Urban Deer Make a Good Meal - Capital Area Food Bank
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Urban Deer Make a Good Meal

By Anthony Agby March 13, 2012

Long ago, the white-tailed deer were a rare breed in these parts. Their natural predators couldn’t get enough of these delectable creatures. Then man came along, party crashed the feast and drove out all the predators. Since then natural selection has had difficulty keeping these deer out of man’s way.
The estimated 20 million deer living in the United States have become a major danger to motorists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are nearly 1.5 million car accidents with deer each year that result in $1 billion in vehicle damage, about 150 human fatalities, and over 10,000 personal injuries.
In addition, the exploding deer population wreaks havoc on the ecosystem. Deer love munching off the forest floor. In areas where they are prevalent, there is a lack of seedlings to replace aging plants. They also eat mostly native plants, which makes room for new invasive species.
Organized hunts are a common and efficient way to reduce deer populations. Most Maryland and Virginia counties already deal with deer in this way. And the National Park Service is considering such a measure for Rock Creek Park. Some may see the method as wasteful, but the remains go on to serve the greater good.
This deer meat is used to feed hungry people. The Capital Area Food Bank has a relationship with Montgomery County, where we ultimately benefit from the spoils of the hunts. After the deer are collected by hired hunters, the Montgomery Department of Parks has the meat processed and donated to the Capital Area Food Bank. Once here, we check it, repackage it and distribute it to our partners. In the past year, the food bank received over 18,000 pounds of deer meat. That is enough for well over 72,000 meals.
The Maryland deer hunts meet the demands for curbing a public and ecological health concern. Thus, their deaths are not in vain. While we do not endorse the cruel or inhumane treatment to animals, we welcome the kill to sustain the life of our neighbors in need. We have a lot of work in filling the meal gap in the Washington metro area and appreciate the resourceful approach Montgomery County has taken at helping us meet our goal.