Wild game provides nutritious meat for hunters, families, charities

FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. — With fall hunting seasons in full swing, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources officials are encouraging hunters to consider what to do with the meat they harvest.

“Hunting is a great reason to get into the woods, enjoy our beautiful state and put healthy protein in the freezer,” said Kaylee Pollander, wildlife biologist for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “With the variety of game available in West Virginia, there is something for everyone.”

Beyond providing an excellent reason to get together, a dinner of wild game is frequently healthier than many traditional proteins. For comparison, a three-ounce serving of venison packs 102 calories, 19.5 grams of protein and 2.06 grams of fat, according to the Cornell University Cooperative Extension, while a three-ounce serving of lean ground beef has 114 calories, 15.41 grams of protein and 5.36 grams of fat.

Hunters and their families are not the only West Virginians who benefit from the state’s nutritious wild game. The WVDNR-sponsored Hunters Helping the Hungry Program processes deer for families and individuals in need. Since 1992, when the program began, 28,145 deer and 1,070,504 pounds of venison have been donated. In 2021, there were 579 deer donated to the program, which provided 23,807 pounds of venison to those in need.

Meat processors interested in becoming part of the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program and those who wish to make a cash donation should contact the WVDNR’s District 3 office at 304-924-6211.

For more information about the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program or West Virginia’s hunting and trapping regulations, visit WVdnr.gov or consult the 2022-2023 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, which is available online and at all WVDNR district offices and license agents.

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