The Mercer County Park Commission cooperated with its hunters this season to obtain venison donations to Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH), a non-profit organization that works with butchers, hunters and food banks. This first year’s initiative resulted in the donation of 14 deer harvested by the end of the hunting season.
The Naturalist Department provided drop-off donation days to licensed County hunters in the Deer Management Program at both Mercer Meadows and Baldpate Mountain during hunting season. Donated deer were taken to the Farmers’ Butcher Shop in Pennington, where the venison was processed, picked up by HHH, and distributed to charities throughout New Jersey and to America’s Second Harvest Food Banks statewide. The Park Commission paid the additional processing fees not covered by the HHH program.
Approximately 518 pounds of venison were provided to the program, translating to 2,072 servings of protein by this County initiative. Venison is a valuable resource to those in need, offering a high-protein food source to populations with limited access to nutrition.
“The Park Commission’s efforts have contributed to providing meals for the hungry while addressing the ecological issue of overpopulation of white-tailed deer,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “In Mercer County, we consistently seek creative ways to solve problems and meet the needs of all our residents,” the County Executive added.
The Deer Management Program is held annually to improve the health of forest ecosystems within the parks and in coordination with regional efforts to reduce the overpopulation of white-tailed deer in central New Jersey. The program complies with all hunting regulations set by the State of New Jersey.