The two Alabama men take advantage of liberal doe harvest limits in their home state and other states to contribute nutritious venison to those in need. They film their hunts and donation efforts for their television show, DoeNation. The show airs on the Sportsman Channel and in the Alabama markets of Huntsville and Montgomery. The deer, does and bucks, are processed and packaged in 1-pound packages of ground meat for distribution to those in need, providing nutritious meals they otherwise may not have.
Since creating DoeNation and the ministry, Caudell and Williams have seen more than 7,375 pounds of venison processed and distributed via food banks. More than 29,500 individuals have benefitted from their efforts. During the first three months of Alabama’s long season, for example, they have put 16 does on the ground for about 1,000 pounds of venison.
It’s not just a love of bowhunting, which runs deep. Both have been hunting for years, starting with family members for quail, small game and deer. Once they got into bowhunting it got into their blood. The passion to be in the woods while also helping others hasn’t slowed down one bit. The heart of their ministry is illustrated in Acts 20:35 when Paul tells the Ephesians that “In every way I showed you that by working hard like this we can help those who are weak. Jesus said, ‘We are more happy when we give than when we receive.’”
“It is, 100 percent,” Williams said. “It’s been well received. But it’s not about the ratings or anything like that. Our sole intent is to grow the ministry with like-minded hunters, men and women, to continue this to help it grow. Our initial thought was to expand a county a year here in central Alabama, and work with processors in each county along with identifying food pantries to get food to those who need it. It’s been a blessing for us and others. We put it all in there — backstraps and tenderloins, too — because every little bit helps others.”
Williams said he and Caudell definitely enjoy seeing a big buck and aren’t ignoring them. Like most hunters they get a thrill of a mature whitetail easing within range. They have some leased land in Kentucky where their Moultrie cameras keep them updated on bucks, does and other wildlife. But if a doe walks out first, “we’re not going to pass up on that,” he said. For their show they highlight where they are hunting, discuss the donation ministry and do a short Hunting Grace segment to help spread the gospel. They have partnerships, and seek others, they hope eventually will be able to help pay participating processors something to help defray costs for things such as butcher paper or tape. Donation programs like theirs aren’t new but their ministry aspect is something they believe touches viewers and others who hear about it.
“We felt like it was a calling for us to get more involved,” Williams said. “Our county food pantry was serving about 350 families – not individuals, but families – who were in need, maybe choosing between food and power bills. That’s a reality. Some of the stories were and are heartbreaking, to be honest.”
“We’ve always wanted to grow it nationally, state by state, and believe it will get bigger in its own time,” he added. “We’ve gotten better with our videography and storytelling, I think, and have received a lot of feedback. The positives have outweighed any negatives. We’ve had some tell us that they’ve wanted to get involved with something like this and (our show) was a spark. It’s been very humbling.”
Williams and Caudell have begun the process to establish a non-profit organization. They currently accept donations of deer for DoeNation through participating processors along with financial assistance through their “Donate Now” link on their site. Both men also speak at church events and other gatherings about their efforts.
“We’ve built some relationships,” Williams said. “The Lord has blessed us and we’ve been faithful to Him, and the doors have opened.”
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