Local Elks Lodges are asking hunters to donate deer hides. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, known as the local Elks Lodge in most small towns, is accepting donated deer and elk hides from the beginning of the November firearm deer season through the end of the January antlerless deer season.
According to Rodney Nelson of Winside, approximately 1,750 hides collected across the state last year were ultimately turned into soft leather and made into either gloves for wheelchair bound veterans or craft kits that were distributed to veterans at VA Medical Centers worldwide.
Not much is required of the hunters who wish to donate their deer hides, said Nelson. Before the hides can be shipped, they have to have all excess fat, flesh and tails removed, then fine table salt must be rubbed into all fleshy surfaces. Volunteers at the drop-off locations do most of this work, but hunters are more than welcome to do this themselves if they wish, said Nelson. Care must be taken, however, as even small holes in a hide can result in it being ruined during the tanning process.
Nelson said that 12 of the state’s 24 Elks lodges participated in the program last year and suggested hunters call their local lodge to find out about local drop-off points.
Last year more than 68,000 deer were harvested in the state, meaning only a small percentage of their hides were utilized.
“It’s kind of a shame that all of those deer hides get thrown away every year,” said Nelson.
“Last year the West Point Sportsman Club helped by collecting 165 hides,” he said. “If other sportsmen groups around the state would help us out, that would be even better, but even individuals dropping off the hides from their own deer would be great.”
To purchase permits go online to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Web site at www.OutdoorNebraska.org.