After years of using Dawson Forest for hunting ground, members of the Dawson Forest Hunting group on Facebook, which boasts around 4,000 members, decided they wanted to give back to the community that allowed them to hunt on their land.
“Dawson Forest has been a public hunting ground for a long time,” Thien Dang, a member of the Facebook group, said. “We know that as more residents move into the area, we will get people who aren’t as accustomed to hunters. We wanted to find a way to connect with the community to help the people who grew up in Dawsonville.”
So, members began posting on the group’s page to see if anyone had any leftover meat from their trips that could be donated to families in need, specifically in Dawsonville. After a few weekends sitting and collecting meat from local hunters, the group got together several coolers full of venison to deliver to Christ Fellowship Church’s food bank.
“Realistically, it wasn’t something that we planned,” Dang said. “We weren’t sure if it was going to work. Harvesting game meat is really difficult. Asking hunters to donate their harvest is a far-fetched request. Many of them took it to local food processors and had it turned into all different kinds of cuts of meat.”
All the meat was dropped off at the food bank the weekend before Thanksgiving, just in time to provide a Thanksgiving meal for multiple families who may not have had any Thanksgiving meal this year.
“It means a lot,” Dang said. “I’m there through all different hunting seasons. Dawsonville is a city that very few people know about. You do your shopping and dining on 400, but when you get back, there’s this huge plot of land you can do anything on. It’s a hidden gem and us hunters wouldn’t want to see that public outdoor resource disappear...we’d rather reach out and say ‘We’re a part of the community and we want to remain that way as Dawsonville grows.’”
Ideally, the group would like to now make this an annual event and expand past just harvesting game meat.
“We can even do a canned food drive,” Dang said. “Hopefully, it becomes tradition rather than a one-time thing.”