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Donating deer hides helps habitat, educates kids

Since 1985, Minnesota’s deer hunters have unselfishly participated in one of the nation’s most unique recycling projects; Hides For Habitat, a project of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA).

Thanks to Minnesota’s deer hunters over 780,000 deer hides have been donated since 1985. From the sale of those hides, MDHA chapters have generated nearly $4.67 million that has been used primarily for critical wildlife habitat enhancement and acquisition of new Wildlife Management Areas (all open to public hunting). Additionally, Hides for Habitat funds have been used in support of Whitetail Deer research and, most recently, to support MDHA’s Forkhorn Youth Summer Camp program.

According to MDHA Executive Director Mark Johnson, “The $8.50 that MDHA receives for each grade-one deer hide is not the key. The key comes as we are able to multiply hide dollars through leveraging federal, state, and other conservation dollars. Generally, by the time Hides for Habitat dollars hit the ground as habitat they have multiplied from 3 to 10 times by the leveraging of other funds. On top of that, Wildlife Research Center, the Ramsey based scent company, is again sponsoring Hides For Habitat billboards across the state, and thereby reducing advertising cost.”

That is only half of the story, as Johnson explains. “No matter how good our habitat and how large our populations of huntable game, it won’t matter if we do not lead our children to learn about our heritage of hunting and natural resources. Consequently, MDHA’s chapters also utilize Hides for Habitat funds to help provide money for camp scholarships and camp equipment for MDHA’s Forkhorn Youth Summer Camps. In 2013, a total of 864 kids attended Forkhorn camps, most of whom would not have been able to attend had it not been for the scholarships provided through MDHA Chapters with revenue from the donated deer hides. It all starts with deer hunters, like you and me, unselfishly donating their deer hide.”

To donate your deer hide this season, simply look for the MDHA Hides for Habitat orange signs located at Hides Drop Point Stations. To locate an official MDHA Hides Drop Station nearest you, log onto or call MDHA’s State Office at 800-450-3337, ext 12.

However, Johnson cautions hunters. “Each year across the state, more imposter Hide Boxes are popping up. These are boxes that are not Hides for Habitat boxes but look like them and are sometimes positioned next to our Hides for Habitat boxes. Don’t be tricked! Be sure to only place your hide into boxes with “Hides for Habitat” or “MDHA” signs prominently displayed on them. Also, thank the local business owner for donating the space for the Hides for Habitat Drop Boxes.”

Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is a 501C(3) non-profit conservation group dedicated to “working for tomorrow’s wildlife and hunters, today.”

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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