The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says deer hunters donated a record number of the animals to help feed the hungry. Ross Harrison oversees the program, and says almost 7,000 deer, a seven percent increase over last year, were donated with most going to the program called Help Us Stop Hunger or "HUSH." Harrison says 80 lockers processed the deer into more than one million quarter-pound servings of venison.
Harrison says hunters pay one dollar for each deer license that goes toward the processing of the deer. He says a lot of hunters enjoy the chance to go out and shoot another deer, and they also get to help the needy. A total of six-thousand-482 deer were shot and donated this season. Harrison says 63 of the deer went to the Rockwell City Correctional Facility as food.
Harrison says the prison pays 30 dollars to have the head and hooves of the deer cut off and then inmates butcher and process the deer to feed to inmates. Harrison says they have one other outlet that took 275 deer. He says the organization called "Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry" has two chapters in Iowa and they take the donated deer and have it process to feed the hungry. Harrison says the organization could have five more chapters in the state by next dear season. Harrison says the venison has proven to be a welcome addition to food banks.
Harrison says the ground venison can be used just like hamburger, and he says after four years of the program, "we have nothing but compliments from end users. Harrison says the one-dollar HUSH fee generate nearly $366,000, which was about $60,000 short of paying for the program and fees from other licenses will cover the deficit. Lockers receiving the most deer included: Edgewood Locker in Edgewood, 422 deer; Milo Locker in Milo, 350 deer; Ruzicka’s Meat Processing, Inc. in Solon, 264 deer; Corning Meat Processing in Corning, 247 deer; and Perk’s Processing in Unionville, 235 deer.