Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hunters Sharing the Harvest

The 2009 Pennsylvania deer season is upon us! Archery started October 1st and the early muzzleloader and youth rifle season this week. The regular gun season does not begin until the Monday following Thanks Giving, November 30th. That being said, I hope many of you will consider donating all or part of your deer to help feed the hungry. This is accomplished through the efforts of Hunters Sharing the Harvest and its cooperators.

Pennsylvania's Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) is a venison donation program. Since 1991 it has channeled hunter's donations of venison to local food banks, soup kitchens, and needy families. These donations have literally provided hundreds of thousands of meals to needy Pennsylvanians. Last year HSH coordinated the delivery of nearly 200,000 meals of venison to hungry Pennsylvanians!

Hunting is the primary method of deer management in the state. Proper deer management lessens the impact of deer on forests, crops, and landscaping. Balancing deer populations with the available habitat also benefits deer by ensuring the availability of food and cover. With fewer hunters and more liberal seasons than in the past many hunters are able to harvest two or more deer.

HSH not only encourages hunters to consider donating their second or third deer of the season, but also to consider smaller donations from any deer harvested. HSH program distributes the venison to hungry people via an integrated network of meat processors and food banks. The program has called upon hunters to pay for all or part of the processing fees. These donations, combined with the financial assistance of our sponsors, are what make the entire process possible.

To find out more information about HSH go to their web site located at: http://www.sharedeer.org/index.html or contact the Centre County Volunteer Coordinator, Dave Jackson at 814-355-4897. Listings of participating processors can be found on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s web site: http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/cwp/view.asp?a=460&q=160457

Centre County currently has just one participating butcher, Adler’s Market, located in Philipsburg. HSH continues to have a serious need for qualified participating deer processors in many areas. Any help with connecting HSH to good candidates in unrepresented areas would be appreciated!

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