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Georgia:

Hunters Donate 240 Deer During 1st Hunters for the Hungry Collection Weekend


SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (11/15/2005) Generous Georgia hunters donated 240 deer to the Hunters for the Hungry (HFTH) program during the first collection weekend, Oct. 30-31, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). The venison from the deer will help provide warm, nutritious meals for hundreds of less fortunate Georgians. WRD would like to encourage all hunters to donate a deer (or two, or three . . .) during the next collection weekend, Nov. 26-27, at seven drop-off locations around the state or to bring a harvested deer to any of the five available processor sites that are collecting deer all month.

HFTH is an annual event where hunters can donate harvested deer at designated collection sites during specific times. The deer are processed into ground venison and then distributed to food banks statewide by the Atlanta Community Food Bank (representing the Georgia State Association of Food Banks). Hunters interested in participating should bring field-dressed deer to any of the designated drop-off locations. The following seven locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 26-27:

· 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.

The HFTH program began in 1993, under the helm of former WRD Director David Waller who saw a way to enhance the image of Georgia’s hunters, while also providing a critical item for those in need. More than 145,000 pounds of venison has been donated over the years – growing from only 161 deer donated in 1993 to 862 deer donated in 2004. This program is overseen by a WRD coordinator, who helps bring together several state and private organizations – including the Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Wildlife Federation, that meet annually to discuss the previous year’s collection and how to make improvements based on the amount of money available. The Governor’s Quail Hunt is a fundraiser that currently provides the only means of funding for the operation of this program. Due to the limited, non-guaranteed funding sources, the program has to operate on a year-to-year basis and is restricted to only having collections during a specific time.

WRD applauds the many hunters who go out of their way to donate during these collection periods, as well as those who find other ways to donate in their own part of the state and encourages them to continue their efforts to help feed those in need and show hunters in a positive light.

For more information on the HFTH program, visit the WRD website at www.gohuntgeorgia.com or call (706) 295-6041.

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