From the North Dakota Game and Fish Department
-- Early season deer hunters in North Dakota are being encouraged to consider donating a deer to the Sportsmen Against Hunger program.
Sportsmen Against Hunger is a charitable program that raises money for processing of donated deer, and coordinates distribution of ground venison to food pantries in North Dakota. It is administered by the North Dakota Community Action Partnership, a nonprofit agency that serves low-income families across the state.
“These special herd reduction seasons in the northeast and southwest are great opportunities for North Dakota deer hunters,” Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand said. “We strongly support the donation program and hope that deer hunters will do the same, not only during the early seasons, but the regular deer gun, archery and muzzleloader seasons.”
In 2008, SAH only accepted bow-killed deer because of concerns over lead particles from bullets remaining in some processed venison. However, based on a lead/blood level study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and subsequent guidelines recommended by the North Dakota Department of Health, SAH will take firearm-killed deer in 2009.
“We have enough funding for the program to grow this year,” said Ann Pollert, NDCAP executive director, “and our food pantries tell us they have a demand for all the venison we can provide them.”
As an added measure, SAH adopted new processing guidelines designed to reduce the likelihood that lead particles would remain in donated ground venison: participating processors will not accept deer shot in the hind quarters, and donated deer will be processed individually or only with other donated deer.
In addition, each package will have a label of caution for pregnant women and children age 6 and under, and food pantries will be on alert to not distribute venison to households with young children, Pollert said.
A current list of SAH venison donation processing sites is available by accessing the NDCAP website, www.capnd.org.
The special herd reduction season in units 2C and 2D runs from Sept. 25 – Oct. 1. The early season in units 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2 and 4F is Oct. 2 – 9. All of these units have antlerless whitetail licenses still available.