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New Bill Encourages Hunters to Donate Venison
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A State Lawmaker has introduced a bill that would reward hunters if they agree to donate venison to people in need. WNPR's Marie Kuhn reports.

Under the proposed bill, Connecticut hunters could receive two additional deer tags from the State Department of Environmental Protection.

Currently the state only allows hunters to kill up to four deer, depending on where they hunt, and whether they use a riffle, a muzzle loader or a bow.  Bill sponsor State Representative Bryan Hurlburt calls it a "two-fold" approach.

"Essentially what we're trying to do is give sportsmen a little bit more of an opportunity to enjoy their hunting and their recreational activities, but also take care of some of the problems that we have with the shortage for our food shelters."

Some areas in the state are already familiar with the benefits this kind of bill could bring.

Paul Hiller is owner of Hiller Sports in Norwalk, where deer over-population has become a major problem. He says the state grants Fairfield county and shoreline residents as many doe permits as they want.

"If you go out and shoot another doe, you can come in and get another doe tag and on, and on, and on, and on. And a lot of these deer -- because we can't use as many deer as what we can harvest -- a lot of these deer are already going to homeless shelters."

Hiller says he donates his extra meat to the Hunters for the Hungry program -- where hunters can bring their deer harvest, free of charge to certified butchers who donate it to soup kitchens and pantries throughout the state.

Nancy Carrington of Connecticut Food Bank says she welcomes the idea of more venison, a lean meat, especially she says, because high costs make protein one of the hardest things to come by.

The bill is before legislature's Environment Committee.