Hunters Fill Their Freezers and Others As Well

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Attention hunters: if you’ve sat out for a few years, this is the year to get back in the field. The Commonwealth of Virginia is experiencing a great start to the general firearms deer season. Game check stations, meat processors, and taxidermists report they are swamped with customers.

Laura Newell-Furniss with Hunters for the Hungry estimates that hunter donations of venison are up 20 percent over this time last year and that they are well on the way to reaching their goal of 275,000 pounds of venison donated, equal to 1.1 million servings. The organization offers statewide feeding programs and food banks much needed protein that is low-fat, organic, and the ultimate in free-range. “We are grateful to the hunters of Virginia for sharing their harvest,” said Newell-Furniss. “They have been so supportive over the years and this year has been outstanding.” Also this year, hunters have been able to support Hunters for the Hungry by being able to make a monetary donation when purchasing their hunting licenses.

Virginia deer hunters report not only seeing more deer than last year, but also seeing bigger deer. Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries attribute that to several contributing factors. Previous years have been influenced by drought, but with all the rain over the spring and summer this year deer had plenty to forage. In previous years deer herds in Virginia have experienced outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease, but this year there was no outbreak, again probably due to the wet weather. In addition, more hunters are practicing quality deer management and passing on the younger bucks to allow them to mature for future years. That effort is delivering better bucks. Finally, as far as deer movement is concerned, last year’s mast crop of nuts and berries was abundant and deer didn’t have to travel far to feed. This fall the mast crop has been uneven and more deer are moving around searching for food. All these factors add up to Virginia hunters enjoying an outstanding season.

To learn more about hunting regulations and seasons and wildlife management, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Web site at www.dgif.state.va.us. Hunters may also purchase their hunting licenses and make a donation to Hunters for the Hungry on line through the Department’s Web site. To find out more about Hunters for the Hungry, visit their Web site at www.h4hungry.org.