Gov. Jay Nixon

For many Missourians, the arrival of November also means the arrival of deer hunting season. But before nearly 500,000 hunters pick up their rifles later this month, Gov. Jay Nixon is encouraging them to share the rewards of a successful hunt.

Nixon toured the state last week, encouraging hunters to take part in Missouri’s long-standing “Share the Harvest” program, where hunters share some or all of the deer meat the capture with Missouri’s food banks.

“Like almost a half a million people on the morning of Nov. 12, I’ll be out trying to make sure that we can not only have some fun, but add to the protein stock of food banks across Missouri,” Nixon said, while speaking at MidwayUSA hunting supply company in Columbia.

Last year, the Share the Harvest program brought in more than 6,100 deer resulting in 350,000 pounds of venison. That was an increase over the 4,600 deer donated in 2009 and 4,200 in 2008.

Nixon also announced $1 million in additional funding for the Missouri Association of Food Banks. The funding comes from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Although hunters can donate a portion of their deer, the program requests whole deer carcasses for processing.

Dave Murphy, executive director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, encouraged past participants of Share the Harvest to help grow the program by encouraging friends to take part.

“I ask each of Missouri’s successful deer hunters to do two things: donate a whole deer (…) and encourage folks around you to do the same thing,” he said.

Information on donating to Share the Harvest is available on the state government’s website, mo.gov.

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