Hunters Donate to the Hungry

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JEFFERSON CITY - With the main portion of firearms deer hunting approaching in less than two weeks, deer hunters can expect the Share the Harvest program to take place for its 21st year. 

The Share the Harvest program started in 1992 and has since allowed hunters to donate some of their deer meat to the needy. 

The Share the Harvest program was initially founded by concerned Missourians. Today, the program is run through the Missouri Department of Conservation. 

In the program's last three years, deer meat donations have increased from about 305,000 pounds to roughly 318,000 pounds. Meanwhile, in the last four years, the number of participants in this program nearly increased by 2,000 people. 

However, between 2002 and 2008, the program saw inconsistencies in relation to deer meat donations and participants. 

In 2007, there were roughly 1,000 fewer participants and nearly 100,000 fewer pounds of donations than in 2006. 

Missouri Department of Conservation's program specialist Travis Mclain says although he has high hopes for deer meat donations this year, he doesn't set any specific goals for the program.

"Well, obviously our goals are to have as many donations as possible to the program," Mclain said. "If we can exceed last year, of roughly 6,200 participants.. if we can exceed that goal, we'd be ecstatic."

Mclain also said the program has helped certain Missouri areas that have been facing deer overpopulation issues. 

"We have an incentive with our urban areas, which get more populated with deer," he said. 

In a Share the Harvest data report, Central Missouri, Northeast Missouri, and Northwest Missouri saw the most donations in 2012, reporting more than half of Missouri's total deer donations. 

The process of participating in the Share to Harvest program can be found in the Missouri Conservation Department website.