Lawmakers in The Magnolia State have introduced an ambitious bill that seeks to solve two problems at once: manage the state’s burgeoning deer population and provide sustainable, nutritious food to inmates that will not break taxpayers’ wallets. House Bill 397, or the “Venison Harvesting Program for Inmate Consumption,” would allow correctional facilities to accept and process deer meat. Resident hunters will also be able to donate their harvests, either processed or not, directly to prisons.

“This would allow state, municipal, county and juvenile corrections institutions to use processed venison, under Department of Health guidelines,” House Corrections Committee Chairman Tommy Taylor (R-Boyle), who authored the bill, told The Clarion Ledger.

Lawmakers say that the bill came about as a response to Mississippi’s high deer population and liberal bag limit. Through charity programs run by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation and other nonprofit groups, hunters already donate thousands of pounds of venison each year to the needy. The deer meat is then distributed to local food pantries and churches by the Mississippi Food Network. If passed, House Bill 397 will provide another avenue for charitable hunters to donate their harvests.

On Wednesday, the House Corrections Committee unanimously passed the bill, which is now headed to the Public Health Committee. Lawmakers say they are working alongside the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, which will be consulting with correctional facilities if the measure is passed. It is not yet known if the commission will be making and regulatory changes for 2015’s deer hunt as a result of the bill.

Image from FotoosVanRobin on the Wikimedia Commons

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3 thoughts on “Mississippi Lawmakers Propose Venison Harvesting Program to Feed Inmates

  1. Nice! Hope that will pass. We used to be able to donate in UP of Michigan but cannot anymore. It would be a good idea for the county to look into. And it would be better than the food they serve in county jail.

    1. Nice? Stupid! The venison isn’t good enough for the hungry and homeless, but it’s a good idea to feed criminals this fine protein? Here in MN there’s also no donating venison. Their both blue states, coincidence? We as hunters already provide about $6 Billion a year worth in venison and expenses to provide it, in only some states. Imagine if these stupid obstacles weren’t in the way. As far as the criminals, they have handed off their right to hunt by committing felonies, they don’t deserve to eat that well. I agree, hot dogs and oatmeal, and whatever their lazy asses can grow out of the ground. Enough country club living! They certainly don’t deserve any “deer camp” benefit.

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