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. One out of five children are at risk of going hungry. 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 and winter 2020-21, 20,086 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 470 deer, 3 antelope, 755 pheasants, 1,182 Canada geese, and 320 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 986,157 pounds of game meat to needy families. That's 3,944,628 meals of meat for the hungry! However, we need even more help!
Noteworthy in 2021
The goose donation program is being expanded to include the August Management Take season of August 21 – 31 and the Early Fall Canada Goose Season of September 1 – 30. The daily limit is 15 and either whole birds or just breast meat can be donated depending on what the participating goose processor will accept.
The deer and elk donation program will again require all donated deer and elk taken west of the Missouri River, plus out-of-state and Sully County east of the Missouri River (added this year), to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Heads of deer and elk to be donated will need to be dropped off at designated CWD Sample Collection Site and the carcass delivered to a SDSAH processor for processing. (See details for donated deer testing and processing under CWD Testing on this website). Hunters who want to collect and submit their own deer tissue sample for CWD testing can obtain a CWD testing kit from any Department of Game, Fish and Parks Regional or District Office.