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Sportsmen Caucus works to save deer meat program for the hungry

Delaware Public Media

State lawmakers in the Sportsmen Caucus are trying to save a program that feeds low-income families.

The Delaware Sportsmen Caucus is bipartisan group of legislators. They say the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger program has provided more than two million meals for Delawareans.

The program encourages hunters to donate their game to those in need. But because the state wants private butchers to carry additional liability coverage, fewer participate.

But past pressure from the Office of Management and Budget for private butchers to carry more liability insurance is causing fewer of them to participate. The Insurance Coverage office has since been moved to Department of Human Resources.

So Caucus Co-Chair Bruce Ennis and others are asking whether an inmate deer processing program in Sussex County can be expanded to the Vaughn Correctional Center. Inmates at the Sussex Community Correction Center have processed three and a half tons of deer this year.

Ennis, who represents Smyrna, said the more people who can prepare the meat, the more food is given to families.

“The deer can’t be processed, therefore can’t be made available to the needy, that’s the issue," he said. "We just need more people.”

He said it benefit families and inmates.

“It’s just a job that they do to earn credits and so forth, good time credits and give them some experience in cutlery,” he said.

Ennis says the caucus is seeking opinions from the Delaware Departments of Correction and Natural Resources by April on whether the meat cutting program can be added at Vaughn's existing culinary program.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify that the Insurance Coverage office has moved to the Dept. of Human Resources from OMB.

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