Ohio hunters donate 95,500 pounds of venison to local food banks

The generosity and good will of Ohio hunters is having a major impact on needy Ohio families. The Ohio DNR is reporting venison donations to local food banks are almost triple what they were at this point in 2008. In fact with over 6 weeks of deer season still to go, 2009 donations to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry are almost double what was donated for the entire 2008 season.

If you are a hunter who successfully harvests deer this season, please consider helping Ohio's hungry via this program. There is no cost to you by simply donating at a participating processor.

From an Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources Press Release:

Columbus OH -Ohio deer hunters have donated more than 95,500 pounds of venison to local food banks so far this deer season, according to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

The 95,500 pounds equals approximately 382,000 meals for needy Ohioans. To date, 1,910 deer have been donated with plenty of deer hunting opportunity left in the 2009-10 season. Last year at this time, 671 deer had been donated representing 33,550 pounds of venison.

Last year FHFH collected 54,800 pounds of venison from 1,096 deer through the entire season, from September 2008 to February 1, 2009.

"I applaud Ohio hunters for their generosity and continue to encourage them to donate what they can so Ohio’s food pantries will receive the nutritious red meat they so desperately need," said David M. Graham, chief of the Division of Wildlife.

Hunters still have a weekend of deer-gun hunting, December 19-20, and eight weeks of archery hunting; the archery season remains open until February 7, 2010. The statewide muzzleloader deer-hunting season will be held January 9-12, 2010.

The Division of Wildlife collaborated with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) in an effort to assist with the processing costs associated with donating venison to a food bank. A $100,000 subsidy grant was provided in two $50,000 allotments that are to be matched with funds generated or collected by FHFH. The division subsidized this year's FHFH operation as an additional deer management tool, helping wildlife managers encourage hunters to kill more does.

Venison donated to food banks must be processed by a federal, state or locally inspected and insured meat processor that is participating with FHFH. Hunters wishing to donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay for the processing of the venison as long as the program has funds available to cover the cost. There are presently 65 participating meat processors across the state. A list is provided at www.fhfh.org.

Currently there are 33 local chapters across the state with a need for more. Anyone interested in becoming a local program coordinator or a participating meat processor should visit the "Local FHFH" page at www.fhfh.org. The Web page includes a current list of coordinators, program names and the counties they serve.

Link to original Ohio DNR News Release

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