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 100,000 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.
At the same time, the deer and antelope populations in most areas of the state exceed population goals. Each year, many deer and antelope hunting licenses remain unsold, which results in a deer and antelope harvest that is too low for controlling the populations. If hunters purchase additional deer and antelope licenses and donate more harvested deer and antelope to needy families through South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger (SDSAH), the result would be a win-win situation!
Hunters have been responding to these needs for increased deer and antelope harvest, and have increased meat donation especially in recent years. In fall and winter 2012-13, 64,966 pounds of game meat were provided to needy families through SDSAH and local food relief agencies. This meat was primarily a result of hunters donating 1,262 deer, 18 antelope, 3,481 pheasants and 8,187 Canada geese. 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 700,415 pounds of venison to needy families. That's 2,801,660 meals of meat for the hungry! However, we need even more help!
Noteworthy in 2013
Due to the success of a Canada goose donation program for geese harvested in the 2012 August Management Take and Early Fall Canada Goose Season, and due to Canada goose populations in the eastern one-fourth of the state still being over-abundant, the donation program was expanded once more to include all Canada geese taken during a special April goose management program. Continued in 2013 will be the opportunity to donate Canada geese taken during the August Management Take dates of August 3 - 31 and September 1 - 20 of the Early Fall Canada goose season. (For hunting regulations go to "South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks" under "Links" on this SDSAH website)
Hunters are encouraged to take Canada geese as allowed and, if surplus to the hunter's own use, to donate the extra birds to needy families through designated goose processors where the processing costs will be paid by SDSAH through use of goose processing certificates available from the processors. Processed goose meat will be delivered from the processors to food relief agencies for distribution to needy families.