Ohio deer hunters donated more than 104,400 pounds of venison to local food banks through the 2011-12 deer hunting season, according to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
The venison donation equals approximately 417,600 meals for Ohioans in need. A total of 2,088 deer were donated during this season compared to 2,503 last year, 2,336 in 2009-10, 1,096 in 2008-09, and 418 in 2007-08.
Last year 219,698 deer were killed during Ohio’s 2011-12 hunting season, compared to 239,379 in the 2010-11 hunting season.
The Division of Wildlife has collaborated with FHFH for the last four years in an effort to assist with the processing costs associated with donating venison to a food bank. A subsidy grant was provided in allotments that are matched with funds generated or collected by local Ohio FHFH chapters. ODNR’s Division of Wildlife subsidizes this program 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 FHFH. 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 77 participating meat processors across the state. A list is provided at www.fhfh.org.
Currently, there are 34 local chapters across the state. Anyone interested in becoming a local program coordinator or a participating meat processor should visit the “Local FHFH” page at www.fhfh.org. The webpage includes a current list of coordinators, program names and the counties that they serve.