Community partners on the hunt for donated deer meat

(Top: Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons; Bottom: Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

The colourful leaves, cooler air, and later sunrise don’t just signal fall time for many—it means it’s hunting season.

With that urge to get out into the wilderness starting to sprout, a number of Prince Albert organizations are currently working together in hopes that hunters will donate some valuable, nutritious deer meat to the Food Bank.

Hunters with Heart is a brand new program to the city this year spearheaded by Community Mobilization Prince Albert (CMPA).

“We identified a gap. Our Food Bank is in need of food, particularly high quality protein,” said Education Sector Specialist Dr. Shelley Storey.

But each partner plays a significant role in the program, also including the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation, Caribou Transport L.P., Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

Any interested hunters or outfitters must first follow the guidelines outlined on the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation website.

Once the animal has been tested to ensure it’s free from chronic wasting disease, it’s sent to Sask. Polytechnic for meat cutting students to process.

Caribou Transport has donated freezers to keep the meat in before it’s in the hands of families in need.

About half of those who use the Food Bank are children.

Shari Morash, also with the CMPA, said many who hunt deer aren’t wanting the meat at all.

“They’re looking for the horns. They have ‘What am I going to do with this animal now?’ This gives them a way to give back to the community,” she said. “They’re going to give it to someone that can use it.”

She added outfitters are legally responsible to get rid of the carcasses properly.

“So why waste them?” she asked.

Donations will be accepted from Nov. 1 to Dec. 6, but CMPA is hoping hunters will have it in their mind beforehand to donate a deer.

To participate, contact Don Erhardt at (306) 961-3914 or Gord Vaadeland at (306) 469-7876.