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Donate Venison to Those in Need

STH 6

You open the freezer door and stare at shelves filled with venison. You feel good that you have been successful in the field, but even though you don’t need any more meat for the year, you’d really like to spend more time deer hunting. There is an answer. It’s called Share the Harvest.

Share the Harvest allows deer hunters the opportunity to donate a deer or a portion of a deer to Missourians in need. Doing so provides healthy, nutritious meat to individuals or families that otherwise may do without such nourishment. It also sheds a positive light on hunters. It’s hard for anti-hunters to argue that hunters are bad people when we are donating hundreds of thousands of pounds of protein to folks in need.

Donating is simple. You just locate a participating processor and take your deer to them. You can find processors on the MDC website at http://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer/deer-share-harvest. Depending on available funds and what a processor charges, there may or may not be a cost to the donating hunter. You need to check with the processor ahead of time to find out. Processors take care of the meat until it goes to a distributing agency. Agencies receiving venison then distribute it to individuals and families.

In 2014, 3,961 hunters donated 212,343 pounds of venison to fellow through Share the Harvest. The deer harvest during opening weekend of firearms season was up this year with 97,171 being taken. Hopefully, this means even more deer will be donated to the program in 2015, as Share the Harvest continues to be a valuable resource for our state.

Gov. Jay Nixon has already participated in Share the Harvest this year. During opening weekend of firearms season, he harvested an 8-point buck in Clark County. The Governor donated his buck to Share the Harvest at Kahoka Meat Processing in Kahoka, Mo.

“Each year, thousands of Missourians donate to Share the Harvest, giving back to their communities and taking part in a great Missouri tradition,” Gov. Nixon said. “I’m proud to join these Missourians as we Share the Harvest and help our neighbors in need.”

Share the Harvest is a partnership of citizens, agencies and organizations dedicated to providing protein rich venison for those who may otherwise go with meat. The Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Conservation administer the program, which wouldn’t be possible without the support of Missouri’s Food Banks and the meat processors who year after year remain vital to the success of the program. Sponsors are also critical to the program. Major sponsors include Shelter Insurance, Wal-Mart, Drury Hotels, Midway USA Inc., Whitetails Unlimited, Safari Club International, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Missouri Deer Hunters Association.

As a hunter, Share the Harvest provides you an opportunity to donate protein rich venison to those who may otherwise go without meat, while extending your hunting season. It’s a win-win. And don’t forget, hunters need positive press, so spread the word. Tell your family and friends about the Share the Harvest and your donation. Post it on Facebook. You’re participation may encourage others to also donate, which will end up putting more healthy venison on dinner tables across Missouri.

See you down the trail…

Brandon Butler

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Read tips on how to hunt the whitetail rut here.

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