Hunters have donated more than 1 million pounds of nutritious venison over program’s 32 years.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources today announced a need for additional meat processors to participate in the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, a collaborative effort with food banks to help provide nutritious protein to hungry people around the state.
“Over the past 32 years and with the help of hunters and meat processors around the state, we’ve been able to provide more than 1 million pounds of highly nutritious meat for people in need throughout West Virginia,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion. “Meat is in high demand at food banks around the state, so we’re asking for more processors to step up and help out. We also want to encourage hunters to get in the woods this fall, fill the limit on their license and stamps and then donate any extra meat to processors.”
Wild game is often healthier than many commercially available proteins. According to the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Service, a three-ounce serving of venison has 102 calories, 19.5 grams of protein and just 2.06 grams of fat, while a 3-ounce serving of lean ground beef has 114 calories, 15.41 grams of protein and 5.36 grams of fat.
Meat is first donated by hunters, who take their deer to a participating meat processor where it is ground, packaged and frozen. The Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway and Facing Hunger Foodbank in Huntington then pick up donated meat from processors and distributes it to individuals and families in need through a statewide network of 600 charitable food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, shelters, community centers, orphanages, missions and churches.
To participate in the program, processors need to be certified with either the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. Once certified, processors should express their interest in participating by sending a copy of certification to the WVDNR’s Hunters Helping the Hungry program coordinator, Trevor Moore, by calling 304-924-6211 or sending an email to email@example.com. Once approved, processors can begin receiving and storing meat for pick up. Processors are reimbursed at a rate of $3 per pound.
Since the program was started in 1992, more than 1 million pounds of venison from 28,826 deer have been donated and processed. During the 2022 seasons, hunters donated 681 deer, which provided 24,580 pounds of venison for individuals and families in need. To learn more, visit WVdnr.gov/hunters-helping-the-hungry.
For season dates, bag limits and other regulations, hunters should consult the West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available online at WVdnr.gov and at WVDNR district offices and license agents around the state. To purchase a hunting license, visit WVhunt.com.