Hunters for the Hungry Collection Begins in November

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Hunters for the Hungry (HFTH) is a program through which harvested deer become nutritious venison to benefit those who need it the most. Hunters donated more than 860 deer during the 2004 collection and in total, more than 145,000 pounds of venison have been donated since the program began in 1993, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

Hunters can donate deer on the weekends of Nov. 5-6, and again on Nov. 26-27 at seven “weekend” collection sites and from Nov. 1 - Nov. 30 at five additional collection sites. Three new collection sites have been added this year - Bass Pro Shops in Savannah (located in Chatham County off Abercorn Street), Lamar’s Sports Center in Rockmart (located in Polk county on the Atlanta Highway) and Big Creek Sausage Company in Hoboken (located in Brantley County). These sites, in addition to nine others, will provide an excellent opportunity to donate deer.

“The Hunters for the Hungry program is an opportunity to show the positive aspects of hunting - providing a very nutritious, low-fat meal for those who need it,” says WRD Director Dan Forster. “Considering that it takes the average hunter about 15 days of hunting to bring home one deer, the generosity to donate that effort should not be underestimated.”

Hunters interested in participating in HFTH should bring field-dressed deer to any of the drop-off locations (see below). All hunters who donate a deer during this collection period will be entered into a drawing for a deer rifle, sponsored by the Georgia Wildlife Federation.

Jason Patterson of Dallas, Georgia, recently was awarded the rifle he won in last year’s drawing from Gov. Sonny Perdue himself. Some individual collection sites also are doing additional giveaways or drawings. For example, Sealey’s Deer Cooler in Jefferson is conducting an additional drawing for a rifle winner at their location.

The following seven locations will be available between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Nov. 5-6, 2005 and again on Nov. 26-27, 2005:

· Social Circle - WRD Fish Hatchery on Hwy. 278 (1.5 miles north of Exit 101 off I-20).

· Lexington - Oglethorpe County Farmer’s Market on U.S. Hwy 78.

· Newnan - Royal Baptist Church (Hwy. 34 bypass North to Royal Mayo Drive).

· Gainesville - Hall County Farmer’s Market (Jesse Jewel Parkway at I-985).

· Rockmart (NEW!) - Lamar’s Sports Center (392 Atlanta Highway).

· Rome - Lavender Mountain Hardware (4065 Martha Berry Hwy., NW).

· Savannah (NEW!) - Bass Pro Shops (14045 Abercorn Street).

The following five locations will accept deer from Nov. 1- Nov. 30, 2005 during business hours:

· Hoboken (NEW!) - Big Creek Sausage Co., Inc., Rt. 1, Box 146-A, (912) 458-2120.

· Jefferson - Sealey’s Deer Cooler, 5675 South Apple Valley Road, (706) 335-9304.

· Sparta - Garner’s Grinder, Rt. 3, Box 464-2, (706) 444-9228.

· Columbus - Daffin’s Meat Processing, 4100 ½ River Bend Road, (706) 322-8848.

· Irwinton - Starley’s Deer Processing, 190 George Hatcher Road, (478) 946-8976.

For more information on donating game to those in need during other times of the year, call the Atlanta Community Food Bank at (404) 892-FEED. For more information on the HFTH program, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com , contact a WRD Game Management Office or call (706) 295-6041.