NASHVILLE – Hunters for the Hungry program is now open for the 2019 deer season. Early this season, more than 80 deer processors throughout the state are accepting donations of deer to feed Tennessee families in need.
To see processors currently participating, visit tnwf.org/processors.
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.
One deer provides as many as 168 meals. Over the last two decades, Hunters for the Hungry has provided more than 7 million meals to hungry Tennesseans.
“Last season was our second-best year in history and we’re excited to continue that good work in 2019,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. ”Every time a hunter donates a deer, they’re directly impacting the lives of Tennesseans in their area.”
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.
In partnership with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), Hunters for the Hungry will test every deer donated within Unit CWD (Chronic Waiting 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 Unit CWD 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.