Politics & Government

Hunters might soon have another reason to help feed the hungry: A deer-meat tax break

Hunters and meat processors looking to donate surplus deer meat could be eligible for a tax credit if House Bill 208 makes its way through the General Assembly.

Rep. Marvin Lucas said he and Rep. George Cleveland were approached by a group trying to find a way to help nonprofits. Lucas said a lot of deer hunters dispose of carcasses without processing the meat, and this bill would allow them to donate the meat to a nonprofit for processing. Then they’d be eligible for a $25 tax credit per carcass.

Not all of the details of the bill have been hammered out yet, and Lucas anticipates some changes being made.

“It’s just a brainchild that’s being developed,” he said.

Lucas, a Cumberland County Democrat, wouldn’t say what group approached him and Cleveland, an Onslow County Republican. He said the Wildlife Resources Commission did not come up with the bill but “they have given their blessing.” Lucas said the bill wasn’t introduced to address concerns of “slob hunters” — or those that kill animals in unethical or merciless ways. “We’re not intending to address anything with them, because we don’t want to encourage them,” he said.

At least one nonprofit in North Carolina already helps hunters donate deer meat to women’s shelters, soup kitchens and other community-based organizations. According to North Carolina Hunters for the Hungry’s website, more than 1,000 deer were processed last year. That means more than 20 tons of ground venison was donated.

It’s unclear if the organization was involved with creating the bill. A call to the organization’s president, Dick Hamilton, was not returned Thursday. Hamilton works with the N.C. Wildlife Federation, and was previously the executive director of the Wildlife Resources Commission.

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