Deers. They're graceful animals admired for their beauty. But in and around Gwinnett County without any real predators, their numbers have grown out of proportion.
To help control the over population, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) encourages the harvesting of anterless deer during the regular hunting season.
But in suburban areas, where hunting with a rifle is illegal, bow hunters can be the most cost effective for deer management in suburban areas.
Controlling the population of deer has a two-fold benefit; deer-related damage to ornamentals and property and deer-vehicle collisions with cars can be reduced, and the meat can help feed many who count on organizations such as the Norcross Co-op to provide food for their families.
It was that second benefit that interested Carson Saville, 25, an avid bowman who grew up in Peachtree Corners. His family, he explained, has always had an interest in philanthropic work.
Saville has taken his passion for the sport and is using it to help provide food to those organizations who can use the meat to feed many.
"We're not just out to hunt for fun," said Saville, who also works in his family's business Saville Public Entity. Saville learned of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, an outreach ministry that uses a renewable resource, in this case deer, to feed the hungry.
Carson signed up to be part of the organization to donate deer meat to non-profit organizations looking for donations to help feed the families who come knocking on their doors for food.
Saville and two team members, who are licensed to hunt, obtain permission from homeowners in the area who are interested in reducing the number of deer on their property to bow hunt on their land. There is no charge to the homeowner, the deer that are killed are then taken to a nearby USDA-qualified meat processing plant and the meat is then donated.
"One deer feeds 200 people," said Saville, who has been bow hunting since he was 12. For Saville, the idea that his work can make a difference was important. "Charity work is very enjoyable to do," he added, "It's good to know that you are really making an impact."
The cost to process the meat from one deer is $40. Saville and his team deliver the meat to the processor and pays the processing charge, but he hopes to collect donations from those who would like to help.
- Just two deer without predation can produce a head of up to 35 deer in just seven years.
- According to the GDNR, the deer population in Georgia exceeds 1.2 million.
- Breeding season (called "the rut") extends from October to January and peaks in November.
- High deer numbers are a serious concern because they can destroy their own habitat and that of dozens of other species, even causing extirpation of plant species.
- In 2011, more than 300 people were injured in deer collisions according to the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, and a total of 1,000 people have died in similar accidents between 2006 and 2010.