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Tennesseans donate more than 5 million venison meals to the needy


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The state is reporting a strong deer harvest this past winter and while that may not seem like a great thing for the deer, it turns out that it’s a very good thing for the state’s poor.

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation operates a program called Hunters for the Hungry. The program allows hunters to donate the deer they harvest to food agencies serving the needy.

Matt Simcox manages the program. He says hunters donated more than 144,000 pounds of deer meat for free distribution this year. That’s a 14 percent increase over last year. Since its inception in 1998 Simcox says the program has taken in more than a million pounds of venison and distributed more than 5.3 million meals.

Simcox notes that the record year coincided with a significant change in hunting regulations.

“Kind of surprising with the new regulations on how many bucks the hunter could take in Tennessee. It was reduced to two from three in previous years and overall the deer harvest was up by a few thousand deer.”

Simcox says a number of meat processors around the state have agreed to prepare the meat. Food relief agencies accept the processed meat for distribution.

Would you like to learn more about Hunters for the Hungry?