Hunting has transitioned from being necessary to survival to more of a hobby or recreational activity, especially here in the South. Hunters capture fresh, organic meat from harvested game, which can be used to feed Georgia’s hungry people. Therefore, we should encourage student hunters to donate their meat—specifically deer meat—to food banks.
Deer are among the most hunted animals in Georgia, and with good reason. Deer are considered a nuisance population according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR), despite the affinity many people have toward them. According to the GA DNR, they damage agricultural crops, private gardens and forest industries by grazing. They are also a hazard for humans, according to State Farm. An estimated one in 126 people will be involved in a deer collision in the state of Georgia.
The deer’s natural predators have mostly been eradicated from Georgia, so hunting remains the primary method for deer control, according to the GA DNR.
One deer can feed 200 people, according to Deer & Deer Hunting, a website that specializes in the topic. This means a lot of potential meals from a single hunting season. Considering 18.7 percent of Georgians are food insecure and 28.2 percent of children live in food insecure households, according to the Georgia Food Bank Association, there’s a higher demand than ever to feed these hungry people. People who already attain venison are one solution to mitigating food insecurity.
Luckily, organizations exist to facilitate hunters in donating their venison. Georgia Hunter for the Hungry is involved with food banks all around Georgia, helping hunters process and distribute deer meat into ready to eat meals.
All you have to do is take a deer to one of their affiliate deer processing locations. UGA students can take their deer to the nearest processing center, which is Apple Valley Meat Processing in Jefferson, only a 30 minute drive from UGA’s campus.
Deer hunting is a controversial sport, but it has its benefits that are hard to ignore. Those that hunt should use the meat to help feed people in their communities.