Oh deer, that’s cool

New deer cooler added to venison donation program

Hunters can donate deer to Island Grown Initiative from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15, for the venison donation program. — Gabrielle Mannino

For the second year in a row, Island groups will collaborate to increase deer harvesting and reduce the Island deer population, curbing tick-borne illnesses.

Island Grown Initiative (IGI), the Martha’s Vineyard Tick-Borne Illness Prevention Program, and the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society are the programs involved in lowering tick-borne illnesses and increasing food to Islanders in need.

The M.V. Tick-Borne Illness Prevention Program is working with private landowners to connect them with responsible hunters to reduce deer populations in residential areas. IGI will be implementing its venison donation program, which provides high-quality, protein-rich meals to Islanders in need, according to a press release from Nevette Previd of Farm. Field. Sea.

This year the programs will have a community deer cooler available to all local hunters who need space for more deer. The cooler will be located at IGI’s Farm Hub/Thimble Farm at 80 Stoney Hill Road, off Head of the Pond Road, in Vineyard Haven. Hunters who register can hang up their deer for up to 10 days from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15. Drop-off is open from 8 am to 8 pm.

The venison donation program is available to all hunters who want to share their harvest. The program works by having hunters donate a deer. A $50 fee for storage in the cooler will be waived for hunters who donate a deer to the venison donation program. The program is supported by the Fink Family Foundation.

Venison donations will be processed by the the Larder under the supervision of Jefferson Monroe, owner and found of the GOOD Farm, and given directly to the Island Food Pantry and Serving Hands with recipes for preparing. Last year, IGI gave 260 pounds of venison to Islanders facing food insecurity — this year, IGI hopes to triple that number.

Hunters must register for the deer cooler. Deer must be dropped off and picked up, be field-dressed, skin on, properly tagged with a registration number. Private landowners are asked to allow bow and arrow hunting on their land to help control residential deer populations. Property owners of larger areas may want to allow hunting with shotguns or primitive firearms on certain parts of their land.

Interested landowners looking to reduce deer and ticks on their property who want to consider hunting as an option, should contact Dick Johnson at mvticks@gmail.com or on the MV Tick-Borne Illness Prevention Program Facebook page.

“I think it’s great. It’s for a good cause, we’re collaborating with the Island Food Pantry. It gives the community an opportunity and a location where they can refrigerate their deer for a time,” Agricultural Hall deer unit ranger Mark McFarlane told The Times. In addition to the cooler in Vineyard Haven, McFarlane said he is working on getting a cooler for hunters at the Ag Hall.

As of Wednesday, IGI had two does and one buck in its cooler for donation. Assistant greenhouse manager Alex Parris told The Times the program was “off to a great start.” Last year, the program didn’t start receiving deer donations until November, during shotgun season.



  1. Hunters! The Community Deer cooler is open to all! Once you take for their families and friends, please consider donating to the Venison Donation Project. Donations are allowed this year during archery season and most of the shotgun and black powder season. To register and learn more about the community Deer Cooler and Venison Donation Program, please visit Island Grown Initiative at https://www.igimv.org or call / text Mark McFarlane at (774) 563 0702.

    Thank you!

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