The main portion of firearm deer hunting is over, but archery and firearms for antlerless deer is now in season. Many Missourians have already shot their deer. Firearms opening-weekend deer harvest numbers were up 30,000 from last year. So, what should hunters do with all that venison?
Missouri’s Share the Harvest program allows hunters to donate meat to needy families. The program is administered by the Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri, a citizen’s organization funded by members and donors. Executive Director of the Federation, Brandon Butler says historically hunters have been providers for their communities and tribes.
“About 10 percent of our population hunts. About 10 percent of our population is anti-hunting. That leaves 80 percent middle that are just somewhat indifferent. So, it’s always important for hunters to be putting the best light possible on our traditions.”
Almost 4,500 hunters donated more than 200,000 pounds of venison last year. Hunters can take their deer to an approved meat processor and donate as much meat as they want. The processor will package the meat for local organizations to pick up and distribute. Hunters can receive help with processing costs when donating a whole deer.