Hunters share harvest with local families
Deer hunters in Butler County are helping feed local families through a statewide effort called Hunters Sharing the Harvest.
The nonprofit program, in its 22nd year, organizes processing and distribution of donated venison for local organizations. For hunters who have multiple deer tags or hunt for sport, it's a way to put their game to good use.
“They just love deer, and they love to hunt,” Ron Rome, of Rome's Meat and Deli in Butler, one of the participating processors. “They get one, and then another. This way it goes to a good cause.”
In 2012, hunters in Butler County donated more than 8,000 pounds of venison to area food pantries through Hunters Sharing the Harvest, said Butler County program coordinator Tom Rossman. Across the state, hunters donated about 100,000 pounds.
Although the bulk of donations comes from rifle season, which ran from Dec. 2 to 14, Rossman said he delivered 1,070 pounds of venison taken during archery season earlier this fall.
“It's going to be a good year,” he said. “That's unusual. Usually, we get a couple hundred pounds from archery.”
Though official numbers are not available yet, Butler County's four participating processors said this year is shaping up to the bring in the most venison ever.
“I think this year we're going to do better than last year,” Rome said.
To donate through Hunters Sharing the Harvest, hunters take deer to participating meat processors and may pay a small fee to supplement the cost of processing, Rossman said. The program reimburses the processors for the processing cost at the end of the season.
The county coordinators distribute the meat to food pantries as needed throughout the season. There are 22 in Butler County that benefit from Hunters Sharing the Harvest.
“It's good to have it coming in,” said Carol Lambert of Feed My Sheep in Slippery Rock. “Meat is the most expensive thing on the menu, so getting anything helps.”
Venison is a low-fat, high-protein food source, but not everyone likes it. Food pantry coordinators said people tend to have strong feelings about the meat.
“We offer it and some people shudder and say, ‘Deer?' ” said Marilynn McElhinny of the Evans City Community Food Cupboard. “But the ones that love it, love it, and they're delighted to get the deer.”
McElhinny said she's been able to persuade many people to try it, even if they're not sure how to prepare it.
“For people that haven't used it, I tell them if they use it in chili or spaghetti sauce, they won't even notice,” she said. “And they try it and say it's great. It's wonderful that we have extra to give.”
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.