The Wisconsin Lions Foundation Deer Hide Collection:
We Want Your Hides—And Your Help!
The official start of deer season in Wisconsin began with bow hunting on September 16, 2023, and with it, the Wisconsin Lions Foundation (WLF) officially kicked off its Deer Hide Collection fundraiser for 2023. This fundraiser will continue throughout Wisconsin’s deer season, reaching a peak during the gun hunting season from November 18-26, 2023. The archery and crossbow season ends on January 7, 2024. All hides should be delivered to the Foundation by mid-January of 2024.
About Deer Hides for Lions Camp
What started in 1988 as just an idea from Past WLF Director, Bernie Stuttgen, Deer Hides for Lions Camp has grown to include more than 200 collection sites throughout Wisconsin. As one of the Foundation’s long-standing fundraisers, deer hide collections are one of our most profitable methods of raising funds for the Wisconsin Lions Camp. This year, we’d like to meet a new goal of $95,000 for Lions Camp and here’s how you can help us reach this goal!
Ways to Make an Impact Through the Wisconsin Lions Foundation Deer Hide Collection
There are many things Lions Clubs and community members can do to make an impact through the Deer Hide Collection fundraiser.
Lions Clubs can set up one or more hide collection sites/drop-off locations and organize a collection drive in their area with materials (posters/signage) provided by Wisconsin Lions Foundation. Hunters can then donate the hides and tails of their successful deer hunts to their local collection site. Finally, volunteers can assist in the deer hide preparation process at their local collection site.
After preparation, deer hides are sold to buyers to produce gloves and other goods. This year, we have deerskin work gloves available for purchase from our buyer, some made from the deer hides collected by the Wisconsin Lions Foundation last year. These gloves are available in our Trading Post under the “Accessories” menu, which is accessible from the Wisconsin Lions Camp website. These funds help keep attendance free for our campers and support operation costs to ensure Camp is a safe and fun place each year.
How to Locate a Deer Hide Collection Site Near You:
With more than 200 collection sites across Wisconsin, the chances are high there is a Deer Hide Collection site near you. To find a dear hide collection site near you, visit the Wisconsin Lions Foundation website at wlf.info/deer-hide-collection and use our convenient Drop-Off Locations map to find a location near you.
You can utilize this tool by typing in your address or City and searching for locations within a radius of the chosen address or city. There is also an alphabetical listing of drop-off locations with their addresses on the Deer Hide Collection webpage.
How To Start a Deer Hide Collection Site:
If you notice there aren’t any collection sites near you, or if you are a Lions Club looking to set up a drop-off location, you can start your own deer hide collection site by following these steps:
- Secure a Site: Secure a site where you can prepare and store hides during the hunting season. The area should be large enough to prepare and store many deer hides at a time, including the materials you will need (pallets, salt bags, plastic sheeting and wood shavings/sawdust) to prep the hides and separate them by size.
- Purchase Pallets and Feeding Salt: To prep the hides, you will need several pallets (at least two to separate hides by small and large size). To preserve the hides, you will also need plenty of salt to cover every hide—at least five pounds of salt per deer hide (Use Feeding Salt). Do not use rock salt, as the hide does not have enough moisture to break down the larger crystals!
- Create Customized Signage to Promote Your Collection. Download the Deer Hide Collection posters from the WLF website and customize them with your information. Utilize these posters and other signage to advertise the collection site in your community.
During Hunting Season
- Advertise Your Collection Site. Place plenty of posters around your community to generate interest and increase awareness about your hide collection.
- Promote Your Hide Collection on Social Media. Post about the collection on social media to draw even more attraction. Be consistent and get creative! Follow the Deer Hides for WI Lions Camp Facebook page as a blueprint.
How to Successfully Prepare a Deer Hide
After starting a deer hide collection site, you’ll need to know how to properly prepare the hides you have collected. As Wisconsinites, this process might seem like second nature—however, the process can be tricky for first-time preppers, and the hides can be damaged if the preparation is not performed correctly.
To ensure a high percentage of quality deer hides for our fundraiser, make sure to adhere to our deer hide preparation steps:
Set up the Preparation Area
- Put down plastic and cover the plastic with 3-4 inches of wood shavings or sawdust to absorb any excess liquid from the hides.
- Place a pallet on the shavings and sawdust.
Prep the Hides
- Unfold hides and thaw frozen hides, if necessary. Remove any excess fat or meat so the salt can penetrate the hide.
- Check that all legs and neck are fully cut open, and remove the head or lower legs if still attached.
- Cut off all tails and place these in a plastic bag. Keep a tally of total tails.
- Lay the hide hair-side-down and flat on the pallet.
- Salt each hide with fine-grain, non-iodized salt (iodine can stain the hide). Salt each hide with at least five pounds of salt.
- Be sure to salt the hides from the outside edges inward to ensure the edges receive enough salt.
- It’s impossible to over-salt a hide—the more salt, the better!
- During the drying period (four to five days), cover any bare spots on a hide with more salt.
- Separate hides by size:
- Small = less than four feet from hindquarters to shoulder.
- Large = more than four feet from hindquarters to shoulder.
- Stack 40-50 hides per pallet by size.
If you have questions about the deer hide collection, how to start a collection site, or the hide preparation process, reach out to the Wisconsin Lions Foundation for assistance. To make arrangements for the pick-up of hides, please contact Brad Behrens at 715-323-8033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.