Urban deer hunters reminded to Share the Harvest

News from the region
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JEFFERSON CITY—Missouri’s four-day firearms deer hunt in urban areas offers hunters a fistful of opportunities – get an early start on deer hunting, help reduce deer-vehicle accidents, cut down on deer-related property damage and feed hungry Missourians.

The urban portion of firearms deer season is Oct. 8 through 11 in all or parts of 12 counties around St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and the Columbia-Jefferson City area. The hunt is for antlerless deer only, with the goal of removing female deer from urban and suburban deer herds. This is the most effective way of controlling deer numbers.

The overabundance of deer around Missouri’s biggest population centers makes it easy for hunters in these areas to fill their freezers. However, there is a limit to how much venison one family can eat in a year. Hunters who can shoot more deer than they need can donate excess deer to needy Missourians at no cost through the Share the Harvest (STH) program.

STH programs across the state are organized by local citizens who bring together hunters, charities and meat processors to put lean, high-protein meat on the table for those in need. Twenty-six participating processors are located in urban-zone counties, making deer donations convenient during the urban hunt.

To learn how and where to donate deer through STH, call 573-634-2322, e-mail mofed@socket.net, or visit mdc.mo.gov/hunt/deer/share/, Participating meat processors also are listed on pages 44 and 45 of the 2010 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, which is available wherever hunting permits are sold.

Hunters donated more than 250,000 pounds of venison to charities through STH last year. New funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), combined with donations from state and local sponsors, will enable hunters to feed more people than ever. STH organizers at the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri say they hope to increase STH donations to more than 500,000 pounds this year.

Hunters have donated more than 2.1 million pounds of venison through STH since the program’s inception in 1992.

-Jim Low-