We've long encouraged Missouri hunters to participate in the Missouri Department of Conservation's Share the Harvest program as a way to help feed the hungry residents in our state.
We're proud to report hunters have again shown their generosity through the program. This past season, they donated 289,292 pounds of venison. This season's total included nearly 5,600 whole deer.
The amount donated is far above that of the previous year, which was 198,277 pounds, according to a news release.
Since the program was started in 1992, Share the Harvest has provided nearly 4 million pounds of lean, healthy venison.
Deer meat his a healthy, lean protein that can be used in a variety of ways — sausage, stews, jerky and steaks are some of hunters' favorite uses.
Share the Harvest is coordinated by MDC and Conservation Federation of Missouri. It works by deer hunters donating their extra venison to more than 100 participating meat processors throughout the state who grind the meat into ready-to-use packages. The packaged venison is given to local food banks and food pantries for distribution to Missourians in need of food assistance.
Processing fees are covered entirely or in part by numerous local supporting organizations and statewide sponsors, which include MDC, CFM, Shelter Insurance, Bass Pro Shops, Missouri Chapter Safari Club International, Missouri Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation, Midway USA Inc., Missouri Food Banks Association and United Bowhunters of Missouri.
We thank Missouri hunters for their continued generosity through the program, and for the above sponsors for helping to defray the cost of processing.
Their efforts will go a long way toward feeding thousands of Missourians who sometimes struggle to put food on their tables each day.