This fall is the fourth year of a very successful Hunters for the Hungry program sponsored by Lanier Branch Quality Deer Management Association and Southern Heritage Land Company .
For fall 2009, all deer hunters can donate deer to the program any day during the entire bow and gun seasons which began Sept. 12 and run straight through Jan. 1. This is only the second year that a full season of donations has been done in this area.
If your freezer is full or you harvest extra deer that you can field dress and share with others, we can’t think of anything that fits together better than a Quality Deer Management program and a Hunters for the Hungry program.
Called “killing two deer with one stone,” it is fulfilling the need to harvest does (or bucks) to control the deer herd (it’s much better than letting deer/car collisions or disease do the job).
This is combined with a fine humanitarian way of utilizing the extra high-quality ground venison. This meat contains only five grams of fat (about the same as turkey or chicken), 22 percent protein, 62 grams of cholesterol (lower than turkey) and best of all, it is guaranteed chemical free.
Many cardiologists recommend venison as part of a healthy diet to their heart patients. Our recipients use the ground meat in hamburgers, hamburger helper, spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, chili, tacos, homemade soups and anything else where it substitutes for ground beef.
Lanier QDMA started our local program in fall 2006 but actually made our first donation of frozen ground venison in Dec. 2005, delivering 500 lbs of venison purchased from Hicks Deer Cooler in Crawford to Good News at Noon.
We discovered that a home spun HFH program was not difficult, thanks to one of our corporate sponsors Southern Heritage Land Company.
When we announced our plans at the 2006 banquet, Charlie Lathem and Stan Bennett, brokers at SHLC, approached us shortly afterward and said they had been considering doing an HFH program for years but just could not get it going. They were excited to have the opportunity to partner with our branch and its local officers.
SHLC wrote us a $1,000 check (for deer processing fees) to kick off the program and challenged all other corporate sponsors from our banquet to match their donation or contribute $500 or $100 or whatever they could. Then they went out and bought a brand new chest freezer to help temporarily store meat for the HFH program.
Meanwhile, we worked out a deal with Souther’s Deer Cooler at 5530 Thompson Bridge Road in Murrayville to process field dressed deer into ground venison in two-pound packs.
They will also process quartered deer skinned and brought in a cooler as well as individual portions of deer including shoulders and hindquarters donated to HFH at Souther’s cooler.
Ground rules are simple: Please no nasty carcasses! Please donate deer of a quality that you would feed to your own family.
If you are not donating a whole deer, consider donating a hindquarter. Properly field dress all deer and deliver them promptly to the processor. Quartered on ice in a cooler is even better. During warm weather, refrigerate or place carcass on ice. Badly shot-up and road-killed deer will be refused.
Last year’s banquet proceeds and another donation from SHLC paid for processing of 64 deer totaling 2,561 pounds of ground venison which was donated to 12 worthy local charities, producing a four-year grand total of 7,862 pounds.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is just barely short of four tons of high protein, low fat venison.
Kent Kammermeyer is a certified wildlife biologist. His column appears monthly.