Starting this weekend, on Saturday Sept, 15, deer hunters will hit the woods with their bows and arrows to mark the start of archery season in Missouri. With deer so plentiful around here, there is always more meat than a family can eat. Again this year, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri are encouraging hunters to share the harvest.

Last year, Missouri hunters donated 289,292 pounds of deer meet through the Share the Harvest program. You simply take your deer to an approved meat processor and tell them how much meat you'd like to donate. The processor will package the meat, which will be picked up by local organizations and taken to charities for distribution.

In Marion County, the Country Butcher Shop in Palmyra and Walnut Hill Farms in Philadelphia are participating processors. Grant money will cover part or all of the processing fee until those funds run out. At that point the hunters will be responsible for the processing cost.

Share the Harvest runs throughout bow and firearm deer seasons in Missouri.