FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia already has a resource that can help fight hunger in the state—healthy game meat.

According to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR), a serving of venison, or deer meat, has less than half the fat of a serving of beef as well as fewer calories and more protein.

3 oz serving of venison

  • 102 calories
  • 19.5 grams of protein
  • 2.06 grams of fat

3 oz serving of lean ground beer

  • 114 calories
  • 15.41 grams of protein
  • 5.36 grams of fat

In 2021, more than 107,000 deer were harvested in West Virginia; at about 60 pounds per deer, that’s more than 6,000,000 pounds of meat. That’s not even counting the more than 10,000 turkeys, almost 3,000 bears and countless other small game that were harvested last year.

“Hunting is a great reason to get into the woods, enjoy our beautiful state and put healthy protein in the freezer,” said DNR wildlife biologist Kaylee Pollander.

But if you like to hunt more than you like to eat—or more than you have freezer space for— donating your meat can make a difference for hungry West Virginians. Hunters Helping the Hungry allows hunters to donate full deer to food banks in the state. To participate, hunters just drop off their deer a participating meat processor who will butcher the harvest, and it will be distributed to a network of 600 food pantries and centers across the state.

In north central West Virginia, processing places include:

  • Barbour County – B & L Beef in Belington
  • Marion County – Hill Country Meats in Fairmont
  • Preston County – Art’s Commercial and Custom Meat Packing in Tunnelton
  • Taylor County – D & K Custom Cutting in Flemington
  • Lewis County – Syrews Custom Butchering in Weston
  • Randolph County – Teet’s Meat Packing in Elkins

For more information on Hunter Helping the Hungry and a full list of drop-off locations and details, click here. Monetary donations to the program can be mailed to Hunters Helping the Hungry, WV Division of Natural Resources, 163 Wildlife Road in French Creek, WV 26218.