Hunting season allows us to spend time in the outdoors, to pass on our traditions and to share in the fellowship with other hunters. But hunting can have a very important—though maybe less visible—impact, too: the ability to help some of the less fortunate families and individuals in our communities. Thanks to programs like the NRA's Hunters for the Hungry Game Meat Donation Initiative, millions of pounds of game meat go into the nation’s food bank system every year.
“We consider this a call to action for our NRA members, and non-members alike, to help those in need if at all possible this fall,” said Matthew S. Fleming, national manager of NRA Hunter Services. “Maybe, for example, you’ve already got your freezer full, but you have that extra doe tag. We hope you will go out and fill that tag and donate the venison to a food bank.”
Maybe you’ve had that deer or elk processed and all of it simply won’t fit in your freezer or you know it’s too much meat for you to use. Either way, that meat can be used by a food bank.
(Image by Donald Trung.)
At the NRA Hunters for the Hungry website, www.nrahfh.org, you will find state-by-state information on those local organizations and meat processors accepting game meat donations. The website allows you to enter your zip code and find the nearest processor accepting donation meat.
After the meat has been processed and packaged, it is picked up by the various food banks. The meat is then distributed whole or made into meals. Before you do donate game meat to such organizations, though, there are three things we hunters need to know:
All game must have been legally harvested;
All game must be field dressed before it is brought to a processor; and
As each state has different rules and regulations for donations, hunters need to check for the locations and times of their local drop-off points prior to donating.
“NRA members are very generous people,” Fleming said. “Hunters for the Hungry was started decades ago because the NRA received so many calls from members asking, ‘Where can I donate my game meat to help out the food banks?’”
He continued, “Obviously, as an organization dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment, we don’t have the ability to actually take in the meat. But we knew we could help direct our members to the organizations doing this necessary work. So, we started the Hunters for the Hungry to provide a useful information outlet to make those donations easier to accomplish.”
This goulash is made from deer meat and served with a bread-and-bacon dumpling and red cabbage. At the South Tyrolean restaurant in Herrsching, Bavaria, where it was served, you would order Hirschgulash mit Speckknödel und Blaukraut.
Donations of game meat can and do make a huge difference for those in need. Consider that:
Across the nation, more than 8.1 million meals are provided annually thanks to game meat donations from hunters; and
Over 2.1 million pounds of game meat is shared with food banks every year.
“As hunters, we love to share the gift of hunting with new people and new generations,” Fleming said. “But we can also share our harvest, and the game meat we donate will make a big difference in the lives of people who are struggling. And that’s yet another great reason to be a hunter!”
About the Author: Brian McCombie is a field editor and editorial contributor for the NRA's American Hunter. He writes about firearms and gear for the NRA's Shooting Illustrated website, as well as handling public relations and marketing for companies and manufacturers in the shooting sports industry. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Brian likes hunting hogs, shooting 1911s chambered in 10 mm and .45 ACP, watching the Chicago Bears and relaxing with Squinchy, the orange tabby cat.