The holidays are often a time when we reflect back on all that we are given, and in the state of Kansas, we are fortunate enough to have an abundance of natural resources, including a healthy and stable big game population. And because of this abundant resource, hunters in Kansas have opportunities unmatched by other states, such as the ability to obtain as many as five whitetail antlerless deer permits, in addition to an either-sex permit, in some areas of the state.
Under the right conditions, a hunter’s freezer can quickly fill up with a surplus of game meat, far more than they can consume by next season. This is where the Kansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry (KSHFH) comes in. KSHFH is a nonprofit organization that is the conduit for hunters to donate deer and provide food for hungry Kansans. With the help of hunters, meat processors, and private donors, KSHFH annually provides thousands of meals to those in need. Last year, hunters donated 997 deer and 17 elk to nearly 40 meat lockers, putting food on the tables of nearly 100 food banks across the state.
“Our goal for this year is to see 1,200 deer donated and processed, and served at 160 food pantries throughout the state,” said KSHFH President, Tony DeRossett. “Too often we run out of money before we can pay for all of the processing, but I am optimistic our new donation system will make it easier for people to contribute to the organization’s efforts and make our goal a reality this year.”
DeRossett said that the annual cost of processing the donated deer is approximately $70,000.
New for 2014, money donations can be made to KSHFH by texting “DEER” to 91011. A reply text will then ask for credit card information, including the donation amount. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism also makes supporting this program easy. When outdoorsmen and women buy licenses, permits, or stamps, they can donate $2 to fund the program, which the agency collects for KSHFH. Donations made by check can also be mailed to KSHFH at 17811 Donahoo Rd., Tonganoxie, KS, 66086.
KSHFH invites hunters to donate any legally-harvested deer, antelope, elk, or moose to one of the more than 40 participating meat processors around the state found at www.kshfh.org/lockers. It’s always a good idea to call ahead before taking your deer to a processor, but walk-ins are welcome. There is no cost to donate your deer as long as the KSHFH organization has sufficient funding to cover the processing expense. Donated game must be field dressed and legally tagged.
For more information on how you can help, visit www.kshfh.org.
Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism