INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – 4,800 pounds of deer meat is being processed to donate to local food pantries. According to Gleaners Food Bank the supply will feed roughly 4,000 people.
Wednesday, 24-Hour News 8 was there as Gleaner’s Food Bank got its first delivery of nearly 530 pounds of venison.
All of the meat is the result of the weekend deer hunt at Eagle Creek Park.
Bag after bag of packaged venison came out of Brownsburg Taxidermy and Deer Processing to be loaded into a Gleaners delivery truck.
Gleaners Communications Director Willie Matis says this is a treat for food banks.
“Because we don’t normally get meat or fresh produce that is of this nutritious quality,” said Matis.
As Matis pointed out, venison is much leaner and about twice the price of beef. He says it’s much more expensive to eat healthy, but that everyone deserves that opportunity.
In a controversial move, the city of Indianapolis opened up Eagle Creek Park for a private deer hunt to Wounded Warriors. It’s an organization for wounded veterans.
They shot and killed about 140 deer. The first of 97 of those are ready to distribute.
“No one was expecting that number. Whoa, that’s a lot! That’s two tons nearly,” said Lesley Gordon, The City of Indianapolis decided to conduct the hunt after Parks and Recreation spokesperson Lesley Gordon says there were multiple cases studied from other cities in similar situations that resulted in the same conclusion.
“With the setting of Eagle Creek and the size of Eagle Creek as well as the type of deer this really turned into the best option,” said Gordon.
Kevin McGrotty, who owns Brownsburg Taxidermy & Deer Processing, said it was clear to him something had to be done.
He said the yearlings that came in from Eagle Creek were half the size they should have been.
“Meaning they don’t have enough food and I doubt the little ones would have enough to make it through winter,” he said.
The Indiana Animal Rights Alliance says they’re in full support of feeding the hungry. They say they just think there are more humane ways to lower the deer population as well as help the less fortunate.
Another night deer hunt at Eagle Creek is in the works. It will be conducted by sharp shooters. That cull will happen sometime at the end of 2014 or January, 2015. Members of the IARA say they will be fighting this one as well.