The Share the Harvest program in Missouri provides a way for deer hunters to donate venison to the needy. This program is administered by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
In 2012, 6,244 hunters donated 318,115 pounds of venison.
Donating is easy. Simply take your deer to an approved meat processor and let the processor know how much venison you wish to donate. The processor will package the meat, which will be picked up by local sponsoring organizations and taken to a charitable agency for distribution.
Funds are available to help with processing costs when a whole deer is donated during all portions of the archery and firearms deer seasons. The Conservation Federation of Missouri reimburses processors a pre-determined amount for each whole deer donated. This allows processors to reduce processing fees to hunters. In addition, many processors have local money available that allows deer to be processed for free or at reduced cost. Be sure to contact individual processors to determine if funds are available. The cost of processing the deer is your responsibility when local funds to help cover the full cost are not available.
During the urban zones portion, the entire processing cost for whole deer donations is paid by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and local sponsors. To have processing costs covered during the urban zones portion, you must take your deer to a participating processor in the urban zones area. Not every processor listed in the table participates in this portion. For a list of those that do, contact your regional Conservation Department office.
Many families and individuals have no dependable source of protein in their diets. Red meat can provide that important component. Deer is a valuable source of protein; but, unlike most red meat, it is unusually low in fat. Through Share the Harvest, Missouri hunters can help provide this part of the daily diet.
Many people in Missouri can benefit from this program. Families or individuals simply have to contact a participating distributing agency; the agency will allocate the venison according to its supply.
It's easy to donate. Hunters take their deer to an approved processing plant and simply tell the processor how much venison they wish to donate. The hunter has the option of donating a few pounds or the whole deer. There is no price reduction for partial donations. The processor then packages and stores the meat until itâ€™s transported to a distributing agency by the coordinator. Agencies receiving venison will distribute it to ensure that all venison is used and is goes to where it serves the greatest need.
Price reduction program for whole-deer donations
If you donate a whole deer, the entire processing cost is paid by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and local sponsors during the urban zone portion of the firearms season for whole-deer donations. During all other portions and seasons, the Conservation Federation of Missouri administers a statewide program that directly reimburses the processor a predetermined amount for each whole deer donated. That allows the processor to reduce the processing fee to the hunter at the time of donation.
Additional funds, which may be available from local sources, can further reduce processing cost. In some instances the entire processing cost may be covered! This is especially true in those areas of high deer density where a reduction in the deer population is warranted. Contact your local processor for more information.