Posted by: Wild Instincts | October 27, 2019

Food Donation Guidelines

We absolutely rely on food donations from generous people cleaning out their freezers to help feed our patients. However, our patients are with us because their health is compromised so we are particular about what is in their diet. We don’t take everything.

To make it easier for everyone, we’ve put together some guidelines to illustrate what type of donations are helpful to us and what is not. Call if you have any questions.



We try to keep our patients’ diets as close to their natural diet as possible. We are always grateful for venison from your freezer, even outdated items. We ask that you let us know if it was from archery season, or, if from rifle season, if it was shot with lead ammo or non-lead ammo. This allows us to make the best decisions regarding which animals to feed it.

We stay away from processed items such as bacon or sausage. We will take most any venison cuts/ground including those that were going to be turned into sausage but never made it that far.

We do not take leftover rib cages, legs, heads or hides after your deer has been butchered. Not transporting these things more than absolutely necessary may help deter the spread of CWD. We do not take deer tongues or livers either.

Extra tags

If you have extra tags, we’d be happy to take field-dressed deer as a donations as long as they are fresh and not days after season ends.


We do not have the staff to be able to process road-kill during the busy summer season. We also we try to keep the diets for our patients as fresh as possible. Maggoty road-kill is okay for wild animals that use it as only a portion of their diet, but it’s not suitable for compromised animals such as our patients.


We will take wild duck and geese. We will also take chickens from your backyard flock; even live if need be.


We take any species of fish. Eagles are partial to the “hammer-handle” Northerns and bullheads. Suckers are another favorite.

We go through roughly 3000 lbs. of fish a year, more if we have extra otter.  We love whole frozen. This is perfect for kids who love to fish but don’t have adults around who love to clean them. Just put the whole fish in the freezer to drop off when you have time. Or drop them off on your way back to the house.

We will take the leftover live minnows from your fishing trip.

We will also take fillets, even freezer burned from your freezer. Wild or store-bought are both welcome.

We don’t take processed fish like breaded, smoked or pickled.



We will accept non-seasoned/processed chicken, chicken breast, turkey or turkey breasts. We don’t accept nuggets, breaded items or things like Butterball or other brined turkeys.


We accept ground beef (hamburger), limited steak and limited liver. We can’t use beef tongue.


We accept pork chops, steak and a few ribs. We can’t use bacon, breakfast sausage, seasoned patties or ham.

Vegetables & Produce

What we need/accept depends on our patient loads and varies depending on season or year. Call to check.

We WILL take

We WON’T take

Fresh Venison* Rib cages, legs, hides, heads from your deer or road kill
Venison from your freezer (outdated is fine)* Venison sausage, bacon
Fresh Fish (leftover live minnows, too) Fish sticks, pickled fish, breaded shrimp
Frozen fish (outdated from freezer is fine)  
Fresh Chicken (call if live)/Duck/Goose  
Frozen Chicken/Turkey/Duck/Goose Nuggets, Butterball or other seasoned/brined or breaded items
Beef Tongue
Pork (ground, roast, chops) Bacon, ham, breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, hot dogs, bratwurst
  Bread, doughnuts, cookies, bread dough, pizza,  etc.
  Feathers, guts, etc. maggoty carcasses
  TV dinners
  Anything cooked

 *please let us know if harvested via bow or rifle and if lead or non-lead ammo

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