Hunters Against Hunger

Tuesday, October 24th 2006, 10:24 am
By: News On 6

Tens of thousands of hunters are gearing up for the busiest hunting season of the year. Wildlife officials expect more than 100,000 deer to be harvested from October through December, which translates to almost 170,000 meals for Oklahoma's needy families.

News on 6 anchor Tami Marler looks at a state program called "Hunters Against Hunger."

Even a seasoned hunter like Jimmy Houston gets excited when his arrow lands a big buck. The size and shape of the antlers gets recognition on the hunting circuit, but the meat from even a typical deer can feed a lot of families. A 170-pound deer would yield you about 80 to 90 pounds of meat.

If a hunter doesn't want it, places like Rick's can help you find it. "We skin it. Then we hang it in the cooler and wash it. Then we cut it up and package it." Ricky Hall says hunters bring in anywhere from 500 to 800 deer every season, accounting for about half of his annual business.

Some hunters harvest multiple deer. They know they can't possibly eat all that venison, so employees at Rick's get it ready to be ground-up and given away. "We'll just pass it out to the local churches, to the needy veterans or disabled people. People that's in need."

Rick's facility is part of the state Wildlife Department's "Hunters Against Hunger", which last year contributed more than 34,000 pounds of venison to families-in-need, enough for 170,000 meals. "It gives hungry people meat to eat. It gives people that want to hunt that don't want to eat something to do with their meat instead of throwing it out in the ditch somewhere or wasting the wildlife."

And donations made through state-approved processors are tax-deductible, which makes Oklahoma's Hunters-Against-Hunger a win-win program, unless, of course, you're a deer. The state asks donors to contribute $10 to help with processing charges. Ricky Hall says he waives that fee if the meat is going toward needy families.

For more information call 405-522-6279.