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

S.D. Sportsmen Against Hunger closes in on one million pounds of donated meat

By: Michael Woodel, Piere Capitol Journal, August 14, 2021

South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger announced earlier this month that they are nearing a donation milestone, with one million pounds of game meat since 1993 going to the hungry in cooperation with Feeding South Dakota and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

“Initial emphasis was on encouraging donation of deer and antelope through participating game processors and local food pantries,” an Aug. 5 press release from Field Director Ron Fowler stated. “Through the years increased opportunities were provided by SDSAH for donation of additional game such as Canada geese, pheasants, and walleye. At the same time hunters became more aware of need and demand for game meat by poverty-level families and took advantage of the additional opportunities for donation.”

According to the release, 986,150 pounds of game meat have been donated thus far in cooperation with Feeding South Dakota and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. This puts SDSAH within 14,000 pounds of the million-pound threshold. A total of 20,086 pounds of game meat donated in 2020.

“With continued support from thoughtful hunters the milestone of 1,000,000 pounds of game meat donated to families in need will be reached in 2021,” the release read.

“This is a real milestone, and I think it’s something to be noted by the public, to know the good that’s being done by Sportsmen Against Hunger and know that there’s a lot of meat that’s going to needy families,” Fowler told the Capital Journal. “And we can kind of further describe the impact of it as that each pound of meat is considered to be enough meat for a family of four for a meal. That’s kind of the rule of thumb that Feeding South Dakota uses and in looking at this donated meat, when we’re looking at a million pounds of donated game meat, that’s four million meals for hungry people.”

Fowler said the feeling he gets from delivering donated meat is akin to that of “frosting on a cake.” I do a lot of work, organizing the donation program, working with the game processors, working with Game, Fish and Parks, working with Feeding South Dakota to get everybody on the same page and coordinated,” Fowler said. “Also working with hunters, like I’m doing right now in getting the word out through news releases and website information, that kind of thing to get it all to come together. And like I say, when I can go out and pick up processed meat from a game processor, meat that’s been donated, it’s just frosting on the cake. It’s a real reward for what I’m doing.”

South Dakota expands Canada Goose donation program

By: Trent Abrego, Aberdeen News, August 11, 2021

In cooperation with South Dakota Sportsman Against Hunger, the Games, Fish and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have expanded hunting opportunities for Canada goose hunters.

The program was expanded because of the high population of Canada Geese in South Dakota and to increase the donation of surplus harvested geese to families in need, according to a news release.

The expansion will add much of the eastern portion of the state to the Canada goose August Management Take, which would be open for hunting from Aug. 21 to 31. The daily limit is 15 birds per day, with no possession limit. The expansion also lengthens the Early Fall Canada Goose Unit 1 Hunting Season from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30.

Processing for the birds will be free for the hunters who take their geese to participating game processors. If geese can't be donated on the day they are harvested, they can be taken to the hunter's home for cleaning then to a game processor at a later time without evidence of the kind of bird being attached to the breast meat.

After processing, packaged goose burgers will be sent to Feeding South Dakota food banks and associated food pantries.

A description of the open area can be found by visiting https://gfp.sd.gov/goose/.

Locally, Economy Meat Market, in Bath and Jorgenson Meat Processing, in Waubay, are two of the participating game processors. Economy Meat Market accepts breast meat only, while Jorgenson Meat Processing accepts whole birds. Economy Meat Market can be reached at 605-225-9680. Jorgenson Meat Processing can be contacted at 605-947-4460.

Sportsmen Against Hunger Nears Game Donation Milestone

By: Ron Fowler, South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger, August 5, 2021

Established in 1993, South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger (SDSAH), in cooperation with Feeding South Dakota (FSD) and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (SDSGFP), has continued to provide a means for hunters to provide nutritious game meat to families in need. The result has been donation of 986,150 pounds of game meat since SDSAH inception, or near the milestone of 1,000,000 pounds.

Initial emphasis was on encouraging donation of deer and antelope through participating game processors and local food pantries. Through the years increased opportunities were provided by SDSAH for donation of additional game such as Canada geese, pheasants, and walleye. At the same time hunters became more aware of need and demand for game meat by poverty-level families and took advantage of the additional opportunities for donation.

To provide more incentive for hunters to harvest and donate antlerless deer, doe/fawn antelope and Canada geese in cooperation with SDGFP game management objectives, SDSAH developed a Processing Certificate Program to help hunters pay for processing of these donated game. Upon donation at a SDSAH game processor, hunters would complete a processing certificate and give it back to the processor which would cover most or all of the processing cost of the donated game. Processors would submit the completed processing certificates to SDSAH for reimbursement. A primary source of funding to support the Processing Certificate Program has been cash donations received from hunters through the SDGFP hunting license application check-off system.

To supplement hunter donation of game meat, SDSAH developed a salvage processing program whereby arrangements were developed with entities such as SDGFP for acceptance and processing of salvageable road-killed game, confiscated game, etc. Agreements were also made with cities for accepting game taken in population reduction programs, cost-sharing the processing costs, and providing the processed meat to FSD food banks.

In 2020, sportsmen and sportswomen donated 118 antlerless deer, 59 buck deer, 2 doe/fawn antelope, 755 pheasants, and 465 walleye. A total of 276 deer from Rapid City and Ellsworth Air Force Base deer reduction programs were salvage processed. Hunters also donated 459 pounds of game meat through SDSAH food drives. Total amount of game meat donated from all sources in 2020 was 20,086 pounds.

With continued support from thoughtful hunters the milestone of 1,000,000 pounds of game meat donated to families in need will be reached in 2021.

South Dakota Canada Goose Donation Program Expanded

By: Ron Fowler, South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger, July 13, 2021

South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in cooperation with South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) are encouraging Canada goose hunters to take advantage of expanded hunting opportunities which will allow greater harvest of Canada geese and then hopefully also increase donation of surplus harvested geese to families in need.

One expansion is the adding much of eastern South Dakota to the Canada goose August Management Take area which would be open for hunting from August 21 – 31, 2021. The daily limit would be 15 birds per day with no possession limit. A description of the open area can be found on the GFP website gfp.sd.gov/goose and in the 2021 GFP Hunting and Trapping Handbook.

Another change is the lengthening of that portion of the Early Fall Canada Goose Unit 1 Hunting Season in which geese can be donated. The new dates would be September 1 – 30, 2021, with a daily limit of 15. The changes being implemented are due to South Dakota currently having a resident Canada goose population that is above the population objective and causing excessive damage to agricultural crops and urban landscapes as well as creating public safety issues to airports.

Hunters may donate harvested Canada geese by taking their geese to participating game processors who will process the birds at no cost to the hunters, and who will deliver the processed and packaged goose burger to Feeding South Dakota food banks and associated food pantries. SAH will pay for the processing through SAH Processing Certificates provided to hunters by processors for completing and giving back to the processor.

Hunters will need to check the SAH website (www.feedtheneedsd.com) or GFP website (sdgfp.maps.arcgis.com), or call toll-free (800) 456-2758, for names and locations of goose processors and to find out if a particular processor will accept whole birds or just the breast meat.

If geese cannot be donated the day they are harvested, they can be taken to the hunter’s home for cleaning and the breast meat delivered by the hunter to a processor for donation at a later time without evidence of kind of bird being attached to the breast meat.

Game processors participating the Sportsmen Against Hunger Canada goose donation program include:

*Economy Meat Market, Bath, SDPhone: 225-9680
*Ol’ Mill Meats, Milbank, SDPhone: 432-5433
*Dakota Butcher, Watertown, SDPhone: 878-3336
*Dakota Butcher, Madison, SDPhone: 556-0169
*Spilde Quality Meats, Rapid City, SDPhone: 219-6929
Waldner Specialty Meats, Milbank, SDPhone: 432-6100 or 467-0744
Piedmont Cutting Edge Meats, Piedmont, SDPhone: 787-9547
Jorgenson Meat Processing, Waubay, SDPhone: 947-4460
Dakota Butcher, Clark, SDPhone: 532-6328
* Accepts breast meat only, not whole birds.

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.