Donating deer meat an option to help ease hunger

Column by Brandon Butler

GiveIN Game allows deer hunters the opportunity to donate a deer or a portion of a deer to fellow Hoosiers who may need the meat to feed their family.

Doing so provides healthy, nutritious meat to individuals or families that otherwise may do without. It’s a program hunters should be very proud, and one I hope you will participate in.

Each year, I try to find new ways to encourage hunters to participate by donating a whole deer or a portion of their deer to the program. Hunger is a real issue for too many Hoosiers. Food pantries across the state do their best to help those in need, but sometimes there just isn’t enough supply to satisfy the demand. Especially in terms of meat.

Grains, starches, cereals and other non-perishables are more readily available but protein rich red meat is much harder to obtain. GiveIN Game Program is great a source of meat for families across Indiana.

A friend of mine recently told me about an experience he had dealing with a 7-year old boy who was rationing food, so he could make what little he had last over Christmas Break.

No child in America should be faced with such a dire situation. As hunters, we have an opportunity to help. I recall an experience I had with a few waitresses in restaurant who told me they wished they could get their hands on some donated venison because they are laid off in the winter months and times can be tough.

It was a moment I’ll never forget because this is when I realized hunger is not isolated to the homeless or most indigent people among us. Hardworking Hoosiers sometimes can’t make ends meet. Single mothers working two jobs still need a little help. As a hunter, I am proud to support my community. I hope all hunters feel the same way.

“To know I am representing hunters in a good way while helping my neighbors is a great feeling. The meat you donate is likely going to somebody living just a few miles down the road from you. This is what being a good neighbor is all about,” said bowhunter, Darren Haverstick.

Would you be willing to lead an effort to increase donations this year to GiveIN Game? You can be a leader amongst your friends at deer camp, your church or any other community you’re part of. See if you can set a goal of deer donations and strive to reach it. Could the hunters in your church collectively donate 20 deer? I bet they could, and would, if you organized and managed the effort. Hunters can certainly increase the number of deer donated annually to the program. Think of all the pounds of meat that would be distributed to those who may otherwise go hungry.

Hunters have traditionally been providers for their community. Through GiveIN Game, this continues. Hunters are able to share the bounty of wild game with those who might otherwise go hungry. It’s an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact on society, close to home. I hope you will donate to GiveIN Game this fall.

All you have to do to participate is go on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website and register as hunter willing to donate a deer. You also can register as someone in need. Once you are matched, just follow the rules on the DNR website. There is no fee to participate. All the information you need is found here:

See you down the trail…

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