Deer hunters help feed hungry families in Oklahoma
With a week remaining in the deer gun season and more than a month left in the archery season, hunters with plenty of venison already in their freezers should consider donating to the Hunters Against Hunger program.
“It's a really good thing,” said Micah Holmes, spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The food banks say it is really a valuable donation because they get lots of canned goods and dried goods at this time of year, but they don't get a lot of fresh meat. The venison is really appreciated by the families who get it.”
Last year, deer hunters donated 18,525 pounds of meat which is delivered as ground venison to needy families in Oklahoma.
Forty-four meat processors in the state participate in the program and they are listed on the Wildlife Department's website, wildlifedepartment.com. To donate, hunters simply need to take their deer to one of the participating processors and donate $10 to help defray the costs.
The Wildlife Department also pays a portion and the processor donates his time, Holmes said.
“Everybody is giving a little bit to be a part of the program,” he said.
How old is your deer?
Hunters who want to know the age of their deer can submit a photo of the animal's jaw online to the Wildlife Department.
The best way to age a deer is to have a biologist examine the jaw, Holmes said.
“It's kind of hard to tell just by the size of the antlers,” Holmes said. “We want to encourage hunters to take mature bucks, but this (online photos) is a pretty small sample size so we are not making management decisions off of it. This is more of a tool for hunters to get a better idea how old the animals are they are harvesting.”
Hunters are also encouraged to donate deer jaws to the Wildlife Department. State wildlife officials take jaws from deer processors and taxidermists for biological data, Holmes said.