North Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger program expands Canada goose meat acceptance

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BISMARCK, North Dakota — North Dakota's Sportsmen Against Hunger program has expanded donations to accept Canada goose meat during the state's regular waterfowl hunting season.

The charitable program, which began accepting deer meat donations in 2004, has accepted Canada goose meat during the limited early hunting season — which already has ended this year — since 2012.

The meat was not accepted during the regular waterfowl season because of the concern of federal wildlife officials that some hunters might take advantage of the program to exceed bird possession limits. The state Game and Fish Department, which believes the fear is unfounded, has reached an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a two-year pilot program.

"In the past couple of years we have heard from many hunters who would like to donate geese taken during the regular season," Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand said. "We appreciate the Fish and Wildlife Service setting up this pilot program so we can see how well it works."

Donated deer and goose meat is distributed to food pantries across the state through the Sportsmen Against Hunger program. It is sponsored by Community Action Partnership, and many meat processors take part.

The program also accepts meat from snow, blue and Ross's geese during the fall hunting seasons.

"We will accept as much as hunters are able to donate," program coordinator Sarah Hasbargen said.

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