Iowa’s program that connects hunters with processors that donate deer meat to food pantries is still going strong.
The Help Us Stop Hunger (HUSH) program was established to help reduce the deer population while providing high-quality red meet to help feed needy people in Iowa.
One dollar of every hunting license fee goes to help fund the HUSH program. Hunters can donate any legally-taken deer of any gender from any season. Hunters contact a participating locker before taking a whole, field-dressed deer to be processed. Once at the locker, the hunter completes a donation card and surrenders the deer.
The locker then processes the deer into two-pound packages of ground meat, which is distributed to local food pantries through the Food Bank of Iowa.
“Iowa deer hunters do an excellent job of using available doe tags to reduce the deer herd which simultaneously provides a needed high protein product to the Food Bank of Iowa,” said Jim Coffey, who coordinates the HUSH program for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau.
Since it was started, Iowa hunters have donated more than 56,000 deer to the HUSH program. In 2012, nearly 5,300 deer were donated. That provided 800,000 meals for needy Iowa families.
Iowa’s bow season is open until Dec. 6, and then reopens Dec. 23 to Jan. 10, 2014. Shotgun season one is Dec. 7-11. Shotgun season two is Dec. 14-22.