South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger

The mission of South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger is to encourage and facilitate donation of wild game meat to needy people in South Dakota.

South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger News


By: Ron Fowler, South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger, August 21, 2017

Donation of game meat to families in need increased again in 2016 with a modest increase in donations by hunters and significant increase in meat donation through the Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) salvage processing program.

Deer hunters continued to show interest in, and play an important part in, donation of game meat through SAH to food pantries across the state. Total harvested deer which were donated increased from 348 in 2015 to 397 in 2016. These numbers included 256 antlerless deer in 2016 compared with 204 antlerless deer in 2015. The antlerless deer were donated through the SAH processing certificate program in which a processing certificate completed and submitted by the hunter to a participating SAH game processor paid for most or all of the processing cost. The processing certificate program will again be available to hunters in 2017.

The SAH salvage processing program has always been an important program in that funding has been available to pay for processing of salvageable game carcasses provided by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and other game management agencies. This game has included road-kills, confiscated game, euthanized research animals, culled animals from a National Wildlife Refuge, and animals taken in city deer reduction programs.

The amount of processed salvaged game meat received a huge boost this past winter when Wind Cave National Park conducted an elk herd reduction program from which harvested elk were processed and the meat provided to food pantries and other charitable food distributors affiliated with Feeding South Dakota. SAH was one of several funding partners which paid for processing of these salvaged elk.

Sportsmen and sportswomen also donated a variety of other types of game this past year including 7 antelope, 1,895 Canada geese, 1,831 pheasants, 1 buffalo and 237 walleyes. The total amount of processed donated game and fish meat provided to food pantries from all sources, including game meat food drives, increased from 31,512 pounds in 2015 to 48,174 pounds in 2016, and this meat was made available to families in need throughout the state..

In addition to recognizing those individuals and wildlife management agencies who donated game animals and fish, credit needs to be given to those hunters who donated considerable cash to SAH through the GFP license application check-off system. SAH would also like to acknowledge the corporations, foundations, organizations, and government entities who also provided funding to SAH for the primary purpose of paying for processing of certain donated game. The large variety and amount of support for SAH translates into much-appreciated game meat for families in need.

For more information on Sportsmen Against Hunger go to website

OUR VIEW: Despite EHD, consider Sportsmen Against Hunger

By: Daily Republic Editorial Board, November 1, 2016

November is a time when many outdoor enthusiasts start ramping up their efforts with deer hunting.

The bowhunting season is already several weeks old, West River opens Nov. 12 and East River is the following weekend. Deer hunting is a way many youth become exposed to the outdoors. It's a great tradition in South Dakota, and the sport helps for the future of our outdoor activities. Deer hunters provide an important revenue source for management and conservation as 2014 brought in approximately $4.8 million in license revenue.

Though, perhaps the most under-the-radar aspect of deer hunting in South Dakota is that it brings thousands of meals to needy families.

According to the most recent South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Conservation Digest magazine, it's been 10 years since the South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger program first partnered with GF&P.

During that time, 684,000 pounds of venison has resulted in about 2.61 million meals to families across the state. In 2010, the banner year of the program, 104,000 pounds of ground venison was donated.

That's simply phenomenal.

This year, though, doesn't look as optimistic for the lesser-known food donation program. GF&P has reported there's been a significant hit to deer populations again due to epizootic hemorrhagic disease, which has affected a significant population of white-tailed deer in eastern South Dakota.

GF&P has scaled back many of the leftover deer licenses due to EHD, which could mean bad news for Sportsmen Against Hunger and its intake of meat this year. Typically, many of the deer previously donated were from extra tags.

Still, we hope deer hunters who harvest an animal this year consider donating even a small portion to Sportsmen Against Hunger. One pound of venison burger can feed a family of four, so every pound counts.

There are more than 30 big game donation locations in South Dakota, with meat processors scattered across the state.

Sportsmen Against Hunger is a program that's accomplished great philanthropic efforts already. While this year may be a down season for deer licenses, we hope everyone considers donating to this worthy cause.


By: Ron Fowler, Sportsmen Against Hunger, September 1, 2016

As predicted a year ago the number of deer donated to needy families through South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) increased in 2015 (348) compared with 2014 (306). The same prediction is being made for 2016 in that the number of deer hunting licenses and tags are again being increased by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks in many areas of South Dakota. Increased donation of deer, as well as other game, is also expected due to increasing awareness of SAH, the shortage of meat by needy families, and the opportunities for donating game meat to these families in need.

Plus, in continuing to carry out its mission of encouraging and facilitating donation of wild game meat to needy people in South Dakota, SAH is increasing the value of its processing certificates in 2016 for donated doe/antlerless deer and doe/fawn antelope. This is expected to increase the number of SAH game processors which will accept the processing certificate as full payment for processing of these donated game. And this, in turn, is expected to increase the incentive and convenience for hunters to donate more doe/antlerless deer and doe/fawn antelope at no cost.

Credit for increased game donations not only goes to hunters who donated the game but who also donated cash. Through the small game and big game license application check-off provision for donating cash to SAH, hunters donated enough cash in 2015 to cover nearly all of the processing certificates received from hunters by game processors and submitted to SAH for reimbursement. This amounted to over $47,000.

Included in the hunters to be credited are those who donated game for which there was no processing certificate and therefore paid the full processing fee. This included buck deer, buck antelope, pheasants and game taken out-of-state. These hunters paid (donated) over $13,500 in processing costs for these donated game.

Total game donations in 2015 included 348 deer, 6 antelope, 2,832 pheasants, and 2,605 Canada geese. Sources of other game meat were game meat food drives as well as salvaged road-killed and confiscated game. Total amount of processed game meat provided to needy families through food pantries and other charitable food distributors was 31,512 pounds in 2015. This translates to over 126,000 meals of game meat for needy families.

Canada Goose Donation Period Shortened

By: Ron Fowler, Sportsmen Against Hunger, July 11, 2016

The time period during which Canada geese may be harvested and donated to needy families through Sportsmen Against Hunger has been shortened in 2016. The Department of Game, Fish and Parks has eliminated the August Management Take for Canada geese this year, and delayed the start of the Early Fall Canada Goose Season. This leaves September 3 Ė 16, 2016, of the Early Fall Canada Goose Season as the dates when hunters may donate harvested Canada geese.

Provisions to allow donation of Canada geese by hunters are a result of a cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, and Sportsmen Against Hunger. Hunters may donate geese by taking their birds to any of the game processors in Bath, Clark, Hecla, Milbank, Renner, Tea, or Waubay.

As in the past, SAH will be paying the total cost of processing donated Canada geese through use of processing certificates which are available from the game processors. Hunters have to simply complete and submit a processing certificate to the game processor at the time geese are delivered. This has proven to be a valuable incentive for hunters to donate.

In 2015, over 2,600 geese were donated which resulted in approximately 3,250 pounds of much-desired goose meat (13,000 meals) being provided to needy families through approximately 20 food pantries in eastern South Dakota.

Hunters who take more Canada geese than what they want for themselves and donate these surplus birds not only provide nutritious meat to appreciative needy families but they also help in management of Canada goose populations. According to the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Canada goose populations exceed population goals in many areas of eastern South Dakota.

Detailed information regarding donation of geese may be found on the SAH website

Sioux Falls police remove 45 deer as part of management program

By: Sioux Falls Argus Leader staff, March 9, 2016

SIOUX FALLS - City officials say efforts to cut down on the Sioux Falls' deer population have been successful.

The South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks recently issued 75 deer tags to Sioux Falls police as part of an updated deer management plan. Police filled 45 of those tags within a five-week period.

According Public Information Officer Sam Clemens, deer removal was focused in two separate areas: the southeast and northeast areas in Sioux Falls. A total of 25 deer were removed from the southeast, and 20 were removed from the northeast. During the allotted timeframe to remove the deer, efforts were hindered by a variety of complications, including adverse weather conditions.

The long-term comprehensive Deer Management Plan for Sioux Falls was developed in cooperation with the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks. The plan involves public education, an ordinance that prohibits deer feeding, and the removal of a limited number of deer. The decision to harvest deer will be evaluated year-to-year by the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, based partly on annual deer counts held in the fall.

Clemens says the goal is not to eliminate all deer in Sioux Falls, but to best manage the health and well-being of the deer that live inside city limits. Some deer recently removed were found to have disease that could affect other deer or even domestic pets. Keeping the deer population in check will help the remaining deer herd stay healthy.

The removed deer were processed in cooperation with Sportsmen Against Hunger. The meat was donated to the needy and totaled about 1,230 pounds.

Parks staff harvests 100 deer within city limits

By:Drew Matthews, Rapid City Journal, February 15, 2016

For six chilly January mornings, Rapid City employees waited for deer to catch the scent of the alfalfa bait and wander into their gun sights.

At the end of the hunt, the city had reached its goal, killing 100 deer in this year's urban deer management program.

According to Lon VanDeusen, Parks Division Manager, this year's harvest was modest. At its peak, the program killed 300.

In 1995 the city started the program to reduce the deer population within city limits, primarily to prevent property damage caused by car accidents and landscape destruction.

The parks team determines the number of deer to be harvested by conducting a yearly trend survey in areas in which deer are usually found. This year's survey was conducted in October with the state Game, Fish & Parks Department. The goal of 100 was down from 150 in 2015.

VanDeusen said, "We are hoping the reduction of deer indicates our program is working."

He added, "We arenít out there to eliminate every deer in town, but just maintain a manageable number."

From Jan. 6 to Jan. 11, in predetermined locations around the city, parks employees used apples and alfalfa to bait and kill the deer. This year, the largest number of deer were harvested near Highway 79 North, at the southeast edge of the city. The deer harvested included mule doe, whitetail buck, and whitetail doe.

Sioux Falls began its own deer management program last year and consulted Rapid City about best practices, according to VanDeusen. For this year's harvest, Sioux Falls expects to bag 75 deer, according to the Police Department, which runs the program.

In total, this year's deer harvest cost the Rapid City taxpayers $11,514. The largest expense, $3,940, came from processing 3,558 pounds of meat.

The ground meat is donated to the Feeding South Dakota food bank in Rapid City.

This year, the meat from the deer harvest was processed in coordination with the nonprofit South Dakota Sportsmen for Hunger, which helped pay for some of the processing fees and coordinated with the food bank.

Sportsmen Against Hunger was formed in 1993 in Rapid City by Dr. Jeff Olson and Dr. Tom Krafka. The goals of the organization are to provide meat to poverty-level families while also reducing the local deer population. The organization has been working with the city for several years to coordinate the deer processing during the yearly thinning. Olson said he is proud of the effort.

"We know where the meat is going," he said, "and it goes to people who really need it."


By: Ron Fowler, South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger, September 5, 2015

Donations of game meat to needy families by hunters through South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) were down in 2014 due to decreased deer harvest but the forecast for 2015 is optimistic. Deer populations are starting to recover from unusually high losses in recent years, and the number of deer hunting licenses for 2015 have been increased in a number of areas including East River and the Black Hills.

In addition to a favorable outlook for deer donations, an additional increasingly significant source of game meat has been Canada geese (during special early seasons) and pheasants. With about equal amounts of Canada geese and pheasants being donated the total increased from about 9,000 pounds in 2013 to over 11,000 pounds in 2014. As populations of these game birds continue to be the same or higher than last year, and as hunters become increasingly aware of the opportunity for donating game birds, donations are expected to continue to increase.

Even though donation of game meat from all sources decreased from 48,100 pounds in 2013 to 37,600 pounds in 2014, the number of meals of meat provided to needy families is still significant (over 150,000 meals in 2014). However, much more is needed. According to Feeding South Dakota, one in eight people of South Dakota live at poverty level and one in five kids go to bed hungry. A primary food shortage is fresh meat which is in high demand and difficult for lower income families to afford. Of particular demand is game meat because of its nutritional value in having low fat and high protein content.

The willingness and ability of hunters to provide this much-needed meat to poverty-level families has continued to grow in relation to opportunity. Additionally, SAH continues to look for and utilize other opportunities for obtaining game meat such as from city deer reduction programs, salvageable road-kills, and game confiscated by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

And with help of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks in publicizing opportunities for donation of game meat through SAH, the 40-plus game processors across the state who process donated game meat at reduced fees (SAH helps pay for processing of antlerless deer), and the numerous food pantries associated with Feeding South Dakota who distribute donated game meat to needy families, the future of SAH being able to arrange for donation of game meat to needy families is promising.


By: Ron Fowler, Sportsmen Against Hunger, August 22, 2014

Since 1993 hunters have donated over 750,000 pounds of game meat to needy families in South Dakota through Sportsmen Against Hunger. This milestone of game meat donation translates to over 3,000,000 meals of meat to those who need it most.

According to Feeding South Dakota, one in eight people of South Dakota live at poverty level and one in five kids go to bed hungry. A primary food shortage is fresh meat which is in high demand and difficult for lower income families to afford. Of particular demand is game meat because of its nutritional value in having low fat and high protein content.

The willingness and ability of hunters to provide this much-needed meat to poverty-level families has continued to grow. Not only has the Sportsmen Against Hunger program grown in number of hunters donating and number of pounds of meat donated but also in variety of meat donated. In addition to the large donations of venison there were, starting in 2006, over 900 pheasants donated which increased to over 3,500 pheasants last year. Beginning in 2011, over 2,000 Canada geese were donated during special early seasons, and now this past year nearly 9,000 geese were donated. In 2013, for the first time, over 500 walleye were donated.

The increasing popularity and success of Sportsmen Against Hunger started in 1993 with the foresight of the Black Hills Sportsmenís Club of Rapid City. Game donation program features developed by Safari Club International provided the basis for organizing SD Sportsmen Against Hunger. The Sportsmen Against Hunger program was further developed and implemented through the work of a couple of Black Hills Sportsmenís Club members. The first years of the program involved less than a dozen game processors who would accept and process game donated by hunters. In the last seven years approximately 50 game processors statewide have participated.

Sportsmen Against Hunger is now a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to encourage and facilitate donation of wild game meat to needy people in South Dakota. In partnership with Feeding South Dakota, Sportsmen Against Hunger provides processed donated game meat to over 75 food pantries across the state annually for distribution to needy families. Although 750,000 pounds of donated game meat is significant, much more is necessary to meet the needs of poverty-level families in South Dakota.

To provide an incentive for hunters to donate game, Sportsmen Against Hunger will again in 2014 pay for most or all of the processing costs for donated antlerless deer and doe/fawn antelope (as well as Canada geese harvested during the August Management Take and a portion of the Early Fall Canada Goose Season). Processing certificates are available from participating game processors for hunters to use to donate animals and to make processing fee payments.