FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. — Although the popular buck hunting season in West Virginia will end this weekend there are several opportunities left for West Virginia hunters to still take a deer before the end of the year. It’s likely by now many hunters have killed all of the deer they will need, but still want to hunt. It’s an opportunity to create a win-win for the hunter and the West Virginia Hunters Helping the Hungry program.

“They may be looking at a second buck, or maybe a doe on an ‘N’ stamp or maybe hunting with a muzzleloader or the antlerless season,” said Tyler Evans who coordinates the program for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “It would be a good opportunity if you’ve killed a deer and filled your freezer to potentially donate one and help the less fortunate.”

The program operates through 17 processors across the state and is very simple. Hunters drop off their deer after it’s checked to one of the participating processor. The meat of the entire deer is ground and put into two-pound packages and then distributed to the needy of West Virginia via the Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway and the Fighting Hunger Food Bank in Huntington.

“There aren’t any specialty cuts. It’s just a very versatile way to use all of the meat off of the deer,” said Evans. “It really gives them an option to feed their families.”

The process of collection, transporting, and distribution of meat donated to Hunters Helping the Hungry is complex. It makes it tough to know just how much has been donated so far in 2018. Evans believes there are a number of donated animals and he’s hoping there will be many more as we get into the latter days of the state’s deer hunting seasons.

“It’s the highest concentration of red meat donated to the food banks,” said Evans. “Being low fat and high protein, it’s not hard to see why people are constantly interested in getting it into their freezers.”