Hunters donate 750 lbs. of venison through MDC

Sharing the Harvest - Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Agent Sarah Ettinger-Dietzel and Arcadia Valley Food Pantry Manager Shirley Pennington unload packages of ground venison donated to the pantry by local hunters through the MDC’s “Share the Harvest” program.

Iron County Hunters have donated 750 pounds of ground venison to the Arcadia Valley Food Bank and the South Iron Food Bank through the Missouri Depart of Conservation’s “Share the Harvest” program.

“That is more than double what was donated last year,” said Iron County MDC Agent Sarah Ettinger-Dietzel.

“It means a lot because we have a lot of individuals who like deer meat and aren’t able to go out and hunt,” said Shirley Pennington, manager of the Arcadia Valley Food Pantry. “Not a lot of people get the opportunity to have venison anymore.”

Ettinger-Dietzel said “Share the Harvest” is not a new program, but hunters seem more aware of it than in the past.

“The department pays the processor fees,” she explained. “If hunters are going out there hunting for their trophy buck and they just want the cape and the head/antlers or if they have more than one tag, they can donate it right there at the processor working with Share the Harvest, and for us here in Iron County that would be Ruble’s Meat Market.

“It is great that Ruble’s does that for us, because we don’t pay a lot and I know he gets overloaded, but the company wants to help the community. It is a good program.”

“This is great because right now we aren’t getting any meat from the (St. Louis area) Food Bank,” Pennington added. “In November and December, each month we served more than 260 households. That is up a little bit, but we will always serve over 200 households.”