Venison donations are up over last year’s total

DNR Report –

Columbus – 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 DNR
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 Feb. 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 six weeks of archery hunting; the archery
season remains open until Feb. 7, 2010. The statewide muzzleloader
deer hunting season will be held Jan. 9-12, 2010.

The Division of Wildlife collaborated with Farmers and Hunters
Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) in an effort to help 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.

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