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24
Program Donates 39,000 Pounds of Meat

PIERRE - The South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) program arranged for hunter donation of approximately 39,000 pounds of wild game meat to people in need across the state during the 2005 hunting seasons.
Jeff Olson, Rapid City, was one of the founding members of the SAH program in South Dakota and has served on its board of directors since its inception. He noted that, "Sportsmen Against Hunger is a great program with two worthy goals. We can help landowners with depredation problems by encouraging the harvest of more big game, and we can feed the needy."
The donation of game by hunters during the past hunting season correlates to 950 deer, and was around 10,000 more pounds than donated in 2004. "We want to thank all those hunters who went the extra mile to harvest more deer and to take the meat to one of the 36 processors we worked with across the state," he said.
Now Olson said the group is looking for an even bigger push in 2006. "I am truly amazed at the demand for burger from our program," he said. "We are not coming close to meeting the need to feed the hungry families in our state. According to the Community Food Banks of South Dakota, one in seven people in this state is at risk of not having sufficient resources to obtain enough food."
Olson added that an overpopulation of deer provides an excellent opportunity for hunters to take more deer for the SAH program. "Ranches are still having trouble with too many deer and a larger harvest of does would feed many more needy families."
A new feature to the SAH program in 2006 will allow big game hunters to make a tax-deductible donation to the program while making application to big game seasons.
An optional check box on both online and paper applications will provide an easy way for individuals to make a monetary contribution to the program. The money raised will go to reduce processing fees.
"It is apparent that one of the major roadblocks in encouraging hunters to make contributions of game animals has been the processing cost," Olson said. "We are now working out details that will enhance our program by lowering and perhaps even one day covering the costs of processing."
Olson also noted that there are other ways for individuals to contribute to the SAH program.
"Take an extra day or two in the field and harvest an extra doe or two that you normally would not take," he said. "Donate some cash by filling in the little box on your hunting applications. Donate some time and work for a "Clean Out Your Freezer" food drive. Call our toll-free number at 1-800-456-2758 or go online at the GFP website (www.sdgfp.info) to find participating processors."

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