Missouri Hunters Share the Harvest

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BOONE COUNTY - Saturday marked the beginning of gun season for Missouri hunters, but for some hunters there was more to the weekend than the start of the new season.

Local hunters came to Midway Travel Plaza in Boone County to donate more than 50 deer this weekend. The donation program called "Share the Harvest" is a statewide effort to feed the hungry. The program sponsored by the Conservation Federation funds the processing of meat for donors who donate a whole deer. Hunters can donate processed venison at any time during the legal hunting season.

Share the Harvest covers the processing cost, leaving zero out of pocket expenses for hunters and a boost in business for processors. Last year Share the Harvest provided the Food Bank with more than 300,000 pounds of venison.

Volunteer Mike McMillen says this weekend kicked off a good start for donations. "Between yesterday and today we've probably had 30 deer donated here, figure an average of 200 pounds per deer, we're looking at about 6,000 pounds of meat that has been donated," he said.

Meat Processor Bill Crane says the Conservation Federation has made it easy for hunters to donate. He says he thinks hunters really get excited about giving their harvest to the needy.

"All they have to do is drop their deer off, print their name, sign their name, date it and write their tag number down and that's all there is to it. They put it in the refrigerator trailer and they are on their way," Crane said.

If you want to donate your deer, Share the Harvest will continue at the Midway Travel Plaza location next weekend.

For more information on Share the Harvest you can visit the Missouri Department of Conservation's website or the Central and Northeast Missouri Foodbank's website.