By now, many hunters out there have already filled their freezer or tagged the big buck that was driving them from their warm bed into a frigid dawn. Some would still like the experience of going deer hunting a few more times this fall, but they don’t need the meat and they don’t know anyone else who does either. There is a solution with great value.

Share the Harvest benefits everyone involved. This highly successful program allows hunters to donate venison to Missourians in need. It provides healthy, protein-rich red meat for folks who would otherwise likely go without. It allows hunters to spend more time doing what they love and boosts public perception of hunting. These factors combined make Share the Harvest an all-around incredible program.

Share the Harvest is a venison donation program. The program connects hunters with individuals or families who desire venison, but for whatever reason don’t go out and harvest their own. It could be the individual is physically unable to hunt or simply does not enjoy the experience of hunting.

This program satisfies a number of desires. It provides healthy, protein-rich venison for folks who would otherwise have to do without, and it allows hunters to spend more time doing what they love, which is hunting. Hunters can harvest additional deer beyond what their family needs, and feel good about providing for others.

The program has more demand for venison than supply. Meaning, the number of people requesting venison is far greater than those offering to donate. The program needs more hunters to donate.

Donating a deer is simple. You just locate a participating processor and take your deer to them. You can find processors on the MDC website at http://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer/deer-share-harvest.

Typically, there is no cost to the donating hunter. However, depending on available funds and what a processor charges, there could be a small cost to the donating hunter. You need to check with the processor ahead of time to find out. Processors take care of the meat until it goes to a distributing agency. Agencies receiving venison then distribute it to individuals and families.

Gary Van de Velde, President of the Conservation Federation of Missouri said, “We need more people to donate to Share the Harvest. If not an entire deer, donate a portion or packages of ground meat. There is a great need out there for this healthy food source. Usually, the hundreds-of-thousands of pounds of venison Share the Harvest produced lasts only a few weeks in the food pantries. They need more. Please consider donating.”

You may donate a whole deer or a portion of a deer. For instance, you can tell the processor you would like to donate only your ground meat. Knowing you can donate a deer to the program and really help another person allows hunters to harvest additional deer beyond what their family needs. You should feel good about providing for others.

Share the Harvest is a great opportunity to shine a light on the good hunters do for others, while actively managing wildlife. Since the program was started in 1992, Share the Harvest has provided more than 4-million pounds of lean, healthy venison to help feed hungry Missourians.

Hunting is always in need of feel good stories. Too often, the media reports on actions of poachers, and people senselessly killing animals and passing themselves off as hunters. The Share the Harvest Program is a great opportunity to expose the good hunters do for other people, while actively managing wildlife.

We are seeing a resurgence of organic food in America. Farm-to-table initiatives are sweeping across small towns and large cities. There are few foods healthier or tastier than venison. If you’re a non-hunter, but appreciate high-quality, healthy meat, then sign up for the program. If you’re a hunter with the opportunity to donate venison to a family that otherwise would not have any, please consider doing so.

See you down the trail.

For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast on www.driftwoodoutdoors.com or anywhere podcasts are streamed.