With deer season in full swing and the holidays quickly approaching, Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program is accepting donations in Williamson County to help feed local families in need. Statewide, more than 75 processors are collecting donations to feed fellow Tennesseans.
In Williamson County, that includes Vaught’s Deer Processing, Flowers' Deer Processing and Williams Meat Processing. Contact information and a full list of processors is available at tnwf.org/processors.
Thanks to the generosity of hunters, Hunters for the Hungry has provided more than 7 million meals of healthy, lean protein to hungry Tennesseans. This is important all hunting season long but takes on special meaning during this time of year.
“Hunters for the Hungry had its second-best year in 2018, providing more than 581,000 meals to families in need,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “We are looking to keep that momentum going during the holidays and into the New Year. Williamson County hunters can play a big part.”
When hunters harvest a deer, they can donate it — in part or whole — to the program at a participating processor. The deer is processed, and the venison is delivered to local hunger relief organizations. One deer provides as many as 168 meals.
In an abundance of caution, Hunters for the Hungry is partnering with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to test every deer donated within Unit CWD for the disease. Hunters for the Hungry will also test many of the donations made outside Unit CWD in Region 1.
There is no evidence CWD is transmitted to humans, but the CDC still recommends against eating CWD-positive meat. So, all donations that test positive for CWD will be discarded.
Only whole deer donations will be accepted in Region 1, which includes Unit CWD. Pound or Pack donations, which allow hunters to give a portion of their harvest, will continue to be accepted in the rest of the state.
Currently, hunters can drop off a whole deer donation at no cost to them. Each year, Hunters for the Hungry covers tens of thousands of dollars in processing fees for donations. If deer donations surpass available funding for this season, hunters can pay a reduced, $50 processing fee or redeem a Deer Coin.
For more information about Hunters for the Hungry or to purchase a Deer Coin, visit tnwf.org/HuntersForTheHungry.