FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. — The “Governor’s One Shot Hunt” – an antlerless deer hunting event that provides a source of fundraising and venison for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) program – has been scheduled for Oct. 26 at Stonewall Resort in Lewis County.
“I’ve been a hunter all my life and I know our natural resources, like our deer, are phenomenal,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “There are so many people who really enjoy hunting, but the appetite for venison might not be there. So we give them this incredible alternative.”
As of last year’s deer seasons, generous hunter donations of venison have topped the one-million-pound mark since the inception of the program in 1992.
According to DNR’s Wildlife Resources Section, hunters have donated 26,387 deer, making up 1,003,202 pounds of venison for 1,349,660 meals.
“This is a significant milestone for this worthy program, and we expect it will continue through this fall’s hunting seasons and beyond,” said DNR Director Stephen S. McDaniel. “Although DNR sponsors this program, its success depends not only upon venison donations, but also upon the monetary donations and sponsorships required to administer it. We thank everyone who contributes to this program for the benefit of our less-fortunate citizens who depend upon HHH to provide what is likely their only source of red meat during the year.”
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture also plays an active role in this program through its regulation of the processing facilities. Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt is encouraging more hunters to participate in 2019.
“Last year, hunters heard our call by donating the highest number of deer since 2013. Those donations led to an additional 32,000 meals available to West Virginia’s most needy,” said Commissioner Leonhardt. “This year we need more hunters to step up to the challenge. Help us serve even more West Virginians.”
Hunters who decide to participate in the program take their deer to a participating meat processor, where the processor grinds, packages and freezes the venison. From there, participating food banks pick up the venison and distribute it to the needy through their statewide network of 600 charitable food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, shelters, community centers, orphanages, missions, and churches.
There is considerable interest in the program, but the DNR is restricted from using sportsmen’s license dollars to fund the program. Therefore, the DNR must rely on the generosity of concerned individuals, businesses, conservation organizations, foundations, and churches.
The HHH program is a cooperative effort that involves the DNR, hunters, meat processors, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Mountaineer Food Bank, Facing Hunger Foodbank, and a statewide network of more than 600 food pantries, shelters, churches, children’s homes and similar groups.
For more information about the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program, including a list of participating meat processors, visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov or call the DNR district office in French Creek at 304-924-6211.