Deer hunting is a very popular activity in Missouri. Hunters come from all over to experience the excitement of bagging a big buck while in our beautiful landscape and filling their freezers with the meat.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) notes that a total of 307,979 deer were harvested in 2012, including both firearms and archery hunting methods. Alternative methods such as muzzle-loading, etc., brought in more than 15,000 additional deer.
These numbers represent a huge amount of edible protein-rich meat. However, many families don’t have a dependable source of protein in their diets. Some cannot afford to put meat on the table at all. With this in mind, I’d like to encourage all hunters to help those less fortunate this time of year by participating in the Share the Harvest Program.
According to the MDC, during the 2012 deer seasons, 6,244 hunters donated more than 318,000 pounds of venison. While that seems to be a huge amount, the need for food increases every year.
Donation of the meat is very easy. If a hunter wishes to donate the entire deer to the program, the Conservation Federation of Missouri will step in and pay for most, if not all, of the cost of processing. Please be sure to contact your authorized processor to determine if funds are available. All a hunter needs to do is take the deer to the nearest participating meat processor and it will take care of the rest. If hunters only want to donate a portion of the meat, they will pay the processing fee and let the processor know how much they wish to donate.
Local charitable organizations will then pick up the meat from the processor and distribute it to needy families in the local community. Food banks and other organizations tend to run low on food during this time of year, and the Share the Harvest Program is a great way to help serve the community while still enjoying the thrill of the hunt. I encourage all hunters to participate in this helpful program.
For complete information on the Share the Harvest program, visit the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/deer/share-harvest.
Always feel free to contact me throughout the year with any comments, questions, or issues by calling my office at (573) 751-5713 or by visiting my website at www.senate.mo.gov/brown.
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