AUGUSTA — Maine game hunters are being asked to share at least some of their moose, deer and bear meat with the state’s shelters, pantries and soup kitchens.

Hunters have been generous in the past. State officials say Maine’s Hunters for the Hungry program has grown steadily since it was founded in 1996, and nearly 3,000 pounds of meat were donated last year alone. One deer can provide meat for 100 meals.

Maine game wardens are on the front line in receiving donations. The food also comes in from game processors.

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry coordinates with processors to get food into the hands of local hunger relief agencies or arrange storage in Augusta for future distribution.

The program cannot accept donations of wild fowl or game birds.

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