Hunters seeking to fill their freezers with game meat can also help fill the stomachs of those that are hungry.
Hunters Against Hunter is a partnership between Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Montana Food Bank Network. It allows hunters to donate a portion or all of their legally harvested big game animals to be processed free of charge. The meat is then provided directly to a local food pantry in the area.
“We have never in my time here had this much game. Truly a huge gift,” said Jill Holder, operations manager at Gallatin Valley Food Bank, about the impact of the program.
So far in 2018, the Montana Food Bank Network collected a record donation amount of $85,000 via Hunters Against Hunger.
Since its inception in 2014, hunters donated more than 130,000 pounds of meat through the program and distributed to Montanans struggling with food insecurity through 29 local food pantry sites. Meat is extremely expensive for food pantries to provide, yet a highly nutritious resource for their clients.
Participation by local meat processors and hunters are the keys to success for this growing program. Big game donations (deer, elk, antelope, moose and wild buffalo) can only be accepted as part of the program by authorized participating meat processors set up around the state. Only legally harvested or confiscated big game animals can be donated. No road kill can be donated. A full list of authorized processors can be found at the Montana Food Bank Network website.
To offset the cost of processing, hunters purchasing a Montana hunting license are given the opportunity to make a monetary donation to this program. Additional donations to the program are being accepted by the Montana Food Bank Network.
If you do not reside in Montana, check with you state wildlife agency or local food bank to see if there is a similar program where you live.