With the opening day of Ohio’s deer-gun season on November 29, hunters are reminded that donating a deer is free at meat processors participating in the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) venison donation program. Although venison donations are accepted any day during the deer hunting season, September 25 – February 6, 2011; Saturday, December 4 has been designated as FHFH Day.

Participating meat processors can be found by visiting the FHFH Web site at www.fhfh.org. Last year, hunters showed they cared by donating nearly 116,750 pounds of venison, which equates to 467,000 meals for Ohioans in need.

The FHFH Web site also allows people to donate cash that will supplement the funds being raised to help pay for processing the meat.                    Over the last year, FHFH has more than doubled the number of chapters from 12 to 27, with the need for more. Anyone interested in becoming a local program coordinator or a participating meat processor should visit the Local FHFH page at www.fhfh.org. The Web page includes a current list of coordinators, program names and the counties that they serve.

A $50,000 subsidy grant has been awarded to FHFH to help pay the processing fee on donated venison. The grant money is to be matched with funds generated or collected by FHFH. The Division of Wildlife is again subsidizing this year’s FHFH operation as an additional deer management tool, helping wildlife managers encourage hunters to kill more does.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.