As hunting season kicks into high gear and with November designated National Wild Game Meat Donation Month, the Maine Hunters for the Hungry Program (H4H) encourages hunters, landowners and meat processors to contribute to the cause of alleviating hunger across the state.

Administered by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry in collaboration with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine H4H’s mission is to procure wild game meat for distribution to hunger relief organizations statewide.

The program supplies lean, high-protein meats to food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

Hunters can drop off their field-dressed animal harvest at a qualified H4H processor. Hunters decide how much meat they want to donate, covering the processing fee for the portion they keep. Maine H4H funds the remaining meat. The processor and the program then coordinate with local hunger relief organizations to facilitate the meat donation.

H4H exclusively accepts fresh ground bear, deer and moose meat from pre-approved processors. The program doesn’t cover value-added services or products, such as spices, pork fat, capping fees, antlers, plastic bags, or ties used for meat wrapping. However, individual pantries may consider direct donations from hunters on a case-by-case basis.

Given the availability of extra antlerless deer permits this year, Maine hunters are encouraged to contribute their harvest after ensuring their freezers are adequately stocked from their successful hunts earlier in the season. Those with depredation permits for their land and crops also are encouraged to explore the option of donating their harvest by consulting with a local game warden.

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