(KMOV.com) -- This weekend rifle hunting season begins in Missouri.
Most residents don’t know the annual tradition of deer hunting actually helps their pocketbooks.
News 4 went to the G & W Sausage Company in south St. Louis to find out how rifle season impacts the store’s profits.
Workers here say the 11-day season will generate a few hundred thousand dollars in a short time.
More importantly, the family owned business is part of the statewide Share the Harvest program.
It’s an initiative that gives hunters an opportunity to donate their deer meat to those in need.
“There’s a lot of food pantries that just get canned goods, so bringing this,” said G & W owner Bob Wanninger. “We actually grind up the deer meet for them, process it, freeze it so they get a little more protein in their meals.”
State conservation workers say during 2012 more than 310,000 pounds of venison went to Missouri food pantries and homeless shelters.
Those state officials also say every year, deer hunters spend $690 million dollars in Missouri.