|Deer hunters can help the needy by participating in a state-run program. The Share the Harvest program provides a way for deer hunters to donate venison to the many Missouri families who are in need of a dependable source of protein in their diets.
The program, which is administered by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Conservation, saw 5,731 hunters donate more than 305,643 pounds of venison during the 2010 deer seasons. The agency hopes to see that total grow this year.
Hunters who want to participate should take their deer to an approved meat processor and let the processor know how much venison they wish to donate. The processor will package the meat, which will be picked up by the local sponsoring organization and taken to a participating charitable agency for distribution. The cost of processing the deer is the responsibility of the hunter. However, funds are available to help with the processing cost when a whole deer is donated; the entire processing cost is paid by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and local sponsors during the urban zones portion of the firearms season for those donations.
Participating in the program are these processors: Jasper County - Cloud's Meat Processing and Smoking, Carthage and Taylor's Processing, Webb City; Dade County - Lockwood Packing Company, Lockwood.
Those interested in learning more about the program should call the Conservation Department at (573) 522-4115 or the Conservation Federation of Missouri at (573) 634-2322.
This is a great way for the many hunters in Missouri to give back a little and provide nutritious food to those who may otherwise go without. This is a great program and one I hope the people in our area will use.
Commentary by Missouri Rep. Mike Kelley (R-Lamar)