May 21, 2024
Annapolis, US 72 F

County Executive Pittman puts a $50 bounty on Bambi

County Executive Pittman announced a new program to provide venison meat to the Anne Arundel County Food Bank to distribute to families in need. The Venison Food Relief Program, run through the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC), begins November 1 and will provide licensed deer hunters $50 for each legally harvested deer. The program is being paid for with the county’s allocation of federal CARES Act funding.

“Local farmers report that crop damage from deer is their greatest obstacle when attempting to grow the local produce that has been so important to our residents during this pandemic,” said County Executive Pittman. “Past efforts to reduce the deer population through managed hunts and crop damage permits have not been effective because no incentives were offered to hunters. This first-in-the-state program will have the dual benefit of getting quality meat to our food bank for residents who need it, and reducing the population of deer that would otherwise destroy next year’s crops. It’s smart and it’s cost-effective.”

The high cost of meat presents a challenge to food banks. Venison is a protein-rich, low-fat meat that will help feed families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. One deer can feed dozens of people, when properly processed.

“With so many families experiencing food insecurity through this pandemic, AAEDC is pleased to partner with Anne Arundel County Food Bank to increase the protein available to those families in need,” said Ben Birge, President and CEO of AAEDC. “This program will also help reduce crop damage on county farms and provide supplemental income to hunters.”

To participate in the program, hunters are required to have all necessary licenses and permits, follow Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hunting regulations, and obtain permission from private landowners. Hunters must bring their harvested deer to Harwood Butcher Shop, 4531 S. Polling House Road,Harwood, MD, with green tag attached and completed form, including contact information and DNR confirmation number. Additional processors may be added.

Hunters must deliver their deer to the processor by December 30 to be eligible for payment, which will be made through the processor.

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