ANTIGO - As successful hunters look to fill their freezers with venison, they often don't have a use for the deer's heart. But donating that heart can be a big help to an area rehab center.
The Raptor Education Group in Antigo is asking hunters to donate any unwanted deer hearts this season. Executive Director Marge Gibson has 28 eagles and 250 total avian patients to feed right now. Gibson says the deer heart is a very healthy food for her birds.
"Because it's wild, it doesn't have the fat around it like beef hearts would, and we do buy a lot of beef heart, but we have to cut the fat off because the raptors can't metabolize it," Gibson said.
An eagle can eat up to three pounds of meat in one sitting. The average deer heart weighs one pound, so Gibson will accept all the deer hearts she can get.
"As a non-profit, we're always looking to save money in any way we can, and being able to work with the hunters and to have a good relationship with everyone too is really important," Gibson said.
Gibson will take fresh or frozen deer hearts. You can drop them off at REGI in Antigo between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. REGI is located on West Rollwood Rd in Antigo. You can call 715-623-4015 for more info.