Missouri Department of Conservation encourages deer hunters to share meat to feed others

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) encourage deer hunters around the state to share their meat through the state’s Share the Harvest program. 

According to a news release from MDC, the program coordinates the efforts of deer hunters, participating meat processors, local supporting organizations and statewide sponsors to feed hungry Missourians. 

Through the program, deer hunters donate their extra venison -- from a few pounds of meat to whole deer -- to participating meat processors throughout the state who grind and package the deer meat. The packaged version is then given to food banks and food pantries for distribution to Missourians in need of food assistance, according to the news release. 

Processing fees are covered entirely or in part by local and statewide sponsors. Hunters should contact individual processors to determine what funds are available, according to the news release. The cost of processing is the hunter’s responsibility when funds to help cover the full cost of processing are not available. 

Donating deer from chronic wasting disease counties 

Deer donated to Share the Harvest that were harvested in the seven Missouri counties where chronic wasting disease has been found will be tested for the deer disease. Deer that test positive for CWD will not be used and will be properly disposed of. The seven counties are Adair, Cole, Franklin, Jefferson, Linn, Macon, and St. Clair. 

Nearly 4,300 Missouri deer hunters donated more than 198,000 pounds of venison to the program last deer season, according to MDC’s news release. 

Find participating processors in MDC’s ‘2017 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information’ booklet, online or by calling MDC at 573-751-4115 or CFM at 573-634-2322.

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