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 2022-23, 18,022 pounds of game meat were provided to needy families through SDSAH and local food relief agencies. This meat was primarily a result of sportsmen and sportswomen donation of 156 deer, 2 antelope, 1,499 pheasants, 2,466 Canada geese, and 356 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 1,023,023 pounds of game meat to needy families. That's 4,092,000 meals of meat for the hungry! However, we need even more help!
Noteworthy in 2023
The goose donation program will again include the August Management Take season of August 19 – 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 NOT require any testing of donated deer and elk for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). However, persons obtaining donated deer and elk meat from a food pantry will see a “Notice” on the burger bag that the enclosed processed meat has not been tested for disease or lead contamination. In general, hunters do not harvest animals that appear sick, and processors do not process game meat that does not look healthy. In regard to CWD, according to health officials there is no evidence that CWD is transmissible from deer or elk to humans. None the less, there is some risk of donated game meat coming from a diseased or contaminated animal. Therefore, clients of food pantries should decide for themselves if they want to obtain the meat for consumption.
Click here to learn more about how you can help feed more families!