Food pantries across the state will have plenty of venison on hand for the next year, after deer hunters donated 11,485 deer to a program that distributes the meat to help feed the hungry. Laurie Fike with the Department of Natural Resources says the deer will result 533,000 pounds of venison being made available statewide.
Fike says the increase is largely due to earn-a-buck units across the state, which required hunters to shoot an antlerless deer before taking a buck. She says that helped to shatter the previous record set in 2004, which was nearly 1,500 deer lower.
Fike believes the new record will set the stage for years to come, and hopes it encourages more hunters to donate. Volunteers help to distribute the venison to food pantries statewide.