As sportsmen and those of us who cherish the outdoor lifestyle, it is our responsibility to give back where we can. It can be sharing the experience of hunting with someone brand new to the sport, donating time to a conservation effort or simply being good stewards of our state’s great natural resources.
Also as hunters, it is a long tradition of ours to share the harvest. It has been the role of the hunter since the beginning of time. We hunt and bring back food. One of the greatest rewards for hunters is being able to give the gift of nature’s abundant bounty.
Every fall, I write about sharing the harvest with others through the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program in hopes that maybe, just maybe, someone in need may get help. I also write about it because it shows our state’s hunters sharing nature’s bounties by replacing something others in need do not have — food.
The Hunters Helping the Hungry program is fueled by generous hunters donating deer to the program, providing thousands of pounds of venison to needy families across the state. The HHH program allows hunters to donate legally harvested deer to certified processors so the meat can be distributed to a network of more than 550 local soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, senior centers, missions, churches and community centers around the state.
Financial support for the program comes from concerned individuals, businesses, conservation organizations, foundations and churches. Our DNR is restricted from using sportsmen’s license dollars to fund the program. Everyone knows that running any program requires money and nothing is cheap nowadays.
So when this little bit of news came across my desk, I smiled. The Mountaineer Food Bank received a $50,000 donation from 2015 Governor’s One Shot Deer Hunt event for Hunters Helping the Hungry.
A total of more than a half-million dollars was raised over nine years. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, members of the Governor’s One Shot Committee and several state senators and delegates recently presented a check to the Mountaineer Food Bank, representing $50,000 raised during the ninth annual Governor’s One Shot Deer Hunt, held Oct. 23-25 at Stonewall Resort State Park. Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager, USAF, Ret., was the featured guest at the event. Donations received at the 2015 event brought the total amount raised to more than half-a-million dollars over the life of the event.
The money will go toward expenses associated with the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program (HHH), administered by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, to distribute venison to needy families across the state through the Mountaineer Food Bank. The check was presented Jan. 21, during a ceremony at the State Capitol in Charleston.
The Governor’s One Shot event is sponsored by WVDNR and the Governor’s One Shot Committee, which organizes the event each year. Officials with the Mountaineer Food Bank accepted the check with thanks to everyone who contributed to the Governor’s One Shot.
Private individuals and businesses donate money for the opportunity to participate in guided antlerless deer hunts on private property near Stonewall Resort State Park. The event wraps up with an auction and an award banquet. All venison from the hunt, along with profits from the sponsorships, goes to the Mountaineer Food Bank.
The HHH program has been highly successful since it began in 1992, providing more than a million family-style meals to the neediest of West Virginians.