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MDC asks deer hunters to Share the Harvest and follow CWD regulations

Provided by MDC

Donated deer meat goes to local food banks and food pantries to help feed hungry Missourians.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages deer hunters to share their harvests to help feed hungry Missourians. MDC also reminds deer hunters to have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and follow related regulations.

Missouri’s deer season opened with archery hunting on Sept. 15 and runs through the close of the second archery portion on Jan. 15 with other hunting portions during this time. Get more on deer season portions and dates at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer.

Share the Harvest

MDC encourages deer hunters to share their harvests by donating surplus venison to the Share the Harvest program to help feed hungry Missourians. The donated deer meat goes to local food banks and food pantries to help feed hungry Missourians all around the state. To get Share the Harvest venison, contact local food banks or food pantries.

Donating is easy. Simply take harvested deer to an approved meat processor and let the processor know how much venison to donate. Meat-processing fees are covered entirely or in part by numerous local sponsors, along with statewide sponsors.

The program is administered by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and MDC and has provided nearly 5 million pounds of lean, healthy venison to help feed hungry Missourians since it was started in 1992.

The National Institutes of Health state that children need protein in their diets for proper growth and development, and adults need it to maintain good health. Yet many Missourians can’t afford or can’t get to good sources of protein. Through Share the Harvest, Missouri hunters can help provide those in need with high-quality protein in the form of naturally lean, locally harvested deer meat.

Deer harvested from CWD Management Zone counties may only be donated to Share the Harvest if they are tested for CWD. Donations must go to a meat processor participating in the Share the Harvest CWD Testing Program. Deer harvested outside of the CWD Management Zone do not need to be tested for donation to Share the Harvest and may be taken to any Share the Harvest processor.

For more information on Share the Harvest, visit MDC online at mdc.mo.gov/share.

Follow CWD Regulations

CWD is a deadly, infectious disease in deer and other members of the deer family (cervids) that eventually kills all animals it infects. There is no vaccine or cure. CWD is in Missouri and MDC continues its efforts to limit the spread of CWD by finding new cases as early as possible and managing the disease to slow its spread to more deer in more areas.

MDC’s CWD Management Zone consists of counties where or near where CWD has been found. MDC has included 14 new counties as part of the CWD Management Zone this year: Bollinger, Caldwell, Carroll, Clay, Clinton, Dallas, Grundy, Jasper, Livingston, Madison, Montgomery, Pemiscot, Ray, and Schuyler.

As with all counties in the CWD Management Zone, grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable products used to attract deer are prohibited year-round. Hunters must also follow carcass transportation regulations. The antler-point restriction has also been removed from Caldwell, Carroll, Clinton, Grundy, Livingston, Montgomery, Ray, and Schuyler counties.

Hunters who harvest deer in select CWD Management Zone counties during Nov. 11-12 must take the deer (or its head) on the day of harvest to a mandatory CWD sampling station.

Hunters must also follow carcass-movement restrictions when bringing parts of harvested deer and other cervids into Missouri from another state. Learn more about CWD and related regulations and restrictions online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.

CWD Sampling and Testing All Season

As part of its efforts to find cases of CWD early and help slow its spread, MDC is again offering free voluntary CWD sampling and testing of harvested deer during the entire deer season at select locations throughout the state, including some MDC offices and participating taxidermists and meat processors.

MDC also offers self-service freezer drop-off locations within the CWD Management Zone for hunters to deposit harvested deer heads to have tested for CWD. Instructions, packing supplies, and information tags are available at the sites. Get more information on voluntary sampling and drop-off locations online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.

Hunters can get their CWD test results for free online at mdc.mo.gov/cwdResults. Results are usually available within four weeks or less from the time of sampling.

Get More Information

Get more information on deer hunting in Missouri from MDC online at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer and from MDC’s 2023 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available online and where permits are sold.

Buy Missouri hunting permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at mdc.mo.gov/permits or through MDC’s free mobile app, MO Hunting, available for download through Google Play or the App Store.


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