Hunting For a Cause: Sportsmen Against Hunger

VIOLA, Del. – It’s peak shotgun season in Delaware and that’s good news for one of DNREC’s charitable programs that helps feed thousands of people every year.

“They may have their freezer space filled up. This gives them an option for what to do with that deer,” says Bill Jones, the Fish and Wildlife Regional Manager for DNREC.

Box after box Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control staff load up hundreds of pounds of frozen venison. Wednesday’s truck load in Viola was delivered to a local pantry in Seaford.

“The charities are very appreciative of the free local organic meat that we supply. And the hunters are excited to have a place where they can one: help fellow community members and two: enjoy their sport while also having a way to give back to their community,” says Jessica Hagerty, the deer crop damage and nuisance beaver biologist for DNREC.

It’s all part of DNREC’s Sportsmen Against Hunger Program which has been in operation since 1992.

“We have drop off coolers state wide. There are eight of those. They can take a deer that they harvested, as long as they register it online, they can drop it off there give us a call and say they put one in our cooler or they can take it to one of the four participating butchers that we have state wide,” says Jones.

After the deer is dropped off, the meat is then ground up for venison burgers and distributed to local organizations across the state. “Between donation of the venison to delivery to the charity, it’s just a few weeks which is nice. It’s not sitting on shelves for months or anything like that,” says Hagerty.

DNREC officials say this program is a win win for everyone involved. “So it helps the landowner by cutting down on the deer population and it also furnish is a good source of protein to needy folks in Delaware,” says Jones.

Last year, the program distributed more than 19-thousand pounds of venison to almost three dozen shelters. DNREC says it takes a village to run the program which is funded annually by the General Assembly. In addition to private butchers, Sussex Correctional Institution’s deer butchering program also helps process the meat.

Click here for more about the program or see the information below:

Participating butcher shops in the Sportsmen Against Hunger program:

  • New Castle County
    • Townsend Deer Butchering – 302-378-3268 – (1300 Dexter Corner Road, Townsend, DE 19734)
  • Kent County
    • D&J Custom Cutting – 302-492-0323 – (89 Myers Drive, Hartly, DE 19953)
    • Miller’s Butcher Shop – 302-697-8278 – (577 Morgans Choice Road, Wyoming, DE 19934)
  • Sussex County
    • Dave’s Cut ‘Em Up – 302-381-7257 – (6854 Delmar Road, Delmar, DE 19940)

Walk-in cooler locations to donate deer for Sportsmen Against Hunger program:

  • New Castle County
    • Augustine Wildlife Area, 303 North Congress Street, Port Penn, DE 19731
  • Kent County
    • Little Creek Wildlife Area, 3018 Bayside Drive, Dover, DE 19901
    • Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, 782 Kersey Road, Viola, DE 19979
    • Mosquito Control Office, 1161 Airport Road, Milford, DE 19963
  • Sussex County
    • Redden State Forest Headquarters, 18074 Redden Forest Drive, Georgetown, DE 19947
    • Trap Pond State Park, 33587 Bald Cypress Lane, Laurel, DE 19956
    • Gumboro Community Center, 36849 Millsboro Highway, Millsboro, DE 19966
    • Assawoman Wildlife Area, 37604 Mulberry Landing Road, Frankford, DE 19945
Categories: Delaware, Local News