With holiday parties and family get-togethers fast approaching, here’s a great factoid to recite to that non-hunting office mate or anti-hunting auntie who dares to question the great things hunters do in the U.S.—in addition to their obvious conservation and wildlife management contributions, of course.
A new study released November 14 reveals that venison donations made by hunters in 2010 provided approximately 11 million meals to less-fortunate Americans. That translates into nearly 2.8 million pounds of high-protein game meat distributed by various state and national organizations to shelters, food banks, church kitchens and charitable groups.
The study was commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the primary trade association for the shooting, ammunition and outdoor gear industry and was conducted by Mile Creek Communications.
An average-size whitetail can provide about 40 pounds of meat and more than 100 individual meals. Ground venison is a versatile food; used in pasta sauces, chili, tacos, meatloaf, burgers and other dishes.
Several national organizations help fund and coordinate venison donation programs, including Safari Club International, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, and the National Rifle Association. The NRA also provides a useful website with a state-by-state listing of groups and game agencies that aid food banks and distribute game meat to those in need.
“Given our challenging economic times, hunters’ donations of venison have never been more important to so many people,” said NSSF CEO Stephen L. Sanetti. “These contributions are just one way hunting and hunters are important to our way of life in America. Learning about these impressive figures makes me proud to be a hunter. I have donated game meat during the past year, and I urge my fellow hunters to strongly consider sharing their harvest.”
So this deer season, if you have the opportunity to fill and extra tag or to participate in a depredation or state park hunt, consider donating that game meat to your local charity for distribution to those less fortunate folks in your area.
And don’t forget to proudly tell a non-hunter about it.