Deer meat from nuisance hunt in Saint Andrews will go to families in need
For the first time, the nuisance deer hunt could benefit families in Charlotte County
Hunters could help solve the deer problem in Saint Andrews and help low-income families at the same time.
Landowners can apply to the province for a special permit allowing a hunter to harvest one deer a property.
The meat from the animal will be donated to the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County Inc., which will distribute the food to families in need.
Donna Linton, a co-ordinator with the non-profit organization, said the food will benefit families in winter, especially.
"In certain seasons, you can only do so much with peanut butter and canned salmon," she said.
"In the winter, you need more protein because it's cold."
25 families could benefit
The centre has started contacting families who might be interested in the deer. Linton is hoping to donate the meat to up to 25 families this year.
Most of the families have never hunted, but they're familiar with deer meat, she said.
It's a type of protein that food banks just generally, in my opinion, have never seen," said Linton, who has worked for the centre for 27 years.
"They've had it through family or maybe a neighbour. And are certainly willing to try it."
Deer in town a big problem
Deer overpopulation has long been a problem in Saint Andrews. In August, residents of the town took out a full-page newspaper ad calling on the province and the town to do something.
New Brunswick's Energy and Resource Development said it's been working with the town on the deer plan for families in need. The Town of Saint Andrews will pay to have the meat processed in the St. Stephen area.
If nuisance hunters choose to donate the meat, they are to notify the province. The department said a meat registration permit will be issued for "zero pounds of meat," which will allow hunters to transport the carcass to the butcher shop.
"There are a fair amount of sportsmen who do love the sport but don't really have the capacity or the desire to eat the meat themselves, " Linton said.
There are six food banks in the the Charlotte County area.
Helping larger families
Linton said the centre, which is one of the food banks, is looking to give the deer to families made up of at least seven people and living near or below the poverty line. She said the poverty line is about $24,000 in the area, but many people live on half of that amount.
Last year, 43 deer were killed within town limits as part of the nuisance hunt, said Doug Naish, the mayor of Saint Andrews, who spoke with CBC News earlier this week.
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Linton said one deer will have up to 60 pounds of meat and each family can use up to 35 pounds of meat.
The deer meat will come in the form of hamburger or stew meat for the families.
Linton is hoping to feed up to 70 families with deer meat in years to come.
"It's a welcomed addition to these food insecure families."
The New Brunswick deer hunting season with a firearm starts on Oct. 28. The nuisance hunt happens at the same time.
With files from Information Morning Saint John