The mission of South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger is to encourage and facilitate donation of wild game meat to needy people in South Dakota.
One out of every seven persons in South Dakota (or over 120,000 people) live at or below the poverty level according to Feeding South Dakota. About one-half of these people are children and infants. A primary food shortage is fresh meat which is in high demand and difficult to obtain. Of particular demand is game meat because of its nutritional value in having low fat and high protein content.
Even though deer and antelope populations are currently low in many areas of the state, South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger (SDSAH) wants to allow hunters the opportunity to donate deer and antelope if they so desire in order to help needy families. Hunters have responded to needs for increased deer and antelope harvest in the past, and increased meat donation accordingly. And now that deer and antelope populations are lower, hunters have continued to donate game meat to needy families.
In fall, winter and spring 2019-20, 33,201 pounds of game meat were provided to needy families through SDSAH and local food relief agencies. This meat was primarily a result of donation of 675 deer, 17 antelope, 1,059 pheasants, 793 Canada geese, and 184 pounds of cleaned walleye. Other game meat came from community game meat food drives, hunter direct donations of processed meat to food relief agencies, and salvage processing of confiscated or non-hunter killed game.
South Dakota hunters have now donated 966,071 pounds of game meat to needy families. That's 3,864,284 meals of meat for the hungry! However, we need even more help!
Noteworthy in 2020
The deer donation program will be changing to require all donated deer and elk taken west of the Missouri River to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Heads of deer and elk to be donated will need to be dropped off at designated collection site and the carcass delivered to a SDSAH processor for processing. (See details for donated deer and elk testing under “Donated Deer CWD Testing” on this website). Hunters who want to want to collect and submit their own deer or elk tissue sample for CWD testing can obtain a CWD testing kit from any Department of Game, Fish and Parks Regional or District Office.