With moose hunting season in full swing, Governor Paul LePage is urging hunters in Maine to consider donating all or part of their harvest to feed families in need, in support of the Hunters for the Hungry Program.

The popular program provides a means for Maine hunters to donate harvested game to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and households with a medical need.

Don Christner, Flickr

Governor LePage said, "The Hunters for the Hungry Program is a way that Maine hunters can pursue a sport they love and help their neighbors at the same time. The donation of one moose can provide 200 to 500 pounds of meat to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and households across the state. The fact that this program has grown so steadily is both a testament to the need and the generosity of Mainers."

Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb noted that since its establishment in 1996, the Hunters for the Hungry Program has provided thousands of nutritious meals to people across the state.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry distributes many types of donations to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and households with a medical need. The Hunters for the Hungry Program is part of the Department's Emergency Food Assistance Program. It is done in cooperation with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's wardens, Maine State Troopers and hunters, are all working towards a common goal of helping fellow Mainers.

The program accepts bear, deer and moose donations. Road kill donations are also accepted, provided the meat is not damaged.

Hunters do not pay for the processing of donated meat. Meat processing costs are paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry or the charity that receives the food.

Hunters choosing to keep their game can still donate a few pounds to the program. Meat processors that are interested in getting involved with the program and learning how it works should call 207-287-7513.

For more information, to donate, or to get connected to a Hunters for the Hungry participating meat processor call toll free, 1-888-4DEERME (1-888-433-3763) or look them up on Facebook.