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      Governor encourages deer donations

      Governor Jay Nixon wants deer hunters to keep the less fortunate in mind this hunting season.

      The Governor was at the Cherith Brook Food Pantry in Moberly today to encourage Missouri deer hunters to donate their deer through the Share the Harvest program this year. Share the Harvest is a partnership between the Conservation Federation of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Conservation, regional food banks, local food pantries and meat processors to provide venison donated by hunters and processors to Missouri families in need.

      ??Hunting is a time-honored tradition here in Missouri, as is helping our neighbors in need,?? Gov. Nixon said. ??Each year, hunters throughout the Show-Me State help tens of thousands of struggling families put food on the table through the Share the Harvest program. I??m proud to be part of this tradition, and I encourage all Missouri hunters to join me in donating a deer to help feed Missouri families in need.??

      The Governor said the upcoming youth deer hunt is an ideal time for Missouri hunters to contribute to Share the Harvest. Missouri??s 2013 youth deer hunt is this weekend, Nov. 2-3, and an additional youth deer hunt is scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 4-5.

      ??The young men and women who are hunting this weekend are learning respect for the land, for wildlife, for firearm safety, for property owners, and for other hunters. These are lifelong lessons that are starting at an early age,?? Gov. Nixon said. ??This weekend??s youth season also presents a perfect opportunity for parents and grandparents to teach young people about Missouri??s legacy of generosity by donating to Share the Harvest.??

      Throughout the archery and firearms deer seasons, the Share the Harvest program subsidizes a portion of the cost of butchering and packaging whole deer donated by Missouri hunters; in many communities, local partners cover the remainder of the processing costs. To participate, hunters simply take their deer to an approved processor and indicate how much venison they wish to contribute, ranging from a few pounds to a whole deer.

      ??Share the Harvest demonstrates a proud legacy of Missouri hunters giving back to our communities,?? said Bob Ziehmer, Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation. ??Thanks to Gov. Nixon??s continued leadership and the generous support of our private sponsors, we will be able to get more healthy, nutritious venison to Missouri families this year.??

      Now in its 22nd season, the Share the Harvest program is continuing to provide donated venison to families in need. With the active support of the Governor, participation in the program has increased every year since 2009 and total pounds donated have increased by more than 100,000 pounds from 2009 to 2012. During each of the past four hunting seasons, Gov. Nixon has donated a whole deer he successfully hunted to Share the Harvest.

      During the 2012 hunting season, more than 6,200 hunters donated 318,115 pounds of venison through Share the Harvest. That was an increase over the 317,882 pounds of venison donated in 2011, the 305,643 pounds of venison donated in 2010, and the 206,701 pounds of venison donated in 2009 according to the Conservation Federation of Missouri.

      The 2013 Missouri firearms deer season opens Nov. 16, and runs through Nov. 26. Archery season for deer began Sept. 15 and runs through Nov. 15, and then will resume on Nov. 27 through Jan. 15. There also are hunting seasons for youth, for hunters using muzzleloaders and other approved alternative hunting methods, and for harvesting antlerless deer.

      In addition to the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Department of Conservation, statewide sponsors of the cost-reduction program include Bass Pro Shops, Shelter Insurance, Missouri Chapter Whitetails Unlimited, Missouri Chapter Safari Club International, Missouri Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation, Drury Hotels, Enterprise Holdings Inc., Midway USA Inc., the Missouri Deer Hunters Association, Pyramid Home Health Services and Wells Fargo Bank.