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Wildlife Matters by Aaron Bercheid

As fresh as you can get

Aaron Berscheid is a district wildlife officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Aaron covers the ìwildî side of Northeast El Paso County, including Black Forest, Falcon, Peyton and Calhan. He also covers some of Elbert County, north of U.S. Highway 24 and south of State Highway 86, including the towns of Elbert, Kiowa, Ramah, Simla, Matheson and a small portion of the Limon area.

This time of year, many people are asking for donations.Not me. Iím not asking for donations. Iím offering to donate something to you.Wild game meat.Thatís right. Wildlife officers often have wild game available to give away. We do it because we hate to see any meat wasted. Itís part of our hunting ethic. Use every part of the animal possible.No doubt you are wondering how I come by spare wild game. I often find myself with meat to donate through the seizure of illegally taken animals or because I had to euthanize an animal mortally injured in a traffic collision.Truth is I often have many, many animals to donate. Thatís especially true this time of year as the deer enter the rut season and the bucks chase the does around in a frenzy to mate. They dart in and out of our streets and into oncoming traffic.So I want to extend an offer. Maybe you like venison. Or maybe you have a family to feed and need fresh, organic meat. I can help you stretch your grocery budget by providing you a source of protein during these hard times.Please email me at my email address listed below and I will place your name on my donation list.†When a deer, elk, bear or other game animal lands in the bed of my truck, Iíll start working my way down my list of names.I wonít call if the animal isnít suitable for consumption.As soon as I find a family who wants the animal, I will drive it to their house and deliver it. Or we can coordinate a meeting and Iíll hand off the animal. You just need to fill out a few forms and off you go!†Usually, the animal is whole and those who receive the animal will be responsible for field dressing it and processing it into steaks, ground meat, etc.††Sometimes, I will have some packaged meat to donate that has already been processed. If this is the only way you will receive donations, please let me know in your email. Just be advised that this is extremely rare.†Also, please keep in mind I canít hang onto an animal very long. These need to be quick transactions where I drop the deer or other animal off with you, fill out the required paperwork, and then leave you to it.†Iím afraid I canít help break the animal down unless there are extenuating circumstances.†The only way I know someone needs meat is if they contact me, so please let me know if you want to be on my list.In the coming months, Iíll share more of those stories as I write about wildlife issues in our community: Got a question, problem or column idea, please email me at or call me at 719-227-5231.†I might even answer your question in a future installment of ìWildlife Matters.î

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