Archive for Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Deer hunters help feed the hungry across Kansas

January 22, 2008


How to help

To make a contribution to the Kansas chapter call Tony DeRossett at (913) 724-1189 or e-mail him at

— Bob Bergeson is part of a unique food chain.

It is a chain that starts with a resource that roams the state's fields and timbers and includes stops at a number of local meat processing plants and social service agencies before ending up on the tables of low-income families.

Every year, Bergeson donates two of the hunted deer he takes from sparsely populated western Lenexa to the agency Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

"With this program, everybody wins," the Overland Park bow hunter said. "The landowner wins because hunting reduces the herds that do considerable damage to crops. The hunter wins. In my case, I get to be in the great outdoors doing something I greatly enjoy. And the hungry win because, from everything I've read, venison is an extremely healthy source of protein."

Working with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, Bergeson delivers his deer to Steve's Meat Market in De Soto, where it is processed at a discounted rate of $75 per deer. Mitch Prudden, co-owner of the family-owned plant, said deer donated to the program were processed and ground and then made available to local social service agencies.

"The hunter doesn't have to pay for anything," Prudden said. "That's good, and they get a charitable donation they can write off on their taxes."

This year, De Soto Multi-Service Center director Jodi Hitchcock has filled her food pantry's freezer with venison from nine deer processed at Steve's Meat Market and delivered meat from 16 other donated deer to Olathe.

"We've gone through quite a bit since we got the nine deer here in mid-December," said Hitchcock, who estimated the venison had been distributed to more than 50 local families.

That was what Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry founder Rick Wilson envisioned when he conceived his ministry in 1997 after witnessing a desperate Virginia single mother poach deer to feed her family, said the director of the organization's Kansas chapter, Tony DeRossett of Tonganoxie.

Deer donated to the program produced an average of 50 pounds of ground venison, and the 800 deer donated statewide this season would produce 160,000 servings at dinner tables around the state, DeRossett said.

That feeds a lot of hungry Kansans, but the program has another benefit, DeRossett said. "There were roughly 10,000 vehicle-deer accidents in the state," he said. "We try to concentrate our efforts in the most accident-prone areas, working with the state. Those have dropped down."

DeRossett said he and "four or five other dedicated" volunteers have worked to grow the Kansas chapter since its founding in 2001, when 180 deer were donated. It now gets donated deer from about 70 of the state's 105 counties, he said.

What limits the amount of venison reaching qualifying low-income families is the $75 processing fee paid to the program's 48 participating locker plants. That forces him to focus much of his efforts on fundraising, DeRossett said.

"That's what causes me the most stress," he said. "We run out of funds each year.

De Soto Explorer editor Elvyn Jones can be reached at (785)542-2747.


JSpizias 10 years ago

I took a nice buck during the Missouri season and delivered it to Bichelmeyer's Meats in Kansas City, Kansas. They charged me only a $20 fee for skinning and then processed the meat for distribution to a program to feed the hungry in the KC area.

staff04 10 years ago

You mean, Marion, that you're upset that agnostick was the first to compliment a neat program?

salad 10 years ago

Well if we aren't gonna have wolves and mountain lions around to keep the deers in check, then hunters gotta take up the slack. If by "liberal" you mean people who are against hunting, they're probably staying quiet because those "liberal" are usually avid gardeners, and deer are WMD's for gardens. I'm not afraid to show my liberal bias against gun hunting though. A REAL hunter uses a bow and arrow (much more humane and safe), a knife, a spear, or his/her bare hands (wolverine-style)! Guns are for those whose skill is...lacking.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years ago

Salad knows what a REAL hunter is. Why does that sound so silly?~)

salad 10 years ago

"Salad knows what a REAL hunter is."


salad 10 years ago

Ridgerunner....blah, blah, blah...look how great I am, and SOOOOO knowledgeable!!! Unless you tag the deer with a head shot or right through the pump, your deer is gonna run FURTHER after you shoot it with your big gun, because the huge noise you just made freaked it out and made it panic. Bow hunting makes almost no noise, so I've had the argumnet made that the deer feels something hit it and runs for a while, then thinks, "hey, I'm feeling a little tired now, so I'll sit down....and go to sleep....clunk." It is, however, a highly subjective argument, so you are hardly in a position to speak authoritatively. Whose to say which is more humane. I think bow is more humane, and your entire argument is based on a shot I doubt you can make. Safer public maybe???? What do you think happens to that high powered round when you miss buddy?!?! It doesn't just vanish ya know. Hope no one is down range where you can't see em.... All the firearms education in the world won't help when you miss. Bow is better.

Paul R Getto 10 years ago

Good idea and a good use of the game for those who don't want to eat all of it.

salad 10 years ago

Ridgerunner, YOU sound like a puffed up self-important blow-hard, "How dare you question my superior information!!!!'. Typical man-style argument; trying to out-authority the other person. I TOTALLY question both your authority on the subject and any expertise you might have with any firearm. BTW, I noticed you had no comeback other than to blather on about yourself......snore. I have to admitt that Agnostick does make a good case for firearms; had Cheney used a bow, he probably would have missed the lawyer. Oh, and I also succeeded in highjacking this thread! : ) Bow is still better, safer, and more humane.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years ago

salad? People with more experience and information provide better answers. It's not "man-style" argument or "puffed up" "blather". You are rude. I guess if you measure success by your ability to hijack, then you can pretend you are a "winner" in the short term. Do you really think deer are stressed by the sound of a gun being fired at 100 or 200 yards? Are they more frightened by that than they are of a bow string at 30 yards? Do you think they reason that they should fear for their lives in one case but not the other? Do you think they judge that they should have more fear, the louder the noise? Obviously, you are a deer whisperer with the mentality of a deer. Don't gambol about in the street, dear!~)

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years ago

Guns are a better choice for hunting.

Think about it: What if Dick Cheney had been hunting quail with a bow & arrow that weekend? How might've things been different for poor ol' Harry Whittington?

Harry would have ended-up looking like Steve Martin during his "wild and crazy guy" days.

J Good Good 10 years ago

I grew up in big bow hunting country and I can say that with a gun, the animal is MUCH less likely to drag itself off into the woods slowly bleeding to death (while the bow hunter apparently gives up on tracking it) to be ripped apart by coyotes with the arrow still sticking out of it.

Bows may seem more sporting, but I vote guns are more humane.

People seem to forget that there are still plenty of people who hunt to feed their families in this day and age. I am glad to see hunters share their bounty.

beatrice 10 years ago

But what about the hungry vegetarians and vegans? Must a person be a carnivore to get fed in Kansas? How cruel!

Yes, I'm kidding. This seems like a great idea to me, and a win-win all the way around. I may have no desire to ever go hunting myself, but I can recognize a good program when I see it.

Now, to show my complete ignorance of hunting, but are deer hunting licenses set up on a lottery basis, or is anyone who applies given one? If it is a lottery, then the people who donate should automatically be granted a lincense if they apply the following year. If not, then nevermind, just keep up the good work.

riverdrifter 10 years ago

The deer never hears the shot until it's waay to late to do anything about it. Two deer fell to my old .280 Rem this year, both pole-axed in their tracks. Agno is correct, rifles are the humane way. Over the years I've finished 2 deer with arrows sticking out of them, did not tag and left them for the coyotes as the meat would be unfit. I do not hold anything against bow hunters, however, and have many friends who bow hunt. Bea, without pouring over the regs, I think about the only tag lotteries left are in the western end of the state, largely for mulies. And to think when I was a kid I can remember my dad coming in from work: "I saw a deer today!" ...

Kaw Pickinton 10 years ago

"Over the years I've finished 2 deer with arrows sticking out of them, did not tag and left them for the coyotes"

KDWP loves it when people admit to stuff like this in public.

riverdrifter 10 years ago

kawryan: It is not required that such be tagged. You know nothing.

hornhunter 10 years ago

This would be a great way to get some more youth back in to the hunt and give to others in need.

Rifles are the way to go, like riverdrifter , I have finished off bow hunters deer, from bad placed shots.

Bea, But what about the hungry vegetarians and vegans? These folks can chew on the little round pellets that deer produce, it probably has some protein value in them, but they will have to go into the feilds and get them on their own.

Kaw Pickinton 10 years ago

riverdrifter: "It is not required that such be tagged. You know nothing."

I don't, but I still get 4 deer in KS and 2 in MO ever year!

I do agree w/ everything else you said, and after re-reading your 1st post I realize you took down 2 deer that had an arrow ALREADY in them. My bad.

But still would that not fall under wanton waste? And where in the regulations does it say that's okay? Not arguing with you, just curious and i've never heard that.

TheBurf 10 years ago

I have to give some props to the hippies. I thought they'd be all over this one. I think we should embrace this new found friendship and get together, smoke some drugs and share some stock picks.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years ago

Ag would peg the meter perhaps...if you hadn't already broken it!~)

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