; How To Put On a Venison 101 Program | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name How To Put On a Venison 101 Program

Alexandria Smith and Jodi Richmond


In 2021, deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 105,278 whitetails over all seasons. For many West Virginians, venison is a valuable and economical protein source and a healthier choice of low-fat meat compared to beef having fewer calories and nearly five times less fat than the equivalent serving of beef. Many hunters are finding that they can save money and increase their personal enjoyment by butchering their own deer. Commercially, the cost of processing a deer is roughly $0.95/lb, comparably beef is $0.42. A new generation of hunters is entering the woods wanting to learn the safe and proper method of handling deer harvested for food. WVU Extension’s Venison 101 program is a collaboration between the Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), WVU Extension Ag & Natural Resources unit and the Family and Community Development Unit to improve food resources by utilizing proper food-safety basics and techniques such as canning, dehydration, and pressure cooking as well as animal processing techniques from the field (gutting and skinning) to the table (carcass breakdown and retail cutting). Information is provided on deer herd management and health regulation by the DNR and recipes are offered with participants tasting samples of deer jerky, chili, bbq, and/or snack sticks. Videos of skinning and gutting are available if needed but attendees who participate can participate in all phases of the processing if the site allows. Over 500 participants have increased their knowledge of deer management and processing skill through the Venison 101 program in WV, and this program has been shared nationally.