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Michigan hunters donate extra deer meat to those in need

When they have extra, many west Michigan hunters are giving their surplus deer meat to charity. It adds up to thousands of donated meals.

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — A few days into the Michigan firearm deer season, and hunters are bringing their bucks to deer processing centers where they become steaks, roasts and ground meat.

Even if the hunters and their families and friends do not eat all or any of the meat, it won't go to waste.

Many hunters donate their surplus to charity.

“Lot of people like to hunt, but a lot of people don’t like venison,” explained Bob St. Arnold, a customer at Barb’s Deer Processing in Comstock Park. “So, they donate their meat and give it to the families that need it.”

Last year at Barb's Deer Processing owner Barb Haveman says they helped distribute nearly 2,000 pounds of donated deer meat through Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger. This year she says hunters are just as generous.

"It is just wonderful,” she said. “Our sportsmen are really wonderful, wonderful people. Men and women both.”

"I’m keeping the tenderloins for myself, but I like to donate the meat to help the people who can use that more than I can,” said hunter Steve Lown. “It makes me feel good to be able to help others.”

Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger is a non-profit organization operated by volunteer sportsmen and women. They say they have “assembled a network of processors and charities to help channel wild game donations into the hands of those in need." They say Michigan hunters provided about 100,000 donated deer meat meals last year.

“And what better food to give them than venison burger,” said hunter Matt Stoen. “Can’t get any better than that.”

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