A metal-clad deer stand sits north of a creek bed in the middle of a corn and soybean field in southern Warren County, Mo. However, this could be in any field across the state.
Deer hunters will retreat to their erected wooden structures or metal stands in the trees this fall for what is considered a tradition for many Missourians — one that is passed down from generation to generation. The time spent quietly in the treetops is about being a part of nature and fostering family ties.
While many are looking for that first 10-point buck to mount on the wall, others are all about the jerky. The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri want farmers to consider one more option — share the harvest.
Deer season already is underway across the state. It started in September and runs through Jan. 15. The two groups coordinate Share the Harvest, a program where deer hunters donate their extra venison — from several pounds to a whole deer — to participating meat processors throughout the state, who grind and package the deer meat.
Missouri Department of Conservation
PACKAGED TO SHARE: Missouri hunters can donate their excess deer meat through the Share the Harvest program. These packages are delivered to food pantries to help feed the hungry.
The packaged venison then is given to local food banks and food pantries for distribution to Missourians in need of food assistance.
More than 259,400 pounds of venison were donated to the state’s Share the Harvest program last deer season, including 4,855 whole deer. Since the program began in 1992, Share the Harvest has provided more than 4 million pounds of lean, healthy venison.
In many areas, processing fees are donated by sponsors or the deer hunters themselves. To find participating Share the Harvest processors, visit mdc.mo.gov/share.
Consider adding one more layer to that family tradition and help the next generation learn to share and care for those in need.