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HUSH (Help Us Stop Hunger) Program

posted on 9/6/22

HUSH is a cooperative effort among Iowa deer hunters, the Food Bank of Iowa, meat processors and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

HUSH has two main goals:

  1. Help reduce the Iowa deer population
  2. Provide high-quality protein to needy Iowa citizens.

Thank you to all of the hunters who donated deer to the HUSH program during the 2021 hunting season. 3,191 deer were donated, generating nearly 530,000 meals to Iowa's less fortunate!

Whether you're a deer hunter, a locker owner or volunteer in your community, there is a vital role you can play. As a hunter, consider buying extra antlerless-only deer permits to help reduce the deer population. By participating in HUSH, hunters can continue to hunt after they would normally stop and thus help reduce the deer population and provide high-quality venison for the needy in Iowa. You can donate any legally taken deer in Iowa, of any sex from any season. For the avid deer hunter in Iowa this presents itself as the perfect opportunity to hunt longer and have a direct impact in a local community. Hunters must be properly licensed to hunt deer. All deer licenses include a $1 per deer surcharge to fund the HUSH program. Participating lockers skin, bone and grind the meat into two-pound packages of pure venison. Local social service agencies distribute the venison to needy Iowa families in the area. The 35 lockers that participated in 2021 received $95 for each processed deer. Find a locker near you:

The Iowa DNR partners with the Food Bank of Iowa and their affiliates throughout the state to make sure the venison is distributed to qualified Iowans. The Food Bank of Iowa receives $5 administrative cost for each deer distributed.

  • All deer hunters must have a deer permit to harvest deer, whether or not they donate the deer to HUSH. Donated deer must be tagged before being transported, just as any other harvested deer.
  • Any legally-taken, wild Iowa deer from any season and any sex may be donated at any one of the lockers shown on the HUSH Locker List map.
  • Hunters must donate the whole deer.
  • Deer must be field dressed; lockers prefer a clean carcass without mud on the hide.
  • Lockers also prefer the carcass not be frozen.
  • Deer hunters must fill out a Hunter HUSH Card at the locker for each deer being donated.
  • HUSH does not accept road killed deer.
  • Lockers cannot require hunters to skin or bone HUSH deer.
  • There is no additional fee to be paid at the locker.

If you have any questions, please email Stephanie.Lawrence@dnr.iowa.gov or call (515) 725-8265. Additional Information:

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