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WVDNR program provides venison for charities, needy families

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. — West Virginia’s buck firearms season is underway and the state Division of Natural Resources is encouraging hunters to give back to their community by donating their harvest to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program.

The program, which is administered by the WVDNR, provides thousands of pounds of venison to needy families and charitable organizations.

“We’re very fortunate in West Virginia to have a strong hunting heritage and people who are also very generous,” said Scott Warner, assistant chief for wildlife diversity for the WVDNR. “Our Hunters Helping the Hungry program incorporates both of those things about our state and does a lot of good for needy families and people who may be down on their luck this time of year.”

Participating in the program is easy, says Warner. Hunters take their deer to one of 13 certified meat processors, where the venison is ground, packaged and frozen. Meat is then distributed to 600 charitable organizations, food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, shelters, community centers, orphanages, missions and churches with the help of the Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway and Facing Hunger Foodbank in Huntington.

Since the program started in 1992, hunters have donated more than 27,000 deer and more than one million pounds of meat.

“The average deer will yield about 40 pounds of meat or 100 meals,” Warner said. “That amount of food goes a long way to helping those who are less fortunate and addressing food insecurity in our state.”

Funding for Hunters Helping the Hungry is provided by the West Virginia Council of Churches, wildlife organizations, private donations and contributions made during the annual Governor’s One Shot antlerless deer hunt.

For more information about Hunters Helping the Hungry or to learn how to make a donation, visit wvdnr.gov/hunting/hhh.shtm.