I was absolutely thrilled to learn earlier last month that over 125,000 lbs of venison was collected for Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry in Ohio during the 2010 whitetail season. More than 2,000 deer were donated, providing half a million meals for hungry families throughout the state. I am a proud Buckeye and learning of the generosity of other Ohio hunters was truly amazing.
When I first began to hunt, I didn't fully comprehend how incredible it feels to feed your family with venison that you tracked, hunted and took home independently. It's much different than filling your cart at a local grocery. There is a whole different sense of pride and ownership. I still recall our first venison meal from a deer that I had tagged. As ridiculous as this may sound, it tasted better, heartier simply because it was my work that had made that meal a reality.
Oftentimes, as hunters, we concern ourselves with filling as many tags as possible and taking home the biggest buck. We get so busy thinking about all that goes into making these two points a reality that we might not consider the significant impact that can be made with a simple choice; donating a deer to FHFH. Until recently, I didn't know a great deal about the program or fully understand how absolutely vital this is for families. If you have not visited the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry website FHFH, I urge you to do so. The statistics on hunger are disheartening, but the outpouring of support from hunters is a demonstration of the intense loyalty and strong sense of community among outdoorsmen and women. Personally, I often have a freezer full of venison at the end of the season. It is enough meat to provide meals for nearly a year for a small family like my own. If every hunter donated only one deer each season, imagine the incredible impact we could have in the fight against hunger.
With the economic downturn leaving large numbers of families struggling to make ends meet, this program has become more imperative than ever before. You have the ability to provide a warm meal for a family, sustaining them when they need it most.
I strongly encourage everyone to consider donating a deer or elk this season. The requirements are relatively simple. Your deer or elk must be field dressed and properly tagged. There is no cost to you as long as your local FHFH has the funds to support the processing. If you have a rough season and don't take home a single deer (which happened to me last season) consider making a contribution to help defray the cost of processing for donated meat. As a collective group, our efforts can make an impact that will certainly be felt by many.