The mission of South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger is to encourage and facilitate donation of wild game meat to needy people in South Dakota.
Sportsmen Against Hunger Changes Deer Donation Program
By: Ron Fowler, South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger, August 5, 2020
The Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) deer donation program will change in 2020 in that all deer and elk taken west of the Missouri River or out-of-state for donation in South Dakota must be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) before they can be processed.
Even though public health officials have found no link between CWD and any neurological disease in humans, the SAH Board of Directors still wants to start taking steps to minimize risk of human exposure to CWD by testing donated deer and elk coming from out-of-state or the area of South Dakota where CWD is known to occur. The ultimate goal of SAH is to prevent all processed donated meat going to food pantries from coming from harvested deer or elk testing positive for CWD.
To accomplish the CWD testing of donated deer and elk harvested west of the Missouri River or out-of-state, additional cooperation and effort is being asked of hunters and game processors. Details on the CWD testing procedure can be found on the SAH website www.feedtheneedsd.com. For hunters who want to collect tissue samples from their own deer or elk for CWD testing, CWD testing kits may be obtained, ideally ahead of time, from any Department of Game, Fish and Parks Regional or District Office.
Donation of deer taken east of the Missouri River in South Dakota during any hunting season may be donated at any participating SAH game processor without testing for CWD. Location of participating SAH game processors is given on the SAH website www.feedtheneedsd.com. Processing Certificates worth $75 for each donated antlerless deer and $65 for each donated doe/fawn antelope will be available to pay for most or all of the processing cost regardless of where the animals are taken in the State.
In 2019, families in need received 33,201 lbs. of donated processed game meat from SAH through Feeding South Dakota and its associated food pantries across the State. This translates into 132,800 meals of meat for poverty-level families. This meat came primarily from 284 thoughtful hunters donating 197 antlerless deer, 132 buck deer, 5 doe/fawn antelope, 2 buck antelope, 27 out-of-state deer and 4 out-of-state antelope through 39 SAH game processors. Meat also came from salvage processing, paid for at least in part by SAH, of 245 deer from the Rapid City deer reduction program, 63 deer from the Sioux Falls deer reduction program, and 21 elk from the Wind Cave National Park elk culling program. In addition, 1,059 pheasants, 793 Canada geese and 341 walleye were donated.
Last but not least, hunters need to be recognized for donating funds to SAH through the Department of Game, Fish and Parks hunting license application check-off system. In recent years these funds have helped SAH to cover the cost of the Processing Certificate Program. The donated funds have also been used towards costs of salvage processing of confiscated game, deer taken in city deer reduction programs, etc. Special credit goes to hunters who paid the full or reduced cost of processing other donated game such as buck deer, buck antelope, and pheasants.
More information on Sportsmen Against Hunger can be found at www.feedtheneedsd.com.
GAME DONATION PROGRAM SUCCESS DUE TO HUNTERS AND PROCESSORS
By: Ron Fowler, South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger, July 12, 2019
For twenty-six years Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) has relied on countless hunters and game processors to provide game meat to families in need through food pantries. Donations of game, especially deer, has continued to grow in relation to hunting opportunities. And game processors across the state continue to cooperate with SAH in processing donated game at reduced rates.
In 2018, 332 hunters donated 214 antlerless deer, 146 buck deer, 9 doe/fawn antelope, and 8 buck antelope. In addition, 1,129 pheasants, 1,059 Canada geese and 141 walleye were donated. Processing of this game, plus game from other sources such as city deer reduction programs resulted in over 31,400 pounds of processed meat. This translates into 125,600 meals of meat for needy families. Total amount of game meat donated since SAH was created is now over 900,000 pounds.
Hunters are also recognized for donating funds to SAH through the Department of Game, Fish and Parks hunting license application check-off system. In recent years these funds have helped SAH to cover the cost of the Processing Certificate Program in which hunters may use processing certificates to pay most or all of the cost of processing donated antlerless deer, doe/fawn antelope and Canada geese. Credit goes to hunters who paid the full or reduced cost of processing other donated game such as buck deer, buck antelope, and pheasants. The donated funds have also been used towards the costs of salvage processing of confiscated game, deer taken in city deer reduction programs, etc.
Success of SAH can be attributed not only to hunters who donated but game processors who have participated in SAH and provided incentive to hunters to donate by reducing the cost of processing donated game. When coupled with the SAH Processing Certificate Program there was often no cost to the hunter. This past year the 40 game meat processors who cooperated with SAH were also instrumental in delivering the processed meat to Feeding South Dakota food banks and to local food pantries which then provided the meat to families in need.
For more information on South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger go to website www.feedtheneedsd.com.
SPORTSMEN AGAINST HUNTER HELPING THOSE IN NEED
By: Geoff Preston, Rapid City Journal staff, August 22, 2018
South Dakota Sportsman Against Hunger recently reported the numbers of donated meat from different species from fall of 2017 to summer of 2018.
According to Ron Fowler, a consultant for South Dakota Sportsman Against Hunger, 614 deer, 21 antelope, 16 elk, 1,739 pheasants, 1,918 Canada geese and 152 walleyes were donated as part of the program.
The total was 34,015 pounds of game meat that was delivered to food pantries either directly or through Feeding South Dakota.
The program allows for hunters to take field-dressed game meat to a participating commercial processor and indicate they want to donate it. If the animal qualifies, the hunter will be issued a big game or goose processing certificate. The big game processing certificate covers up to $65 for the processing fee for doe or antlerless deer and $55 for each fawn antelope or doe.
SAH processors in Western South Dakota include Integrity meats in Belle Fourche, Tri-County Lockers in Newell, Western Buffalo Company in Rapid City, Cutting Edge Meat in Piedmont, Top Pin Archery in Custer, Philip Custom Meats in Philip, Mid-Dakota Meats in Winner, Dan's Last Shot in Colome and Tom's Wild Game Processing in Burke.
Those who have animals and birds who do not qualify for the SAH's certificate may still donate, but will have to cover the cost of processing the animal or bird. Examples include buck deer, buck antelope, pheasants and any game not taken in South Dakota.
From the processor, Fowler said all the food goes to a food pantry. He said they prefer to send the mean to one that is close to the processor, so the food can stay in the community.
Fowler said there are many reasons things that impact how much meat is donated every year, the two biggest are the number of animals taken in a season, how many tags and what kind of tags are given out by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.
He also said there's a lot of reasons why hunters donate meat, but one of the biggest is that it helps families in need.
"They’re being more humanitarian. There’s a lot of needy families out there, so they’re willing to donate for that reason alone," he said. "There’s a number of hunting seasons where they can spend more time hunting for recreation, and so if they take more than they can use for themselves, they can take the meat and donate it. Hunters look at it both ways, it’s a double plus for hunting and being able to donate this way."
He also said in many situations, processors will lower their fee for meat that was donated in order to be covered by SAH's certificate.
"Processors believe in the program as well," he said. "They’re able to lower their fee and not cost the hunters anything which causes them to donate."
In the 21 years the program has existed, SAH President Jeff Olson said the organization has changed, but most of that change has been growth. Another thing that has changed is the Clean Out Your Freezer Food Drive, which had taken place before the beginning of the fall hunting seasons.
Olson said the drive is now a year-long event, where those who have extra game meat can contact Olson to have the game meat donated. He can be reached at his office, which can be reached by calling 605-342-2445.
VARIETY OF GAME MEAT AGAIN DONATED
By: Ron Fowler, South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger, August 20, 2018
Thanks to the interest and effort of many sportswomen and sportsmen, a variety of game meat was again donated in fall of 2017 through South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunters (SDSAH) to families in need across the State. In addition to these hunters the success of this game donation program was made possible by participating game processors and by public food pantries associated with Feeding South Dakota.
Expansion of the SDSAH game donation program over the years to provide this variety of game meat is greatly appreciated by the food pantries since they are better able to meet the requests of needy families. The variety of game donated this past year included 614 deer, 21 antelope, 16 elk, 1,739 pheasants, 1,918 Canada geese, and 152 walleyes. Previously, other game such as buffalo, grouse, and turkey have also been donated. These donations, plus game meat donated through SDSAH food drives, resulted in 34,015 pounds of game meat delivered this past year to food pantries either directly or through Feeding South Dakota food banks for distribution to families in need.
Over 200 hunters took advantage of the SDSAH Processing Certificate Program to pay for processing of donated antlerless deer. Also, over 100 hunters used the SDSAH processing certificates available from participating SDSAH processors to pay processing costs of donated Canada geese. Funds used in backing processing certificates came from nearly 14,000 hunters who made cash donations through the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) hunting license application check-off system. Hunters are encouraged to continue using the SDGFP application check-off cash donation system and the SDSAH Processing Certificate Program.
For more information on South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger go to website www.feedtheneedsd.com.
GAME MEAT DONATIONS INCREASED AGAIN
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 www.feedtheneedsd.com.