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Meat from deer culled in Tega Cay will help address food insecurity

TEGA CAY, S.C. — Much of the meat from deer culled in a South Carolina city will be used to address food insecurity within a local community.

This week, a sharpshooter will once again take out deer in Tega Cay. It’s part of the city’s plan to address a deer overpopulation problem there. 160 of the animals are slated to be culled.

Channel 9′s Tina Terry learned a lot of the venison from the deer is being donated to the Catawba Nation. It’s a decision the tribe’s chief said he’s also on board with. He said the meat they’ve received so far will help fight food insecurity on the reservation.

Terry visited the Catawba Nation on Tuesday. There, she saw white grocery bags filled with hundreds of pounds of deer meat that will soon help nourish people in need.

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“One of the things we’re intending to do with the meat is get it to our senior center and get it to our Boys & Girls Club, or Early Head Start,” said Hayley Brezeale, the food sovereignty coordinator for the tribe.

Brezeale said about 2,400 people call the reservation home and more than 20% of them deal with food insecurity.

“In the cases of most reservations, you’re going to see higher rates of food insecurity issues,” she said. “We have a higher average than the general population.”

“Absolutely very grateful for anything to help,” resident Angie Branham said.

Branham has lived on the reservation for 25 years. She said the venison will benefit her family greatly.

“My family does like to hunt when they have the opportunity,” she said.

“Of course with our workforce and trying to make ends meet with today’s economy, it’s tough,” she added. “So we don’t have time to go out to hunting lands.”

Brezeale said the deer meat will also help educate the community, teaching them how to cook a meat that has been a staple of indigenous people.

“We know that colonization greatly impacted our food resources,” she said.

She said her community is grateful for the donation and hopes the partnership with Tega Cay can continue.

“So really, we’d love to continue building a relationship with us and help expand on that program to be able to assist more tribal citizens,” Brezeale said.

The next round of culling will start again from dusk until dawn Tuesday night and Wednesday night.

Terry learned city staff will present non-lethal options to deal with the deer at a meeting later this month.

(WATCH BELOW: Sharpshooter to cull deer population at Tega Cay golf course)