Outdoors Notebook

Outdoors Notebook: Cooler will make donating deer easier

CorrespondentNovember 27, 2013 

Hunters around the state go out of their way – far out of their way – to donate venison to feed the needy.

With 15 N.C. Hunters for the Hungry-affiliated meat processors scattered around the state, donating a deer can require a 50-mile drive, said Guy Gardner, who has worked for the past year to find a way to make the collection station come to the hunters.

“We realized what we want to do is make it easy for hunters to donate deer,” Guy Gardner, manager of the Farmers Manage Deer program with his wife, Judy, said Tuesday by phone. “… Our thought was, that to make this easier for hunters, let’s make this mobile.”

On Friday and Saturday, a shiny, walk-in cooling unit will be on-site to hold donations during a Farmers Manage Deer Special Hunt. Deer will be collected in the 12-foot-long cooler at the Pitt Family Farm off N.C. 42 west of Pinetops and delivered to the George Flowers slaughterhouse in Sims for processing and donation to organizations that feed the hungry. Any hunter can donate.

The nearly $15,000 cooler on a dual-axle trailer, built by Spivey Refrigeration of Greensboro, has hooks to hold about 20 deer, Gardner said.

The Gardners, of Fuquay-Varina, worked with the N.C. Wildlife Federation and other conservation and agricultural organizations and agencies to find funding. The goal is to acquire additional trailers for use by groups statewide.

“It’s going to be a great asset,” Guy Gardner said.

More than 300 hunters are expected to participate in Farmers Manage Deer Special Hunts this fall, including a two-week hunt under way on the Pitt Family Farm. Many hunters were recruited through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Hunt N.C. Farmland website www.ncagr.gov/hunt.

Hunters for the Hungry also needs donations to help with processing costs. Learn more at www.nchuntersforthehungry.org.

Wolf killed: The sixth radio-collared red wolf found dead in the past month died of an apparent gunshot wound, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced. The federally protected wolf was found near Swan Quarter in Hyde County.

A $26,000 reward is being offered by organizations including the N.C. Wildlife Federation for an arrest and conviction in the killings in Hyde, Washington and Tyrrell counties, the service said.

Since Jan. 1, 14 wolves have died, including nine by gunshot. Anyone with information can contact resident agent in charge John Elofson at 404-763-7959, refuge officer Frank Simms at 252-216-7504 or N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Robert Wayne at 252-216-8225.

Comment sought: The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests management plan revision process.

The 4-7 p.m. drop-in events are scheduled for Dec.3 at Tri-County Community College in Murphy and the Appalachian District Office in Mars Hill; Dec.5 at the Graham County Community Center in Robbinsville; and Dec.17 at the Nantahala District Office in Franklin.

Learn more at http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/home/?cid=STELPRDB5397660.

Send outdoors news and announcements to outdoors@newsobserver.com.

Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com Twitter: @BoggessT

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