BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A program that uses hunters to help provide food for the hungry has received a grant that will cover the costs of processing deer killed in a Bloomington nature preserve this fall and winter.
Ian Munnoch of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry says the organization has received a $57,000 grant that will be used to process the deer killed at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve.
The Bloomington parks board in May approved a $31,000 contract for sharpshooters to kill up to 100 deer in the preserve. All the deer meat will be donated to the Hoosier Hills Food Bank.
Supporters of the plan tell The Herald-Times there is an overpopulation of deer on the preserve, which is hurting plant life and causing animals dependent on plants to suffer.
“There’s an imbalance in the ecosystem of deer,” Munnoch said. “It will get worse. The deer will get thinner and sicklier.”
Munnoch estimates the cull will yield up to 5,000 pounds of venison.
“We will definitely make sure that it’s put to good use,” said Julio Alonso, executive director of Hoosier Hills Food Bank. “Having a high protein donation is really important to us. … The need remains pretty high out there.”
Hoosier Hills Food Bank will send a truck to pick up the venison once it’s ready.
The meat will be available for all of the food bank’s 94 partner agencies in six counties, including Monroe.
“It probably will be one of the larger donations in terms of deer meat,” Alonso said. “It’s often in much smaller quantities.”
Alonso doesn’t expect the venison to stay at the food bank long because the high-protein meat is in high demand but rarely donated.
“It’s one of the more difficult things to keep a good supply of,” Alonso said. “Anytime we can receive a large donation of protein, it’s a great thing for us.”