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Deer meat can now be processed for donations

Published 6:01am Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RED BAY – The simple act of hunting deer this season could provide an opportunity to do something good for others thanks to an Alabama program with local supporters.
The Alabama Hunters Helping the Hungry program has been around since 1999, but Franklin County now has an authorized deer processing business that can help hunters donate their leftover deer meat to feed those in need this year.
Fancher’s Deer Processing in Red Bay announced this past week that they have been authorized to participate in the program, which means they will now be able to accept and process deer from hunters who wish to donate their game to the worthy cause.
According to the Alabama Department of Wildlife and Conservation, Alabama’s abundant deer population, generous bag limits, and long hunting season combine to allow Alabama hunters to stock their own freezers and still be able to share their game with the needy.
Knowing this, the Alabama Hunters Helping the Hungry program began as a joint project of the Governor’s Office, the National Rifle Association, the Phillip Morris Company, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation in 1999.
Officials said since the program’s beginning, approximately 450,000 pounds of ground venison have been donated to Alabama food banks in the state.
“There are a lot of hunters in this area, and they will harvest many deer of which they do not want to keep all the meat for themselves, and they will gladly donate their harvest now that they have a place to bring it to,” said Jerry Paul Fancher, owner of Fancher’s Deer Processing.
“Our local food banks are having a tough time keeping enough food on hand to distribute to those in need and we, Charlene and I, are thrilled to be able to provide this service to help feed our local citizens, especially during the winter months.”
There is no charge to the hunter for processing the deer. Once the venison has been donated by the hunter and processed, Fancher’s Deer Processing will then donate the ground venison to a local food ministry so it can be distributed to those in need in Red Bay and the surrounding areas.
Fancher said the hunter who is donating a deer to the program will have to sign paperwork authorizing the donation and the deer must be field dressed before bringing it to the processor.
Fancher said they encourage all area hunters to participate in the program this hunting season.
Fancher’s Deer Processing is located at 715 Newell Rd., in Red Bay. For additional information or questions, call 256-356-9858 or 256-810-0298.

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