KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee hunters across the state can help fill food banks and feed hungry families in need this fall by donating their deer to Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program.

More than 55 deer processors across the state are accepting donations of deer to feed Tennessee families in need. The venison is processed and then provided to hunger relief organizations. There is no cost to hunters.

“We’ve added seven new processors this year across the state which means more sportsmen and women can donate their harvest to help feed families in need,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “Every deer donated provides 168 servings of lean healthy protein to those who need it most.”

Each year, Hunters for the Hungry covers tens of thousands of dollars in processing fees for donations. If deer donations surpass available funding for this season, hunters can pay a reduced, $60 processing fee or redeem a Deer Coin

In partnership with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Hunters for the Hungry will test every deer donated within the chronic wasting disease unit in West Tennessee. Hunters for the Hungry will discard all donations that test positive for CWD. There is no evidence CWD is transmitted to humans but the CDC still recommends against eating CWD-positive meat. 

Only whole deer donations will be accepted in Region 1 (which includes Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Humphreys, Houston, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Stewart, Tipton, and Weakley County) and the counties that border it.

Pound or pack donations, which allow hunters to give a portion of their harvest, will continue to be accepted in the rest of the state.

For more information about Hunters for the Hungry or to purchase a Deer Coin, visit tnwf.org/HuntersForTheHungry.