the butchering service is Joe O'Donnell of Leroy Township in Lake County.
O'Donnell skins the donated deer and then butchers the carcasses, putting the resulting ground meat into 2-pound packages. The Coast Guard then delivers the venison to the food banks.
Requirements are simple. The deer must be legally taken and properly tagged as required by Ohio law.
Hunters need to call ahead to O'Donnell at 440-667-6907 before delivering the field-dressed-only animal.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn