Deer hunters can turn success into supper for families in need with Share the Harvest

News from the region
Saint Louis
Published Date

St. LOUIS, Mo.—$7 may not seem like a lot of money these days, but it can go a long way feeding those in need, thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Share the Harvest Program. 

Share the Harvest provides food to the hungry through deer meat donated by hunters.  Hunters can choose to give part or the entire deer they harvest.  They simply bring their deer to an approved meat processor to process the venison, usually into ground meat, where it is then packaged for distribution. 

More families than ever are currently facing financial challenges brought on by rising grocery costs.  Consider that a deer tag for a doe costs a hunter only $7.  Imagine how many times over that tag can pay for itself with the amount of nutritious and healthy venison it can provide families in need.

Share the Harvest is a statewide partnership between MDC, the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM), cooperating meat processors, and hunters.  The St. Louis area is fortunate to have another key partner in the program, Operation Food Search (OFS).  Thanks to contributions by OFS, St. Louis area hunters donating their entire deer through Share the Harvest can do so with little to no processing fees.

The Overland-based non-profit hunger relief organization feeds 200,000 people in need each month through over 200 outlets in the metro area.  According to OFS, fresh protein like venison is one of the most popular items and the number one in demand.

Meat processors typically charge around $100 to process a deer into ready-to-prepare meat.  The CFM has funding to cover $75 for hunters donating whole deer statewide.  Operation Food Search contributes an additional $20 per deer.  Cooperating processors in St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson Counties agree to limit their deer processing fees so there is little to no net charge for donating hunters.  All members in the partnership work together to help alleviate the costs for hunters who donate their entire deer.

“Operation Food Search is helping reduce costs for hunters who want to donate whole deer to Share the Harvest, so it’s easier for them to participate,” said MDC Conservation Agent Corporal Jeff Breuer.

The following is a list of meat processors in the St. Louis Region that offer minimal to no cost processing for hunters donating for processing a whole deer, grouped by county.

St. Louis:

  • Kenrick’s Meats and Catering, South St. Louis County
  • John’s Butcher Shoppe, Overland

St. Charles County:

  • Josephville Meat Processing, Wentzville

Jefferson County:

  • Dittmer Meat Packing, Dittmer
  • John’s Butcher Shop, Festus

Corporal Breuer reminded hunters that deer harvested from Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone counties can be donated only to processors participating in the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program.

For more details on the Share the Harvest program and a list of these processors, visit