JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) encourage deer hunters around the state to share their harvests through the state’s Share the Harvest program. Deer season in Missouri started Sept. 15 and runs through Jan. 15, 2020. CFM is also holding a photo contest for those who share their harvests.

Administered by MDC and CFM, Share the Harvest coordinates the efforts of thousands of deer hunters, numerous participating meat processors, many local supporting organizations, and statewide sponsors to help feed hungry Missourians.

The program works by deer hunters donating their extra venison — from several pounds to whole deer — to participating meat processors throughout the state who grind and package the deer meat. The packaged venison is then given to local food banks and food pantries for distribution to Missourians in need of food assistance.

The National Institutes of Health states that children need protein in their diets for proper growth and development, and adults need it to maintain good health. Yet many Missourians can’t afford or don’t have access to good sources of protein. Through Share the Harvest, Missouri hunters can help provide those in need with high-quality protein in the form of naturally lean, locally harvested deer meat.

Thousands of Missouri deer hunters donated more than 259,400 pounds of venison 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 to help feed hungry Missourians.

Processing fees are covered entirely or in part by numerous local sponsors, along with statewide sponsors that include: MDC, Shelter Insurance, Bass Pro Shops, Missouri Chapter Safari Club International, Missouri Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation, Midway USA Inc.,

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