If only we could make use of a resource that is often wasted by culling operations in locations where hunters are not permitted to hunt. There would be no lining up for meat, and the friends and family would reap the benefits of prime meat that is often wasted.
Most countries understand the value of game meat, but Australia is extremely slow on the uptake of creating a viable – and sustainable – industry.
Missouri deer hunters put their hunts to good use through the Share The Harvest program, a goodwill mission which allows Missouri deer hunters to donate part, if not all, of their catch to charity. It was a huge success this season with 6,750 whole deer and1,600,000 kg of venison donated through the program and went to local food banks around the state.
The lean, grass-fed, additive-free meat was tested, ground, packaged, and delivered to the food banks thanks to the
volunteers who organized more than 100 participating meat packing facilities. The cost of processing the meat is covered by many sponsors, including hunter groups like Missouri Chapter National Wild Turkey, government departments like the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), and charity organizations like the Missouri Food Banks Association.
“Hunters started Share The Harvest because they saw a need in their communities,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley in a statement. ”And hunters remain the driving force behind this popular program that helps feed our fellow Missourians who are in need.”
Share The Harvest is coordinated by the MDC and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Launched in 1992, it has seen 4.3 million pounds of venison ground, packaged and sent off to ensure that people not only have something to eat, but eat something that is of exceptional nutritional value.
There are 1.4 million whitetail deer in Missouri alone and each year around 38,000 vehicles collide with the animals along Missouri’s roads. In 2018, hunters harvested almost 300,000 of them across all seasons.
Along with helping to feed the hungry and reducing accidents, hunters play a vitally important role in containing the spread of chronic wasting disease in the state—a ferociously contagious, prion-protein disease that infects millions of deer in the country but especially in the Midwest.
Most hunters will tell you that sharing their quarry with friends and family is one of the great joys of their pastime, and so it’s not surprising that Share the Harvest is only one of many hunter-food bank initiatives across the USA.
Originally published by The Good News Network in the USA