Although I’m an admitted meat hoarder, with a full freezer to prove it, I also believe there is no more noble thing a hunter can do than donate part of his annual take to those in need. Whether you go through an established organization such as Farmers and Hunters for the Hungry, or merely pass along a few pounds of deer meat to a local family, the act will surely count in your favor at the Pearly Gates. And if you’re like me, you need every check in the Pro column you can get. In case Peter has any questions about donating wild game, here’s a short list of facts to bolster your case.
1. In most areas, donating venison is a fairly painless process thanks in no small part to the many sportsmen-led organizations established to make the transfer easier. If you need more information about where to take your deer, the NRA keeps a clearinghouse of information available just a phone call away at 1-800-492-4868.
2. According to a recent article on The Atlantic website, hunters donated more than 2.6 million pounds of venison in 2009, resulting in 10 million meals served to homeless and needy families.
3. Depending on where you live, the cost of processing donated meat may be subsidized by the local DNR, food bank, or other charitable organization, reducing any cost to the hunter to little or nothing.
4. If there isn’t an established venison-donation organization in your state or area, contact the food bank, which is generally more than happy to take any processed meat off your hands. Or reach out to a nearby church, which may know of local families in need.
5. Consider donating more than just venison. With liberal limits for geese, especially during early- or resident-bird seasons, waterfowlers are often looking for ways to use an abundance of goose meat. A plucked bird makes a great donation around the holidays.