Wild game provides a low-fat, high-protein alternative to beef or other commercial meats, says a wildlife biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
Its abundance in West Virginia also provides an opportunity for many families to fill their freezers with highly nutritious wild game.
"Many West Virginians incorporate venison, wild turkey and other wild game into their diets on a regular basis," says biologist Tyler Evans.
"Wild game that is legally harvested during one of West Virginia's hunting seasons provides a healthy source of protein for many West Virginians."
For example, white-tailed deer (venison) contains fewer calories and approximately five times less fat than the equivalent serving of beef, Evans says.
Hunters and their families are not the only West Virginians who benefit from the state's abundant supply: needy families and individuals in the Mountain State also benefited through the division-sponsored Hunters Helping the Hungry program.
Since its inception in 1992, the programs has provided approximately 979,549 pounds of donated venison to participants.
In 2017 alone, 554 deer (19,702 pounds of nutritious venison) were donated to the HHH program and contributed to approximately 26,269 family-style meals, according to a release from the division.
For more information about the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program, please visit the DNR website at Hunters Helping the Hungry or call the division's district office in French Creek at 304-924-6211.