Donate Your Deer

In 2009, American hunters donated at least 2,602,863 pounds of game meat to local food banks, providing some 10,389,912 meals to the needy. Most of it was deer venison, though antelope, elk, moose, pheasants and waterfowl were also donated. That's according to the National Rifle Association (NRA), which operates the "Hunters for the Hungry Information Clearinghouse." Actual donation totals of game meat are undoubtedly higher: the NRA surveyed the 127 organizations in its clearinghouse, but dozens of other non-clearinghouse groups weren't included.
To better understand how venison donations can have an impact at the local level, just look at Tennessee's 2009-2010 deer hunt: while the total harvest was down a statistical smidge, approximately 2,000 deer, the amount of venison donated by hunters to local food banks surged by 30 percent, to just over 100,000 pounds. "In our state, Hunters for the Hungry (HFH) venison is one of the very few sources of meat being provided to our food banks," notes Chad Whittenburg, who oversees the Hunters for the Hungry program for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. "And the time it's being donated--the winter--is when people really need it, too."
As in most states, Tennessee hunters take their deer to meat processors that prepare the venison at a reduced rate. Venison goes to the food banks, while hunters can deduct the processing fees from their taxes.
A closer look at Tennessee:
Tennessee Hunters For The Hungry, 2009-2010 Deer Season
100,888 pounds of venison donated
403,500 meals provided
1,715 deer donated
54 Counties represented
70 meat processors in program
$35,900 to operate HFTH program that year
Most hunter-donated venison is ground up, and served in a Hamburger-Helper®-type meal; a quarter pound of venison equals one serving.
"In 2009, our Coordinators were responsible for distribution of 429,850 pounds of protein-rich meat," notes Josh Wilson, Operations Director for Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. "Most of the donations are venison, but we also receive elk, buffalo, and some livestock. This equates to over 1.7 million quarter-pound servings distributed through food banks, soup kitchens, shelters, and ministries."
"Venison's very high in protein and low in fat, so it's a much needed item at many of our food banks," says Ross Frazer of Feeding America, a Chicago-based food charity network. That need's growing. In 2007, Feed America helped supply 25 million Americans with meals. By 2010, in the midst of an economic downturn, 37 million people needed Feed America meals.
Venison donations aid deer management--and vice versa. Consider Pennsylvania, where Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH), one of the country's flagship programs, began in 1991. Today, Pennsylvania hunters contribute 93,000 pounds of venison annually via HSH. State efforts to lower deer numbers by bigger antlerless harvests help the donation totals, as hunters seem more likely to donate when they have extra tags.
"Hunter interest in the program remains high and is growing as multiple deer tags are available," says John Plowman, HSH executive director. "Ninety-five percent of HSH donated deer are antlerless deer."
National Donation Groups
National Rifle Association Hunters for the Hungry Information Clearinghouse: 800-492-4868 Safari Club International Sportsmen Against Hunger: 800-377-5399; 520-620-1220 x480 United Sportsmen of America: 517-750-3640 Buckmasters Project Venison: 800-240-3337 x233 Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 301-739-3000 Photo: David Restivo
Where to Donate: SOUTH REGION
ALABAMA

Hunters Helping the Hungry: 334-242-3467 Statewide ARKANSAS
Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 501-282-0006 Statewide FLORIDA
North Florida Sportsmen Against Hunger, Tom Sanders: 904-221-1373 North Florida
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 850-587-2467 Escambia County; 863-441-1364 Highlands, Glades Counties; ghsheheane@yahoo.com Leon County; 941-722-7914 Manatee County; 863-644-6883 Polk and Marion Counties. GEORGIA
Hunters for the Hungry, processor collection locations: http://www.georgiawildlife.com/node/330 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 770-547-9744 Bartow, Floyd, Gordon Counties; 770-633-9210 Bibb, Monroe, Twiggs Counties; 678-347-6608 Dawson, Forsyth Counties. KENTUCKY
Hunters for the Hungry, Mike Ohlmann: 502-448-1309 Statewide LOUISIANA
Buckmasters - Project Venison, Beth Gregory: 800-240-3337 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 303-520-4113 St. Tammany Parish Photo: Emery_Way
South Continued
MISSISSIPPI

Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 601-540-1965 Madison County NORTH CAROLINA
Hunters for the Hungry: 919-782-5333 Statewide
Sportsmen Against Hunger, Robert Gaskin: 704-544-7950 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding The Hungry: 828-337-5195 Buncombe, McDowell Counties; 336-847-1443 Davidson County; 828-625-9927 Rutherford, Henderson Counties; 336-401-2688 Surry County.
North Carolina Bowhunters Association, deer donation registry: NCBA1975@triad.rr.com, Statewide SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry: 864 585-9218 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 803-725-0561 Aiken County; 843-509-0699 Berkeley; Charleston Counties; 803-496-3573 Orangeburg; Calhoun Counties; 803-782-0986 Richland County. TENNESSEE
Hunters for the Hungry/Tennessee Wildlife Federation: 615-353-1133 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 731-738-1161 Lauderdale County; 931-561-7921 Montgomery County; 615-374-0237 Trousdale County. VIRGINIA
Hunters for the Hungry: 800-352-4868 Statewide WEST VIRGINIA
Hunters Helping the Hungry/West Virginia Wildlife Resources, Jerry Westfall: 304-558-2771 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 301-991-8066 Berkeley County
NEW ENGLAND REGION
CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Food Bank: 203-469-5000 Statewide
Connecticut Foodshare: 860-286-9999 Hartford and Tolland Counties
Hunt To Feed: Hunters Helping the Hungry, Patricia Richardson: 203-305-1924 Statewide MAINE
Maine State Hunters for the Hungry: 888-4-DEERME Statewide
Maine Sportsmen Against Hunger, Vicki Moriarty: 207-688-6200 Statewide MASSACHUSETTS
Food Bank of Western Massachusetts: 413-247-9738 NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire Food Bank: 603-669-9725 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 603-483-2356 Rockingham, Hillsborough Counties
**
RHODE ISLAND**
Rhode Island Hunters and Fishermen for the Hungry, Christine Dudley, Division of Fish and Wildlife: 401-789-0281 Statewide Photo: glaciernps
EAST COAST REGION
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 202-841-2056 DELAWARE
Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger/Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife: 302-739-9912 Statewide MARYLAND
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 301-223-5518 Allegany, Garrett, Washington Counties; 410-374-2793 Baltimore, Carroll, Howard, Montgomery Counties; 301-536-2742 Calvert, Charles, Prince George's, St. Mary's Counties; 443-262-6655 Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Worcester Counties; 301-663-8316 Frederick County. NEW JERSEY
Hunters Helping the Hungry: joe.swigonski@huntershelpingthehungry.org or les.giese@huntershelpingthehungry.org Statewide
NORWESCAP Food Bank: 908-454-7000 Northwest New Jersey
The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties: 732-918-2600 Monmouth and Ocean Counties
United Bowhunters of New Jersey, Jack Chellew: 908-835-1325 or Richard Wolven at 908-788-8073 Statewide NEW YORK
Venison Donation Coalition: 866-862-DEER Statewide
Food Bank of Central New York: 315-437-1899 North/Central
New York State Conservation Council Hunters Helping the Hungry: 315-894-3302 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 607-765-8071 Statewide PENNSYLVANIA
Hunters Sharing the Harvest: 717-545-1188 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 267-884-4141 Bucks County; 717-533-1114 Dauphin and Lancaster Counties; 814-449-0245 Erie County.
Delaware Valley Sportsmen Against Hunger, Gary Sturtz: 215-646-1249 Delaware Valley Photo: chefranden
MIDWEST REGION
ILLINOIS

Sportsmen Against Hunger/Illinois DNR: 217-785-5091 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 217-826-5392 Coles, Clark Counties; 217-279-3043 Crawford County; 217-821-3619 Effingham, Shelby Counties; 309-593-2030 Henry, Mercer, Rock Island Counties; 618-363-5969 Jasper, Effingham Counties; 618-775-6321 Marion, Washington Counties. INDIANA
Sportsmen Against Hunger: 317-638-5385 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: http://www.fhfh.org/Home.asp Click on "Local FHFH." More than 70 counties enrolled.
Food Finders Food Bank: 765-471-0062 Northwestern Indiana IOWA
Iowa DNR: Help Us Stop Hunger, Stacy Olson: 515-281-0402 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 515-310-0044 Hamilton County; 319-986-6109 Henry County; 319-321-2314 Cedar, Muscatine, & Rock Island (IL) Counties. KANSAS
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 316-650-0446 Sedgwick County
Kansas City Sportsmen Against Hunger, Bryan Schanze: 913-980-5503, Kansas City Area
Kansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry, Tony DeRossett: 913-485-9622 Statewide MICHIGAN
Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger: 586-552-6517 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 989-915-9196 Crawford, Roscommon Counties; 517-581-9652 Jackson, Hillsdale Counties; 810-710-0790 St. Clair, Sanilac, Tuscola, Huron Counties. MINNESOTA
Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Betty Wilkens: 320-679-1607 Statewide
Bluffland Whitetails Association, Jack Peck: 507-289-3874 Southern Minnesota
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, Karl Pixler: 763-552-3030 Statewide
Minnesota Sportsmen Against Hunger, Don Liepold: dliepold@integra.net Statewide Photo: kansasphoto
MIDWEST 2
MISSOURI

Share the Harvest/Missouri Dept. of Conservation: 573-751-4115
Statewide Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 816-273-4528
Buchanan and Davis Counties Central Missouri Food Bank Central: 573-474-1020
Northeastern Missouri Sportsmen Against Hunger, Earl Cannon: 573-582-0656 Central Missouri NEBRASKA
Deer Exchange Program, Nebraska Game and Parks: 402-471-0641 Statewide NORTH DAKOTA
Sportsmen Against Hunger/North Dakota Community Action Partnership: 701-232-2452 Statewide OHIO
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: http://www.fhfh.org/Home.asp Click on "Local FHFH." More than 70 counties are enrolled.
Sportsmen Against Hunger, Mark Wehinger: 614-876-9988 Central Ohio
Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks: 614-221-4336 Statewide OKLAHOMA
Hunters Against Hunger: 405-522-6279 Statewide SOUTH DAKOTA
Sportsmen Against Hunger: 800-456-2758 Statewide WISCONSIN
Wisconsin Deer Donation 2010, Wisconsin DNR: 608-267-7974 Statewide
Hunt for the Hungry, Lee Dudek; 920-655-1284 Statewide
SOUTHWEST REGION **
**ARIZONA

Northern Arizona Food Bank/Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry:928-526-2211 Northern Arizona CALIFORNIA
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 408-393-8342 Santa Clara & Sonoma Counties
Orange County Sportsmen Against Hunger, Jim Dahl: 949- 453-5108 Southern California
San Francisco Bay Sportsmen Against Hunger: 650-697-6538 San Francisco Area COLORADO
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 720-219-1901 Denver Metro Counties; 303-840-9134 Denver and Central Counties; 970-989-5531 Garfield County.
Food Bank of the Rockies: 303-371-9250 Denver Area NEVADA
Sportsmen Against Hunger, Safari Club International Northern Nevada Chapter: 775-843-9109 Reno and Northern Nevada TEXAS
Hunters for the Hungry/Texas Association of Community Action Agencies: 800-992-9767 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry 512-350-4011 Austin Area: 512-738-6625 Bexar County
Houston Food bank: 713-223-3700, Houston
Hunters' Harvest, Cathy Lawdanski: 281-320-8259 Statewide Photo: duanephoto99
WEST REGION
ALASKA
Alaskan Hunters Fighting Hunger & Hunters for the Hungry: 907-272-3663 Anchorage; 907-457-4273 Fairbanks: 907-262-3111 Kenai Peninsula. IDAHO
Treasure Valley Sportsmen Against Hunger, Jack Lupien: 208-830-7414 Treasure Valley MONTANA
Montana Food Bank Network: 406-721-3825 Statewide
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 406-442-6789 Beaverhead, Butte-Silver Bow, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Ravalli Counties; 406-861-3235 Yellowstone County. OREGON
Sportsmen Against Hunger Portland Chapter: 503-400-1710 Portland
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry: 541-410-2813 Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake Counties; 509-386-2611 Umatilla County UTAH
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, Kelly Bingham: 801-726-2598 Statewide
Utah Sportsmen Against Hunger, Jack Sheffey: 801-209-2087 Statewide WASHINGTON
Sportsmen Against Hunger Northwest Chapter: 253-840-4980 Statewide Photo: Dawn Huczek
CANADA
NOVA SCOTIA

Feed Nova Scotia: 902-457-1900 Province

Each year hunters donate millions of pounds of venison to those who are less fortunate. Find out where you can donate your deer this season.