Hunters can donate deer to feed hungry

The last week of North Carolina’s deer hunting season could be worth the wait.

With the bumper crop of acorns consumed and the weather cold and wet for days, deer are on the move, and Jeff Pearce expects that movement to benefit hunters – and N.C. Hunters for the Hungry.

“The last week of the season, if we don’t have bad weather, will be the best week of the season. The deer are back to normal instead of having all the acorns,” said Pearce, proprietor of Pearce’s Custom Meat Processing in Louisburg and an observer of hunting success in his role as the longtime processor contact for the nonprofit organization that donates venison to food banks.

The eastern, central and northwestern deer seasons end Jan. 1. The western season ended Dec. 13.

Plentiful acorns, or mast, kept deer hidden in the woods and nocturnal, Pearce said. Cold weather has deer in search of more calories from hunters’ food plots and corn piles.

“(Deer have) been on the (trail) cameras a lot the past two or three weeks,” Pearce said.

Hunters who fill their freezers and keep hunting often donate excess deer. The average deer provides about 45 pounds, or about 180 servings, of ground venison. Over the years, Pearce’s Franklin County business has processed nearly 2 million servings of donated venison.

Deer may be dropped off at 14 other certified processors from Beaufort County on the coast to Macon County in the mountains. The processors can be found on an interactive map or a downloadable PDF map at www.nchuntersforthehungry.org.

Monetary donations are accepted online to reimburse processors for the expense of processing the meat, which is ground then frozen and stored to await distribution to organizations that feed people in need.

Seminar in Cary: The Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series, in its 28th year, stops in the Triangle on Jan. 24 with a 9 a.m.-3 p.m. seminar at the Embassy Suites, 201 Harrison Oaks Blvd., Cary.

George Poveromo, who hosts “George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing” on the NBC Sports Network and is editor at-large for Salt Water Sportsman magazine, headlines the presentation. Co-hosting will be regional editor Ric Burnley, a light tackle inshore and offshore expert. Ten other national, regional and local experts are on the day’s program, which covers numerous species and techniques.

The fee is $55. Call 800-448-7360, or go to www.nationalseminarseries.com.

Gill lice found: Anglers are asked to be on the lookout for gill lice on brook trout after fisheries biologists found the tiny white crustaceans in the gills of brook trout in several headwater streams of the Cullasaja River in Macon County.

This is the first time gill lice have been found in N.C. waters, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said. Anglers who find gill lice should contact coldwater research coordinator Jacob Rash at 828-659-3324, ext. 225, or jacob.rash@ncwildlife.org. Learn more at www.ncwildlife.org.

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