With deer season in full swing in the southeast, this post seems not only appropriate, but necessary.
According to the Alabama Hunters Helping the Hungry program website:
“The Hunters Helping the Hungry program provides a way that Alabama hunters can give thousands of pounds of ground venison to needy families and individuals in the state. Since the program’s beginning in 1999, approximately 450,000 pounds of ground venison have been donated to Alabama Food Banks in the state.”
I’m not someone who would call myself a “hunter.” Although, I have hunted deer on a few occasions, I’m just not an active participant. I guess I’m not the type that gets a thrill from the hunt, or is excited by the thought of the kill. But, that being said, I am by no means against hunting. I’m not jaded to the point where I don’t realize that the wonderful pork tenderloin laying on my cutting board came from somewhere. Especially since, while I was growing up, I was expected to learn how to help clean game animals.
That being said, I do have a problem with one form of hunting, and one type of hunter. I don’t like trophy hunting, and I don’t like hunters who kill needlessly. I feel, in doing these things, you disrespect the animal and the purpose of the hunt.
So I see a program like Hunters Helping the Hungry as a win-win situation for everyone. The program allows hunters to take a fresh, unwanted kill (field dressed) to a participating local processor, and donate it to the food bank without having to pay a processing charge. The processor does all the work, finishing an wrapping the meat, and then delivering it to the food bank drop-off point. They’re paid $1 per pound for their trouble and time by the Alabama State Department of Conservation. In turn, fresh, clean, healthy venison is delivered to needy families, and the out-of pocket expense for taxpayers is almost non-existent.
To give you an idea of how much meat: A 200lb mature buck will render around 30% of it’s body weight to meat. So, if you do some quick math, that’s 60lbs of fresh venison that the state’s only paying $60 for. I defy you to find a fresh, non-farmed, sustainable meat source at $1 a pound anywhere else. Especially one that allows the trophy hunter to drop off the part of the deer they DON’T want, and feed the hungry. In my humble opinion, redeeming themselves from killing needlessly, to killing for necessity.
I bet the processors will even let you keep the antlers.
See, I told you it was a win-win for everyone.
If you live outside the state of Alabama, check with your states’ Department of Conservation. Many others have very similar programs.