The past four days have been busy for Chad Browning. The outdoorsman and Greenville native has not even been able to take full advantage of gun season hunting, but it’s an inconvenience he is more than happy to endure. Browning organizes a team of volunteers in the Waste Not Want Not campaign (WNWN), traveling between Hopkins and Muhlenberg Counties, collecting unwanted deer kills to feed the underprivileged.
Since Saturday, WNWN has collected 13 deer from area hunters, who call Browning and his team to meet them in the field and donate their game. Click on the links below for the original SurfKY News stories that explain the WNWN program’s origins and how it all works.
So far this year, WNWN has collected 36 unwanted deer, which translates to approximately 1,800 pounds of meat provided to the area’s underprivileged families through Hope 2 All Food Bank in Nortonville, KY.
Hunters are asked to donate only fresh kills and to have the deer field-dressed and ready to go when they call for a pickup. Ideally, the WNWN volunteers arrive, pick up the deer, and transport them directly to be processed. However, due to weather conditions, the eight donated kills from Saturday and Sunday alone (390 pounds-worth) had to be skinned and quartered and packed on ice by volunteers in the field so that it could be delivered to the processor before spoiling.
“On cool days like today, we don’t have to go through that trouble,” Browning said, adding that he takes food safety very seriously, and will not process an animal that has been left for too long or is otherwise in danger of spoiling. Browning emphasized the need for hunters to be swift in calling WNWN and for them to have the animals field-dressed and ready to go when they arrive.
He is especially grateful for the other two volunteers who share responsibility for going on the pick-up runs, saying, “If it wasn’t for those other two guys, we would have lost deer for sure,” again referencing the window of opportunity they have for keeping the meat from spoiling.
In previous interviews with Browning, he predicted a sharp increase in the number of kill donations with the onset of gun season, and he was right, with deer coming in from a variety of sources. Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, a Greenville, KY military facility, has its own tagging system, and Browning said he has received several deer from that location. He has picked up numerous headless bucks donated by trophy hunters as well. “And that’s cool,” he said. “We can’t use that part of the deer anyway!”
WNWN has had donations from farmers as well, who receive extra tags due to the need for wildlife management of their lands. One farm has donated three animals so far. In addition, he said that one hunter has donated three kills, while two other hunters have donated two each.
“The biggest feedback that I am getting from these hunters is that they are tickled to death that there is a program here in the area that lets them do something with this deer meat and that it’s going for a good cause,” he said. “I’ve heard that time and time again. The fact is, I’ve come to realize, deer hunters are going to go and kill deer, a lot of the time for the rack, whether they want the deer meat or not … and this program is just taking advantage of the opportunity, and it’s proven itself to be effective all the way around. The more people know about it, the busier we are going to be as volunteers.”
Browning emphasized, however, that this increase in awareness and animal donations also increases the need for the funding required to process the kills. He said, “It’s going to take the support of the whole community of these two counties to keep it going.”
The community seems to be responding. Last SurfKY News spoke with Browning, WNWN was just a couple days away from a “bucket brigade” fundraising event where volunteers collected donations at the main intersection in Nortonville from passing motorists. The effort raised $900 for Hope 2 All to help offset the cost of processing the meat.
“The more money we get, the easier it’s going to be on Hope 2 All.”
Brother Brad Payne, Director of Hope 2 All and pastor at Living Word Christian Center, told Browning that there has been a shortage of food coming into the food bank this fall. “He said that God’s timing in doing this program has really filled the gap in stocking the shelves with a meat supply.” Browning went on to say that the meat seems to be going out as fast as it’s coming in. “They did stockpile it there at the beginning of bow season. They had a lot of other meats they were trying to get out first.” However, he said that upon his last visit, the food bank had about 300 pounds of meat remaining in stock—compare to the 1,800 pounds that has been provided by WNWN so far this year.
While most of the deer this gun season have come from Hopkins County, WNWN has also received calls from hunters in Webster, Christian, and Ohio Counties. Even though volunteers don’t operate in those locations, hunters can still take part by delivering their deer to processing locations including Yoder's Custom Butchering in Sebree (Webster), Livingston Custom Meat Processing in Hopkinsville (Christian), and Barnes Deer Processing in Beaver Dam (Ohio).
“They just need to tell them it’s for Waste Not Want Not,” said Browning. “The processors know us and know how we want the meat. They’ll take the deer with no deposit, and we’ll pick them up.”
As always, to volunteer or for a deer pickup in Hopkins and Muhlenberg Counties, call Chad Browning at (270) 635-0544. Tax-deductible donations can be made to:
Hope 2 All
PO Box 600
Nortonville, KY 42442
The program will run through the end of the year, and Browning is already looking ahead to 2013, saying, “I hope to do some fundraising throughout the year for next season … maybe two or three events earlier in the year.” He will also be enthusiastically accepting more volunteers for deer pick-ups so maybe he can squeeze in one good day of dawn-‘til-dusk hunting for himself—something he has yet to accomplish this year.