COLUMBUS — Ohio deer hunters have donated more than 54,800 pounds of venison to local food banks through the 2008-09 deer hunting season, according to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
The 54,800 pounds of venison equals approximately 219,200 meals for Ohioans in need.
Last year, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry collected 20,902 pounds of venison throughout the season.
A total of 1,096 deer were donated this deer hunting season compared to 418 in 2007-08.
The Division of Wildlife collaborated with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry in an effort to assist with the processing costs associated with donating venison to a food bank.
A $100,000 subsidy grant was provided in two $50,000 allotments that are to be matched with funds generated or collected by Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
The division subsidized this year’s operation as an additional deer management tool, helping wildlife managers encourage hunters to kill more does.
Venison that is donated to food banks must be processed by a federal, state or locally inspected and insured meat processor that is participating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
Hunters wishing to donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay for the processing of the venison as long as the program has funds available to cover the cost.
There are currently 43 participating meat processors across the state. A list is provided at www.fhfh.org.
Since last year, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry has more than doubled the number of chapters from 12 to 27, with the need for more.
Anyone interested in becoming a local program coordinator or a participating meat processor should visit the “Local FHFH” page at www.fhfh.org.
The web page includes a current list of coordinators, program names and the counties that they serve.