Deer Culling in Tega Cay Aims to Alleviate Food Insecurity

by Ella

Efforts to combat a deer overpopulation issue in Tega Cay, South Carolina, are taking a humanitarian turn as much of the culled deer meat is destined to address food insecurity within the local community.

This week, a designated sharpshooter is set to once again thin out the deer population in Tega Cay, with plans to cull approximately 160 of the animals. The initiative is part of the city’s strategy to manage the burgeoning deer population effectively.


Channel 9’s Tina Terry uncovered that a significant portion of the venison harvested from the culled deer is being generously donated to the Catawba Nation, a decision that has garnered support from the tribe’s chief. Speaking on behalf of the tribe, the chief expressed gratitude for the meat donations, emphasizing their vital role in alleviating food insecurity on the reservation.


During a visit to the Catawba Nation, Terry witnessed the distribution of white grocery bags brimming with hundreds of pounds of deer meat, slated to nourish those in need within the community.


Hayley Brezeale, the food sovereignty coordinator for the tribe, outlined plans to distribute the venison to various community centers, including the senior center, Boys & Girls Club, and Early Head Start program, aiming to reach individuals and families facing food insecurity. With approximately 2,400 residents on the reservation, Brezeale highlighted that over 20% of them grapple with food insecurity, a challenge exacerbated by systemic factors.


Residents like Angie Branham expressed gratitude for the initiative, recognizing the tangible impact it will have on their families. Branham, a long-time resident of the reservation, underscored the significance of the venison donation in supplementing their dietary needs, especially given the economic constraints that limit opportunities for hunting.

Brezeale emphasized that the donation of deer meat not only addresses immediate food needs but also serves as a cultural and educational resource for the community, reconnecting them with traditional indigenous foods and cooking practices.

Acknowledging the historical impact of colonization on indigenous food systems, Brezeale expressed hope for continued collaboration with Tega Cay to expand the program and provide further assistance to tribal citizens.

The upcoming rounds of deer culling, scheduled to take place from dusk until dawn this week, highlight ongoing efforts to manage the deer population responsibly. Additionally, city staff will present non-lethal options for deer management at an upcoming meeting, underscoring a commitment to exploring comprehensive solutions to wildlife management challenges.



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