At its recent annual meeting in Custer State Park, the South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) Board of Directors reported that hunters donated 78,735 pounds of game meat to needy individuals and families across the state last year.
Although the total pounds of donated meat dropped 25 percent in 2011, donations in 2010 were record large.
“A reduction of donations in 2011 was not a surprise to us because deer and antelope populations were reduced during severe winters the past few years,” noted Jeff Olson, President of SAH. “It is a double-edged sword for us. One goal of the program is to reduce the number of deer in areas where landowners are having problems, and that part is working well. What we do not like to see is the number of pounds to the needy drop, as demand and need for this meat is high.”
One of the highlights from 2011 was the implementation of a new goose donation program. SAH worked with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to allow hunters to donate geese harvested in the August Management Take. SAH would like to expand donations from other waterfowl seasons and plans to begin discussions with management agencies this summer.
“Those who benefited from the donated meat would like to send a big ‘Thank You’ to all the donors and volunteers for yet another great year for the program,” Olson said. “Many people contributed to the continuing success of SAH this past year, including sportsmen who donated game animals, game processors who worked with us to process the animals, and food pantries that accepted and distributed the donated meat.”
Olson also thanks hunters, private donors and SAH volunteers for their generosity and help in making the program a big success.
To learn more about South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger, visit its website at www.feedtheneedsd.com.