10-Year-Old Hunter Donates First-Ever Deer to Manna Food Project

by Kayla Zadel

Will Marshall, a 10-year-old hunter from Petoskey, Michigan, harvested his first-ever deer earlier this year. But it’s what he did after that speaks to his character.

Marshall donated all 36-pounds of venison to the Manna Food Project. For more than 10 years, the project has helped those in need, because of its donations from hunters, Petoskey News reports.

“I just thought during COVID, how for some people it’s harder for them to get food. I thought if I donated the deer it would help them out, so I did,” Marshall said in regards to his donation.

Marshall was hunting with his father, Bill, on the first day of firearm deer season. The young hunter first heard the sound of the deer before he saw him.

“Then I saw a head poke up from where we were looking and it was a spike(horn),” Will details the events. “We tried to call it in a little closer, but he went back into the woods and made a little circle.”

Marshall’s patience paid off and he saw the deer again.

“Then he came out in a little raspberry bush spot and so then I got the crossbow,” the boy said. “He stood still and I squeezed the trigger.”

Bill said his son’s shot was “the perfect shot” from about 35 yards away.

The duo are the fifth and sixth generations to hunt on the family property.

Young Hunter and Father Embody Outsider Mentality

Will and his father, are ordinary people doing extraordinary things, like thinking of others during these trying times. Not only is Will helping others, but he’s spending priceless bonding time with his father.

Will wants to continue to be active outdoors and a student of nature. His dad says that he wants to be a Michigan Department of Natural Resources officer when he grows up.

“We like being out in nature, seeing the other birds and animals. My dad and I and him all tracked the deer which was pretty neat,” Bill said. “I’ve never hunted anywhere but there.”

The father-son duo are stewards of the land and loves to watch his son follow in his family’s footsteps.

“Just the fact there were three generations there was pretty neat,” Bill said. “My grandfather was a potato farmer and raised some cows up there, my dad grew up there and still hunts with the same rifle he traded for when he was a kid.”

For Will, the excitement of this his recent hunt still lives on, and he’s already looking forward to next season.

“I just think it’s fun to go out and sit around and see what you can see,” Will said.

More About Venison for Manna Food Project

Venison for Manna Food Project chairman Andy Hayes says since the project started, 15,511 pounds of venison has been collected.

This year, the Manna Food Projects expects an additional 1,500 to be added to that number.

“I think the thing I’ve learned now after doing this for more than 10 years is that hunters, in general, are really generous people,” Hayes says. “We’ve collected more than 15,000 pound of venison over those years from generous hunters, they just really do want to help each other.

“You take young Will and, as a hunter, his heart is in the right place in wanting to help other people,” Hayes said. “I just think it speaks volumes about his character of course, but also hunters in general.”