Health Minister Dorothy Shephard announced a pilot project today to help feed low-income families in southwestern New Brunswick.
The deer donation program will distribute up to 450 kilograms of ground venison and stew meat and is set to begin this fall in Saint Andrews.
The news release by the province says licensed hunters will have to strictly adhere to the rules and guidelines in the handbook published by the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development.
Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland said, “Only very healthy animals will be accepted, and hunting will only be allowed on days cooler than 15 degrees. The handbook also addresses best practices for field dressing and transport. Once the hunter registers his tagged deer with us, all the meat from that animal can be traced all the way through, from the meat processor to the food bank, to the consumer.”
Deer overpopulation is an ongoing problem in Saint Andrews and the town officials have been working with the provincial government for years to find ways to keep the deer numbers under control. Saint Andrews Mayor Brad Henderson said it is not unusual to have up to 200 animals within town limits.
“There are no natural predators here,” said Henderson. “The deer destroy people’s gardens, but they have become more than just a nuisance animal; they are also responsible for many collisions with vehicles.”
“Last year, 42 deer were killed within town limits as part of the nuisance hunt,” said Henderson. “If this deer donation program proves successful, it could mean families will be able to count on the annual cull to put meat on the table every winter.”
The Nuisance Deer Management Assistance Program (NDMAP) was developed by the Town of Saint Andrews in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development and the Department of Health. NDMAPs will be valid for use by hunters only during the legal deer hunting season (October 4 – November 21, 2021).
Additional support has been provided by the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, the Department of Justice and Public Safety, a local food bank, a licensed butcher and local hunters.