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Hunters donate game to local food banks

Jackson County_Hunters are fighting hunger by helping to fill the stomachs of those in need.  The organization is called "Hunters Against Hunger."  Hunters shoot game, but instead of keeping it, they donate it to local food processors who - in turn - donate the processed food to local food banks.  It's a partnership between the hunters, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife, local food processors, and the food banks.

Donations of deer are pouring in a the Quartz View Processing Plant in Jackson County.  Hunters bring in their game, pay a $10 processing  fee, and the processing plant distributes the game to charitable organizations.  Plant Manager J. Paul Everhart says it's a good feeling to help others.  "We just think it's good for the local community," he said.  "There are people in Oklahoma that are hungry looking for food - we try and give back."

The State of Oklahoma keeps track of who has donated what, and hunters check their game in with one of many check in points all over the state.  Ricky Cargill manages a check in point in Blair, and says that he has checked in 538 different donations this year.  "I think its a good deal where they donate them," he said.  "That way they don't go to waste they go to a good cause."

Cargill says the hunters don't care about recognition, they want only to help.  "I can give you a sticker saying you donated for $10," he said.  "But people aren't really interested in that, they just want to give it to the people in most cases."  Cargill says the hunters turn their charitable giving into a healthy competition.  "They just hope theirs is bigger than their friends'."

Everhart says they have gotten 3,500 pounds of venison this year.  Last year he says that they ended up taking three truckloads to local food banks.  Donations began in October and are expected to last until the middle of January.

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