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WV Wildlife: Deer meat donations needed--Hunters Helping the Hungry Program

The donated deer meat is processed and packaged into portions for cooking. (WCHS/WVAH)

The most popular hunt of the season is just around the corner!

Buck firearms season begins right here in West Virginia on Monday.

Hunters across the state will harvest some nice white-tailed deer over this nearly 2-week period.

If you don't plan on eating the meat, though, there are a lot of people in our region that would appreciate the food.

That's why our West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has been a proud sponsor of the Hunter's Helping the Hungry Program for several years now.

At Mountaineer Food Bank, in Braxton County, donated venison is crucial in fighting hunger across the Mountain State.

"It's huge. 1 in 6 people in West Virginia struggle with hunger. A lot of those are children, a lot of those are seniors. We've got over 300 food pantries and soup kitchens that we work with and then we have a couple hundred backpack programs and other programs that we work with", said Chad Morrison—Executive Director with Mountaineer Food Bank.

Jan Frame, Director of Christ’s Cantina Feeding Program in Sutton, says they really appreciate the deer meat for the free meals they offer every week.

"We cook all kinds of things with it. We make chili, we make spaghetti with it, we make sloppy joes", said Frame.

Not only is it versatile, but deer meat is pretty healthy, too.

"It's real lean protein. It's a healthier meat--it's a good option", said Morrison.

The winter months can especially be hard on hungry families. If you would like to donate, the process is pretty easy.

"The deer has to be taken to a USDA certified processor that partners with the WV DNR. The processor will take the deer--there's no fees for the hunter. They just deliver it to the processer. They package it up, and then we pick up the deer meat and we give it to a hungry family here in West Virginia", said Morrison.

If you need to find a USDA certified processor nearby, you can go to the DNR’s website, wvdnr.gov.

"All the hunters that can donate, we sure appreciate it, said Frame.

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