There isn’t an award for the person who has the most meat in their freezer at the end of the season.
How many times have you found packages of old venison from prior seasons sitting in the back of your freezer, untouched? It’s not uncommon and it’s happened to many of us. Let me be honest, I’m guilty of this myself and have made a promise to never make this mistake again after learning just how many people don’t have food in this country.
With roughly 14% of households being food insecure in 2014, having the ability to donate fresh meat can make a difference to those in need of a good meal.
With several different organizations offering venison donation services throughout the nation, hunters across the country should make a conscious effort to donate as much as possible each season. In 2014, Feeding America estimated that there were roughly 48.1 million Americans that were either low on food supplies or did not have a secure food source. As hunters, we have the means each season to make a real difference to those in need.
With several states throughout the country providing multiple harvest tags for deer hunters, and probably more tags if you’re a bowhunter, donating one deer can go further then you can imagine. Depending on your own need for meat and how successful you are in filling your tags, donating just one deer to a local venison donation chapter can serve roughly 200 people.
Many butchers that you may already use might be connected with a local food bank, church or other venison donation program. National venison donation organizations such as Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry offer pages online to help find participating butchers by state. Additionally, most states offer lists in the back of each seasons hunting syllabus showing participating butchers. Another helpful website to locate information from each states wildlife office is Where To Hunt.
Last season, I was fortunate enough have venison in my freezer from the start of the season, so when I took a nice buck in late November, I felt like donating the meat was the best thing to do. When I went to donate the buck to the local food bank, the butcher was kind enough to prepare my cape free of charge and returned the backstraps to me, all for donating the deer to the hungry. Helping those in need of a good meal and getting a cape and backstraps for free, that’s a win-win for everyone.
With the holiday season upon us, give the gift of a meal this season and donate your next deer to your local food bank, every deer makes a difference.