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 OKLAHOMA CITY -Hunting season is in full swing, and some are using their skills to give to those in need this holiday season.Many times, food drives ask for canned goods and non-perishable items, but the annual Hunters Against Hunger program brings something fresh to the table.This is the busiest time of year at Terry's Taxidermy, turning deer into venison. Hunters say it has been a good season so far, and many have already reached their personal goals.“For the last 25-30 years I’ve been coming back to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I always try to make a hunt,” Art Earlywine said, who is home from Louisiana.Earlywine only uses the meat of one deer for his own family, so he brought another to Terry’s to be donated through Hunters Against Hunger.“I think it’s an obligation that we all have to help our fellow man, and if you’re not going to consume the meat yourself then you certainly don’t want it to go to waste,”said Earlywine.Each deer can produce eight five-pound packs of ground meat, which is then passed on to local shelters and food banks.“We send them thousands of pounds of meat. It comes in five-pound chubs, so it’s going to feed thousands of people,” Terry Mayberry, owner of Terry’s Taxidermy, saidThe state wildlife department works with meat processors like Mayberry to organize this campaign. He only asks for a $10 donation, a fraction of the normal cost to customers.“We don’t really make anything off of it,” said Mayberry. “It’s just kind of our contribution.”As the hunting season continues, Mayberry says he expects about 200 donations at his shop alone, making the holidays a little bit fuller for Oklahomans in need. 

 As deer gun season begins, keep in mind what you plan to do with your harvested game. A cooperative program with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma meat processors, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of eastern Oklahoma allows hunters the opportunity to help feed Oklahoma’s hungry this holiday season.Hunters Against Hunger allows hunters who legally harvest a deer during Oklahoma’s current deer season to donate the meat to feed hungry Oklahomans. Simply deliver the deer to the nearest participating meat processor after you check the deer at a hunter check station. To help with processing charges, each donor is asked to contribute a tax-deductible $10 to assist with the program. If you wish to pay for the entire processing fee, that donation is also tax-deductible. The ground venison will then be distributed to Oklahomans in need through a network of qualified, charitable organizations. 

A cooperative program with your local processor, the Wildlife Department and YOU to provide high quality meals to Oklahoma’s hungry.

Here’s how the program works:

Hunters who legally harvest a deer during any of this year’s deer seasons can donate the meat to feed hungry Oklahomans. Simply deliver the deer to the nearest participating meat processor (listed below) after you check the deer at a hunter check station. To help with processing charges, each donator is asked to contribute a tax-deductable $10 to assist with the program. That fulfills your obligation unless you wish to pay the entire processing fee, which is a tax-deductible donation as well. The ground venison will then be distributed to the needy through a network of qualified, charitable organizations.

Participation by meat processors and hunters is the key to success to helping feed Oklahoma’s hungry. We also would like to pay a special thanks to local food pantry networks of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of eastern Oklahoma for their participation.