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Phil Junker, Outdoor Tales
People who hunt deer are enthusiastic about their sport, and most love to eat venison. For those who don’t, a number of places are ready to put the tasty, healthy meat to good use, serving people who want it and those who need it.
Taking an extra deer really is a good thing. It helps manage the continued growth of the deer herd, and it also can help the needy.
In Indiana there is a program whereby hunters can take an extra deer and give it to someone who may not be able to hunt or take their own deer for whatever reason.
Hoosier firearms season opened Nov. 12 and will run through Nov. 27. Muzzleloader season is set for Dec. 3 through 18. Archery season continues through Jan. 1.
The state Division of Fish and Wildlife has created an online site, www.dnr.IN.gov/giveINgame, where donors and recipients can register their contact information. There is no cost to complete the simple registration.
Here’s how it works:
• A hunter registers information on the condition and amount of deer meat 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 e-mail address.
• 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 e-mail address.
• 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 an Indiana Department of Natural Resources-designated check station, and obtaining a permanent identification tag, after which it can be transfer-red or gifted to another party.
• Indiana law prohibits the sale, trade or barter of wild game.
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 Web sites.
• There also is a program called Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
• Hunters can help fight hunger by donating venison to food banks throughout the state. High-protein, low-fat foods such as venison are desperately needed by organizations that provide food to the working poor of Indiana.
• Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry is meeting that need by organizing distribution of venison to the areas where it’s needed most.
• A number of Indiana meat processors have offered their facilities as processing and collection points. Cost of processing is covered by FHFH and donations to the Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund.
• For more information, go to fhfh.org/Home.asp
• Another organization connection hunters with processors who will provide venison to those in need is Sportsmen Against Hunger. The organization can be reached at (317) 638-5385.
Both organizations also can be reached through Internet links from the DNR Web site, in.gov/dnr/fishwild/index.htm
Dennis Daniels, a friend, deer hunter and column read-er, e-mailed a testimonial in response to a recent column related to deer-stand safety.
“I’m one of the injured hunters, who fell out of my stand in 1998, and still today feel the fall injuries. I am now a preacher on safety harnesses, for sure. I will not use my stand without one now. We have had four hunters die so far this year.”
Dennis lives in Michigan and has already taken a deer from his tree stand this fall.
Outdoors columnist Phil Junker can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog can be viewed at outdoorscribe.blogspot.com.