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Yukon Share program accepting wild meat donations for Whitehorse Food Bank

This is the third year of the Yukon Share program, which accepts donations of moose meat and bison and distributes it to the Whitehorse Food Bank.

Meat is accepted at butcher shops in Whitehorse, program covers processing cost

Jim Welsh is the hunter education and outreach officer at Environment Yukon. (Steve Silva/CBC)

Hunters with excess game meat on their hands can donate it to the Whitehorse Food Bank through a program called Yukon Share.

This is the third year the program is accepting donations of bison and moose. 

Jim Welsh, hunter education and outreach officer with Environment Yukon, said between 20 and 30 hunters have donated to the program each year.

"Lots of people give maybe 10 per cent [of their harvest]," he said.

Welsh said they collected about 550 kilograms of meat last year, a slight increase on the inaugural year of the program in 2017. 

"It's been growing a little bit every season as community awareness grows," he said. 

Yukon Share is run by Environment Yukon, the Yukon Outfitters Association and the Yukon Fish and Game Association. 

Aline Halliday is the wildlife resource manager of the Yukon Fish and Game Association. (Steve Silva/CBC)

"I think it was started as a way to get families in the community that don't necessarily have the opportunity or the time to go hunt or the experience, to get them involved with eating wild game and taking advantage of the wild game in the Yukon," said Aline Halliday, wildlife resource manager with the Yukon Fish and Game Association.

"We're really lucky to have such great resources here." 

Game meat can be donated at three participating butcher shops in Whitehorse. The cost of processing the meat is covered by the program. 

The product is ground up and inspected before it's delivered to the food bank. 

"Any legally harvested game in the Yukon is welcome to be contributed to this program," Welsh said, adding the program has been approved by the territorial government's Environmental Health Services.

Yukon Share isn't the only group accepting wild meat in the territory. The Yukon Hospital Corporation also accepts donations. It prepares traditional food for Indigenous patients receiving hospital care in Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Dawson City.  

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