New Brunswick pilot project serves deer for dinner
A new pilot program in southwestern New Brunswick is taking aim at the overpopulation of deer in the St. Andrews area and food insecurity amongst low-income families in the region at the same time.
The province has announced that through the new project, up to 450 kilograms of deer meat, which translates into roughly 20 animals, from the annual nuisance hunt will be processed and distributed to those in need through a local food bank.
St. Andrews mayor Brad Henderson says that it’s a program that has been in the works now for more than two years, and that all of the elements have been ‘well weighed out’ in order to help make this a reality.
“Unfortunately [St. Andrews] continues to be overpopulated. A normal community of our size has three to five deer per square kilometre and we’re seeing numbers of over 22 per square kilometre,” says Henderson.
“[The program] is going to go a long way to some families in need in this area over the winter.”
Hunters have already been selected for this pilot project, and Henderson says they are hunters who have participated in the town’s nuisance hunt in the past.
“The first thing they had to do was have an online meeting, where various government officials took them through safety regulations making sure everything was done properly,” says Henderson.
The St. Stephen Food Bank will be receiving the product and a butcher has been selected to process the meat.
Donna Linton, who is the coordinator for the volunteer centre of Charlotte County says that they are seeing an increased demand for their services.
Linton also says one of the challenges at the food bank is getting enough protein for families in need.
“We’re hoping for hundreds and hundreds of pounds of deer meat this season,” says Linton.
“We’re actually recruiting families at this point. We’re looking for families with experience with venison or deer meat, and we’re hoping to find some families that may be a little food insecure that aren’t traditional food bank families – these would be your families living paycheck-to-paycheck.”
For those who are interested they can call the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County at (506) 466-4995 on Monday to Friday.