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Indiana GiveINGame program puts venison on table

From Indiana Department of Natural Resources

-- Indiana deer hunters can now be in touch with citizens who would like to obtain venison for their table, with the state’s new GiveINGame Program.  Donors and recipients can register their contact information at a new online site at www.dnr.IN.gov/giveINgame.

There is no cost to complete the simple registration.

Here’s how it works:

--A hunter registers information on the condition and amount of venison he or she is willing to donate. The hunter can choose to donate meat that is field dressed, skinned and boned, or wrapped and frozen. The hunter also provides contact information, either phone number or email.

--A recipient registers information on the amount of deer meat he or she is willing to accept, and designates a preference for meat that is field dressed, skinned and boned, or wrapped and frozen. The recipient also provides contact information, either phone number or email.

--Registrants can search the database for someone matching their designated preferences and use the contact information to work out the transfer details.

A participating hunter still is responsible for field dressing the deer, ensuring the deer is taken to a DNR designated check station, and obtaining a permanent identification tag, after which it can be transferred or gifted to another party.

Indiana law prohibits the sale, trade or barter of wild game; however, GiveINGame provides hunters who have filled their freezers an opportunity to share extra deer meat with anyone willing to accept it.

Venison is a healthy alternative to beef. It has less fat and calories, and more protein than the same size serving of beef, according to several nutrition websites.

The DNR assumes no responsibility for the quality of venison shared through GiveINGame or the failure of a donor or recipient to follow through with an agreed transfer.

“GiveINGame will serve as a supplemental program to existing venison donation efforts,” said Mark Reiter, director, Fish and Wildlife. “While those other efforts focus on distribution to needy families through food banks and charitable organizations, GiveINGame creates a broader opportunity to share the harvest with anyone.”

The GiveINGame website also provides links to venison recipes and other information.

GiveINGame is modeled after the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Deer Exchange, which began in 2008 and resulted in 300 deer being gifted in the first year.

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