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Deer Exchange

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sign up for the program?
Join the List of Deer Exchange Participants.

Is there a limit to the amount of deer meat I can receive?
No. There is no limit to the amount of deer meat you can receive as a recipient in this program.

Is my personal information protected?
Yes. Your last name and address are not available to the public. Your e-mail address is not required.

How do I remove my name from the list?
Your name is automatically removed from the list once the date you entered in the last field on the Deer Exchange Web site expires. If you wish to be removed sooner, call the Game and Parks at (402) 471-0641 or send an e-mail to kit.hams@nebraska.gov.

Who delivers the deer?
The Donor (Hunter) would normally deliver the deer, but participants can make other arrangements.

How can I tell if the deer is safe to eat?
This is up to the recipient to determine. Ask the hunter when the deer was harvested and what care was given to ensure meat quality. Examine the carcass. Is it clean and dry? Examine the carcass and smell the body cavity. If it smells spoiled, don't accept it. Carcasses that are dry and properly cooled can keep for several days if night time temperatures are below 40 and the carcass is kept in the shade.

What does field dressed mean?
The carcass has been gutted. All internal organs between the throat and tail have been removed.

How does a person process a deer at home?
If you haven't done it before, you should have someone show you or check out our reference material on the Deer Exchange. At a minimum, you need a sharp knife, sharpener, running water, cutting board, plastic freezer bags, and a freezer.

Can I hire someone to process the deer for me?
Yes. See the Deer Processor List.

How much does it cost to process a deer?
As little as $50-$75 dollars for ground and wrapped meat. Substantially more if you have it processed into jerky and sausage.

How much meat can I expect to get from a deer?
Expect about 40 percent of field dressed weight or 40-50 pounds on an average deer.

How do I cook deer meat?
Check out the recipe page. Deer steaks are best cooked medium or medium rare. Overdone meat gets dry and tough. Ground meat works well for most burger recipes. However, deer meat is lean and does not stick together very well.

How long can I keep deer meat?
It is best to use the deer within a year. Improperly wrapped meat may freezer burn within a few months. Legally deer meat can be kept up to 18 months.

Responsibilities of the Donor?
Make a clean, one shot kill. Field dress and cool the deer immediately. Remove all internal organs, including the windpipe. Keep it clean. Explain to the recipient the care you took with the carcass. Fill out a Custody Tag and give it to the recipient of your deer.

Responsibilities of the Recipient?
Inspect the carcass before accepting it. You may refuse to accept the carcass if you feel it has not been properly cared for. Properly care for the meat. Keep the Custody Tag until you have used all the deer meat.

Do I need a permit?
The hunter needs a deer permit. The recipient needs the Custody Tag.

How many deer can I get?
There is no limit to the number you can receive through the Deer Exchange.

Can I sell the carcass?
NO. It is illegal to sell deer meat.

What is wanton waste?
Allowing a deer carcass to spoil through neglect or carelessness is wanton waste.

Can I list animals other than deer?
Not at this time. This feature may be added in the future.

How do I dispose of the bones?
Generally in household trash. Check with your refuse contractor. It is illegal to dump carcass remains in ditches, streams or anywhere you do not have permission.

What should I do about lead in deer meat?
Generously cut away and discard the portion of meat where the bullet traveled that may contain lead. See the link to Lead in Wild Game.

When will hunters have surplus deer to donate?
The majority of deer are harvested during the November firearm season. The other deer are harvested between Sept. 15 and Jan. 15. See chart.

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