October 26, 2013

Mountaineer Food Bank filled with venison | The Dominion Post

    ROANOKE — Hunters are taking aim at hunger this weekend during the Governor’s One Shot Whitetail Hunt, based at Stonewall Jackson Resort.
On Friday evening, they tested their hunting weapons at the annual “sighting of the rifles” at the public shooting range.
This morning, after a pre-sunrise breakfast, each two-person team set out with their volunteer guides to hunt antlerless deer on private lands.
Money and venison from the hunt goes to the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program administered by the Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway, said Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro during the Friday sighting.
Teams pay a $2,000 entry fee, he said, and individual and corporate sponsors may donate as much as $10,000. The cash goes directly to the food bank. The venison is processed locally, free of charge and divided into 2-pound packs and given to the food bank.
 Hunters are in the field until 4 p.m., he said, then return to the resort for a reception, awards banquet, raffles and live auction. Seventeen two-person teams registered this year.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., arrived at the Stonewall lobby after the sighting and described how he and Jezioro originated the program in 2007 while he was governor.
In 2005, Manchin said, he and Jezioro went to Wyoming for a one-shot antelope hunt; it’s the nation’s oldest organized hunt, originated by the governors of Wyoming and Colorado.
“We went out there and had a great time,” Manchin said. And he told Jezioro, “Frank, we could do that back home.”
So Jezioro set to work with his staff. They teamed up with Mountaineer Food Bank Executive Director Carla Nardella to direct the meat and money to the food bank, and brought in Gen. Chuck Yeager to help get it off the ground.
In its first year, Jezioro said, the hunt raised $17,000; in 2012, it raised $75,000. All told, it’s raised more than $300,000. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin agreed to keep offering it when he took office.
Manchin said he missed it last year, but wanted to be here this year to team up with Jezioro and bag a pair of does. “It’s a wonderful event, it really is,” he said.
It’s also a friendly contest, they said. Teams earn points based on the times they bag their deer and the weight of the deer. A hunter is supposed to down the deer with one shot, they said, hence the name.
 In Wyoming, Manchin said, they both bagged theirs early and could have won, but Jezioro’s required a second shot, costing them penalty points.
They hold the hunt on private lands, Jezioro said, so they don’t interfere with other hunters. Bagging only antlerless deer, he said, helps control the deer populations on those private lands.

By:  David Beard
Source: Hunters shoot deer to benefit helping the hunger program