[youtube_sc url=”https://youtu.be/C_O1V2nRjKQ” width=”590″ modestbranding=”1″ autohide=”1″ fs=”1″ border=”1″ hd=”1″]
Legislation has been introduced in the General Assembly directing the North Carolina Commission of Public Health to establish rules governing plants which accept charitable donations from hunters of venison to feed the hungry in North Carolina.
Every year, hunters harvest deer from an over-populated habitats, meat processors produce high-protein deer burgers, and food distribution networks send the meat to people in need at local food banks, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, churches and civic groups. In America, the average annual deer harvest provides more than 400 million pounds of quality meat, totaling 1.6 billion meals every year.1
In North Carolina, the white-tailed deer population has grown to more than 1.3 million. Crop damage, disease, deer-vehicle collisions, and loss of wildlife habitats result when deer exceed recommended numbers. Harvesting up to third of the white-tailed deer each year is recommended by many wildlife professionals to maintain balance and the health of the herd. Hunting is the only cost-effective method of controlling and maintaining a stable deer population.
If hunters achieve that goal and then donate only 10 percent of their deer harvest, more than 1.7 million pounds of high quality meat — as many as 7 million meals — would be distributed in North Carolina annually to those who need it.2
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, sportsmen are the largest contributors to conservation. Hunters and anglers provide more than 75% of the annual funds of the 50 state conservation agencies.
Individuals who organize to feed the hungry are not prohibited from receiving donations of game killed by hunters in North Carolina. State law says that an individual may accept the gift of wildlife lawfully taken within North Carolina, and the recipient must record the name, address and license number of the hunter.
North Carolina Hunters for the Hungry tells us how to donate deer:
- All deer donated must be harvested and reported in accordance with the appropriate rules and regulations of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
- Deer must be delivered to a North Carolina Hunters for the Hungry (NCHFTH) designated processing facility, with inspection approval from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
- Deer must be received by processors, in an acceptable condition.
- A “donor card” must be completed to authorize the processor to possess the deer and identify the hunter.*
- Deer delivered to most processors must be cleaned and dressed, including removal of hide and hooves before they can be accepted by the processor. Some processors can accept whole deer and will provide skinning and dressing services. Please contact the processor prior to delivery to determine the requirements for the specific facility.
- Hunters may donate whole, half or part of a deer to the program. The venison is ground into “burger” for ease of cooking. Packages of frozen venison are distributed to the shelters, soup kitchens and other agencies.
- NCHFTH will reimburse program participation processors at an agreed upon rate for their labor, services and supplies. NCHFTH uses tax deductible financial donations provided by corporations, organizations, and individuals to reimburse meat processors for their expense of producing the deer burger
According to Dick Hamilton, President of NCHFTH, “the donor card documents the donation of deer to a Hunters for the Hungry processor and provides a paper trail for the donor and the processor in case any question about a donated deer comes up. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission has reviewed the NCHFTH documentation program and given approval to suit their requirements. The organizations that picks up the frozen, processed venison and distribute it to the final consumers, leave a receipt with our processors to verify where the venison went and the purpose. There is no limit on the amount of venison an organization can receive and distribute. However, NCHFTH does try to spread out the venison over as wide an area as possible.”
In other Cervidae-related news, legislation was signed into law last month making the possession and sale of deer skin legal in North Carolina. House Bill 601 states:
“The skin of deer lawfully taken by hunting may be possessed, transported, bought, or sold, subject to tagging and reporting requirements and any season limits set by the Wildlife Resources Commission.”
You can find out more about Hunting in North Carolina at the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s website.