GREENVILLE, Pa. — Pennsylvania deer hunters fed the hungry in historic fashion during the 2022-23 hunting season — donating a total of 235,532 pounds of venison from 6,201 deer and four elk via Hunters Sharing the Harvest — Pennsylvania’s nationally emulated venison donation program.
The season totals were announced by HSH executive director Randy Ferguson during the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Reception at Tavern on the Hill in Enola, June 13.
Reflecting a nearly 25% increase, the recent season numbers eclipsed the previous record of 190,302 pounds from 4,896 deer donated during the 2020-21 hunting season.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has been a key supporting partner with HSH for many years, providing a substantial annual allocation of state and federal hunger relief funds to help HSH defray the costs associated with reimbursing participating processors for their services.
As part of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s herd management goals, deer hunters can harvest several deer in a year with appropriate tags. HSH provides an opportunity for hunters who might typically only harvest one or two deer for their family’s consumption to fill more tags, donating additional deer to help those in need in their community.
The HSH program is a coordinated effort of nearly 100 participating deer processors who accept donated deer from hunters and process the deer into 1-, 2- and 5-pound packages of ground venison for distribution to regional food banks and food pantries.
In its 32 years of operation, HSH has delivered 2.2 million pounds of hunter-donated venison, providing over 10 million servings to food-insecure Pennsylvanians.
Hunters interested in donating a deer need only to legally harvest, tag and field dress the deer and take it to a participating processor near them. The list of participating processors by county can be found at sharedeer.org/meat-processors/.
HSH is actively seeking participating processors to augment its efforts in counties throughout Pennsylvania. Participating processors are reimbursed for their services and are the cornerstone of the HSH mission.
A volunteer force of nearly 60 county coordinators ensures that processors have the resources they need and that the public is aware of the program and the ways they can support the HSH mission. A list of county coordinators is available at sharedeer.org/area-coordinators/. Individuals interested in being a coordinator are encouraged to contact Ferguson at 866-474-2141 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Businesses wishing to support the mission of Hunters Sharing the Harvest are encouraged to become a sponsor. HSH offers multiple levels of sponsorship to fit any organization’s budget. These supporting sponsors are a crucial source of operational support for the organization.
Those who do not hunt or who do not have extra deer to donate can support Hunters Sharing the Harvest with a monetary donation of any amount through the Buck for the Pot program. Donations can be made online at sharedeer.org/support-our-mission/.
More information on Hunters Sharing the Harvest can be found at sharedeer.org.
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