CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — If you are a Tennessee deer hunter or if you are Facebook friends with any Tennessee deer hunters, you may already know this: Deer season opened (for bowhunters only) nearly two weeks ago. That means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But one thing it means is more food for the needy in Tennessee.
Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program is now accepting deer donations for the 2021 deer season. More than 55 deer processors across the state are accepting donations of deer to feed Tennessee families in need.
“We’ve added seven new processors this year across the state which means more sportsmen and women can donate their harvest to help feed families in need,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “Every deer donated provides 168 servings of lean healthy protein to those 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 hunger relief organizations.
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, $60 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, go here.
To learn more about deer hunting in Tennessee, go here.