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Driftwood outdoors: Donate deer to make dent in hunger


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Hunters are fortunate to know intimately the gratification of providing food for our tables. Satisfaction is found in providing for others.

For most, this satisfaction begins and ends with one’s own family and friends.

Thanks to the Department of Natural Resources Division of Law Enforcement’s Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund, donating venison is easier than you might believe.

Most hunters appreciate challenges, so here’s a motivator: I challenge you to harvest a deer and donate it this season.

Sounds simple, but let’s see if you can follow through.

 The process couldn’t be easier. Kill a deer, field-dress it and drop it off at the nearest participating processor. It’s that simple.

There is no cost to you. The Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund covers the expense.

“This program provides an opportunity for our hunters to demonstrate their concern for their fellow man, allows the DNR another management tool for our deer population and provides nutritious meals to those in need,” said Indiana Conservation Officer Lt. Col. Steve Hunter. “It is a triple-win situation.”

I don’t know what it feels like to be really hungry. I mean, I’ve had to wait for a meal before, but I’ve never known hunger mixed with the fear of not knowing where my next meal is going to come from.

I’m willing to bet you haven’t, either. Can you imagine? It’s horribly sad to imagine.

So collectively, we hunters have an opportunity to help eliminate hunger and fear. We are fortunate for this gift of giving.

“Protein is the hardest commodity for the food banks to get,” said Debra Treesh, founder of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. “Thanks to contributions by Indiana DNR Law Enforcement and deer hunters, we will be able to provide nutritious protein to hunger relief agencies in Indiana.”

Finding a processor is not a problem. Just go on the DNR website (in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/3987.htm) and search by county and city for participating processors.

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and the Dubois County Sportsmen’s Club developed the network of participating processors, and they have coordinated with food banks serving every Indiana county to pick up and deliver the venison to soup kitchens as ground burger in two-pound packages.

“Fighting against hunger in Indiana is a concern for us all, and it makes me proud that the DNR and the outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen of our state can work together to overcome this need,” DNR Director Cameron Clark said.

A video about the fund is at youtube.com/idnrvideos. For more about the program including a searchable database of participating butchers, visit in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/3987.htm.

As the holidays bear down on us, we begin to see the superficial exploits of consumerism flourish. I won’t throw the first stone, because I, too, am at times guilty of losing sight of the reason for the season, but I can honestly tell you this, I’m going to try to donate a deer this year.

I’ll buy an extra antlerless permit and will do my best to fill it with a big doe, and then I’ll take it to a processor who will work to turn it into nourishment for the bodies of others.

All I hope is that they know a hunter provided for their table. Perhaps you’ll do the same.

See you down the trail.

Brandon Butler’s outdoors columns appear Saturdays. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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