Missouri hunters are giving back to their community by donating their deer meat to the “Share the Harvest” program. During the 2021-2022 deer season, Missouri hunters donated 5,053 deer, around 242,774 pounds of venison, to thousands of residents in need.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) created the Share the Harvest program. This effort helps control deer populations while also feeding the hungry. Since its inception in 1992, the effort has provided nearly 5 million pounds of lean, healthy venison. Now in its 30th year, the program is now celebrating the fact that hunters have helped supply another 121 tons of red meat to their fellow man.
“Hunters started Share the Harvest 30 years ago because they saw a need in their communities and hunters remain the driving force behind this popular program that helps feed our fellow Missourians who are in need,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley in a press release. “We sincerely thank the thousands of deer hunters who support Share the Harvest, along with the many participating meat processors and sponsors who help make it possible.”
But the hunters in Missouri aren’t the only ones that deserve credit for the deer meat they’ve provided this year. Just as important are the processors that voluntarily offer their services once the hunters bring the deer to their doorstep. Once there, the processors cut, grind and bundle the meat into ready-to-use packages.
Meanwhile, some special sponsors have also participated in the effort as well. This year, Shelter Insurance, Bass Pro Shops, Feeding Missouri and others have helped cover some of the fees associated with meat processing. The resulting Missouri deer meat goes to local food banks and food pantries.
Missouri Official Comments on the ‘Amazing Landmark’ and Impact of Donated Deer Meat
It’s no secret that protein is an essential part of our diets. Right now, inflation and job shortages are hiking up prices at the grocery store. So, accessibility to crucial foods is more important than ever. Chicken, pork and beef are becoming increasingly expensive by the pound. But thankfully, lots of good-hearted hunters are helping locals in need stock their fridges with healthy meats.
As a result of this year’s harvest, CFM officials are proud of the difference their program continues to make each year.
CFM Executive Director Tyler Schwartze added, “Celebrating the 30-year anniversary of Share the Harvest this year is an amazing milestone. The donated venison stays in the local areas where the deer were harvested so it truly is helping out neighbors in need. We greatly appreciate all the citizens of this great state that have made this possible over the past three decades.”