Returning once again this year will be the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program, once deer season opens in late October.
Todd Holbrooke is the President and CEO of the Georgia Wildlife Federation, and says the program really helps out food banks across the state.
“It’s real important, because protein or high quality meat products are the hardest thing for those food banks to stock”, said Holbrooke.
Last season, deer hunters donated enough harvest to process over twelve thousand pounds of ground venison.
The program is also part of a partnership between the Georgia Wildlife Federation and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division.
This year the Wal-Mart Foundation and the Central Georgia EMC are among those providing funding for the grinding and packaging of the venison, which Holbrooke says has helped bring in larger amounts.
“Being able to have a sponsored program like we do now with funding to go towards the grinding, and deer hunters are leaving an entire deer, which goes to the food bank”, explained Holbrooke. “That has really helped this program become successful.”
Holbrooke says Georgia’s deer population is still doing very well, which is good considering the purpose of this program.
“Georgia’s deer heard is healthy and in good shape”, said Holbrooke. “It’s probably down by about 25% from its very peak, but those numbers were too high at that time.”
The Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program, which is just now over a decade old, was founded back in 1993.