Hunters feed chil­dren in need with deer har­vest

The Saline Courier - - COMICS - Spe­cial to The Saline Courier

JONES­BORO — Arkansas Hunters Feed­ing the

Hun­gry, in co­op­er­a­tion with the Arkansas Game and

Fish Com­mis­sion and the Craig­head County Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion, pro­vided 4,000 pack­ages of Arkansas-sourced veni­son snack sticks to less for­tu­nate stu­dents in the Net­tle­ton and Buf­falo Is­land school dis­tricts in Jones­boro last week. The pre­sen­ta­tion was part of its ex­pand­ing Woods to School pro­gram, which will pro­vide up to 50,000 pack­ages of snack sticks to stu­dents in 75 Arkansas schools this year.

The pro­gram is AHFH’S new­est ini­tia­tive to help feed fam­i­lies through­out Arkansas with meat do­nated from hunters through­out the state. Do­nated deer taken by hunters dur­ing ur­ban archery hunts are pro­cessed into shelf-sta­ble snack sticks that can be given to chil­dren through back­pack pro­grams. The food is placed dis­creetly in the stu­dents’ back­packs so they can have the pro­tein their grow­ing bod­ies need dur­ing week­ends and hol­i­days when pro­vided lunches are not avail­able.

“Last year, we were able to pro­vide 20,000 pack­ages of snack sticks to 25 Arkansas schools, but this pro­gram has re­ally grown in the last 12 months,” said AHFH Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Ron­nie Rit­ter. “We hope to pro­vide 50,000 pack­ages and help 75 Arkansas schools this year. The do­na­tion to Net­tle­ton and Buf­falo Is­land schools is the first ex­pan­sion we’ve been able to make in north­east Arkansas.”

The Net­tle­ton and Buf­falo Is­land school dis­tricts each re­ceived 2,000 pack­ages to dis­trib­ute to stu­dents.

“We are ex­cited to get the word out about this great way hunters are con­tin­u­ing to make a dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives,” Rit­ter said. “And we’re al­ways look­ing for new ways to part­ner with hunt­ing groups and com­mu­ni­ties to ex­tend any help we can to those in need.”

The ur­ban archery hunts used to col­lect the veni­son have been es­tab­lished in Arkansas for many years to main­tain deer pop­u­la­tions at lev­els where they do not cause a nui­sance or haz­ard to peo­ple and do not over­pop­u­late the habi­tat avail­able for them.

Ac­cord­ing to Ralph

Meeker, AGFC Deer Pro­gram Co­or­di­na­tor, con­trolled hunts are the best method to re­duce these deer pop­u­la­tions.

“Hunters are our first and best tool at man­ag­ing wildlife pop­u­la­tions, and con­trolled ur­ban hunts of­fer a safe, in­ex­pen­sive and un­ob­tru­sive way to re­duce deer numbers when co­or­di­nated with hunters or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Arkansas Bowhunters As­so­ci­a­tion.”

In ad­di­tion to the Woods to School pro­gram, Arkansas hunters pro­vided 88,000 pounds of ground veni­son to food banks across The Nat­u­ral

State last year, thanks to AHFH. This cre­ated more than 352,000 serv­ings of food for less for­tu­nate in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies us­ing meat do­nated from the last deer season.

“The pro­gram ben­e­fits ev­ery­one in­volved,” Meeker said. “Hunters get some ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion to con­tinue pur­su­ing their sport, we have the added in­cen­tive for them to re­move enough deer to main­tain healthy wildlife pop­u­la­tions, and Arkansans in need get pro­tein, which is the hard­est thing for food banks to ac­quire.”

Con­tact Rit­ter at 501-2820006 for more in­for­ma­tion about AHFH and the Woods to School pro­gram.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.