Hamilton County hunters can feed the hungry

Tennessee's muzzleloader hunting season for deer opens Saturday (Nov. 3). This year there are three processors in Hamilton County taking part in the 'Hunters for the Hungry' program, where hunters can donate their venison to the needy. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program is in full swing for the 2018 deer season. More than 80 processors throughout the state are now accepting donations of whole deer to help feed local families in need. In Hamilton County, that includes Deermaster, Don's Meat Shop, and Middle Valley Deer Processing. Contact information and a full list of processors is available here.

The 2018 muzzleloader/archery season for deer opens in Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 3 and continues through Friday, Nov. 16 in all of Tennessee’s deer hunting units. Besides the annual bag limit of two bucks, hunters are allowed to take at least one doe per day (two in Unit A & B, three in Unit L).

If they wish, hunters can donate their harvest deer, in whole or in part. Currently, all participating processors in the state are funded, meaning there is no cost to hunters to donate their venison. When deer donations surpass funding, hunters may pay a reduced, $50 processing fee directly to the processor to cover processing costs or redeem Deer Coins purchased from Tennessee Wildlife Federation here.

In the past 20 years Hunters for the Hungry has provided more than 6.5 million meals to the hungriest Tennesseans. As a thank you for those years of support, hunters will be entered in a drawing for each whole deer they donate to win one of four made-in-Tennessee muzzleloaders by Knight Rifles. More information, including alternate ways to enter, can be found here.

“This is a really exciting year. We’ve had multiple record-breaking years recently and we’re adding more processors and counties to our program,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “Even with the tough season for hunters last year, we still saw incredible giving. This program works because of Tennessee’s volunteer spirit in our hunters and processors. Without them, there would be fewer full bellies this time of year.”

For the exact boundaries of the different deer hunting units, along with other rules and regulations hunters should refer to the 2018-19 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide.

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