Hunters Asked to Donate Their Deer to Feed Tennesseans in Need During COVID-19

donated venison

Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program is now accepting deer donations for the 2020 deer season. More than 60 deer processors across the state are accepting donations of deer to feed Tennessee families in need.

To see processors currently participating, visit tnwf.org/processors.

“Because of COVID-19, more Tennesseans than ever are having to rely on hunger relief organizations to help feed their families,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “That’s why we want to encourage even more hunters to donate their harvest this season. Each time they donate a deer, they’re providing 168 meals to our neighbors who need it most.”

When hunters harvest a deer, they may donate it at a participating processor. The venison is processed and then provided to community food banks or soup kitchens.

Since the program began, Hunters for the Hungry has provided more than 7.6 million meals to hungry Tennesseans.

Right now, 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.

In partnership with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), Hunters for the Hungry will test every deer donated within Unit CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) for the disease. Hunters for the Hungry will also test many of the donations made outside Unit CWD in Region 1.

Only whole deer donations will be accepted in Region 1 and the counties that border it. 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.

In an abundance of caution, Hunters for the Hungry will discard all donations that test positive for CWD. There is no evidence CWD is transmitted to humans but the CDC still recommends against eating CWD-positive meat.

For more information about Hunters for the Hungry or to purchase a Deer Coin, visit tnwf.org/HuntersForTheHungry.

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