MOUNT VERNON — Last week’s deer-gun season kept area processors busy processing the deer. But hunters weren’t just stocking their own freezers; many shared the meat with local food banks.
Quentin and Tammy Combs at Quick Cut Deer Processing in Mount Vernon are one of the three meat processors serving Knox County that are processing deer for Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. Quentin has been a meat cutter for Smithhislers for 21 years and processing deer for 10 years.
On Friday, Mary Cline of Gay Street United Methodist Church picked up 100 pounds of ground venison for Hot Meals. The congregation funds all of the meals served at their church so the venison helps. They always serve two or three main dishes so guests do not have to choose the venison.
Quick Cuts was a busy place Friday as hunters brought in deer and a number of them were donated. Alexander Fogle of Centerburg donated a buck, Tammy Combs reported.
Steve Cihon’s deer may have been included in the church’s meat that was already processed. Cihon lives in Columbus and works in student life at The Ohio State University.
He also enjoys hunting and on Sunday he took his fourth deer to Quick Cut to donate to FHFH. He bow hunts but recently purchased a muzzle loader.
In the past he donated in Franklin County but on a recent Friday night, after hunting in Knox County, he wanted somewhere close to take the deer and located Quick Cut.
“I’d heard about FHFH and thought it was a good idea,” he said. “It’s a win, win situation. It helps the people who need the food. It helps me get out of the house, and it helps the farmers get the deer out of the fields.”
Last year he donated four deer. Hunting isn’t his whole life, though he also turkey hunts in March. Of course, he has his day job and he also enjoys gardening.
Joe and Mary Linger of Johnstown also donate deer. They hunt in the Granville village limits. In 2007 the village council approved a plan for bow hunting within town limits to assist in reducing the overgrown deer population. To discourage trophy hunting, hunters must first bag two does.
The Linger donated at Quick Cut and they also donate to family members. This year they donated to her sister in Pennsylvania, her stepdaughter in Utica and her brother in Indiana.
“We keep two deer for ourselves,” said Mary Linger, “Our dog has food allergies so I make my own dog food with venison, rice and vegetables from my garden.”
“Once we get a limit of what we personally want, we donate,” she stated, “I think FHFH is really excellent. You can get six tags but how many families can actually use all those deer?
“If you don’t have people to give those deer to, why not donate to people who really need it.”
Linger likes the cleanliness at Quick Cuts and she said Quentin does excellent cuts. Quentin Combs, however, doesn’t have time to hunt much these days. Before the time changed he was able to get out, but Tammy said some hunters have given them some meat.
Hunters who donate deer are not required to pay the processing cost. FHFH and ODNR cover the processing fees. Last year Ohio deer hunters donated more than 104,400 pounds of venison to local food banks. According to FHFH, the venison donation equals approximately 417,600 meals for Ohioans in need.
Farmers and Hunter Feed the Hungry is a program that encourages hunters to donate venison and thanks to that initiative thousands of pounds of ground venison will help feed Knox County residents through local food banks and the Hot Meals program at local churches.
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