Donating Meat - What are your thought?

wllm1313

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One of the main arguments we use against anti-hunters is the efficacy of procuring your own food in a sustainable manner. Donating meat to food banks is something that I believe, is pretty common with some hunts and is a subject that I haven't seen much discussion on. I feel like it's kinda one of those thing people do but don't want to admit to doing, because there is a bit of a stigma around the practice.

I'm curious what the forum thinks about the practice... not so much interested in Africa, NZ, etc. as will domestic US and Canadian hunts. I think would imagine that in particular a ton of moose meat gets donated, due to how large those animals are and how difficult it would be to get more than a couple hundred pounds home.

On the roadkill thread someone mentioned that in AK, people actually sign up to get moose hit by cars which got me thinking that in some locations that donated meat might actually be very appreciated by locals.

I guess what I've been thinking about is the fact that when I get an elk I definitely end up with more meat than my wife and I can use, I find myself practicing venison diplomacy with all our non-hunting friends and neighbors. We live in a low income area in the city and I know a couple neighbors really appreciate... but what I'm wondering is should I be thinking about our local food bank/soup kitchen as well.

I think one way you can look at the topic is people wanting to shoot lots of animals without eating them, I'm not really interested in that conversation as much as do you think donating meat can actually have a positive impact on communities, and what is the best way to donate meat. Say you get a moose in AK, Canada, Maine, etc. and you want to share the wealth. Would you just share with friends and family back home, donate some in the area you hunted, or do you think it's better to eat the transport cost and give your local organization some meat.

Anyway long ramble, but this is a subject that I have yet to personally grapple in my personal hunting journey, and one that I want to learn more about.
 

COEngineer

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"stigma around the practice"?? I have never had that impression.

I think anytime you can share the bounty, it can only be a good thing.

My problem locally is that the food bank will only accept professionally packaged meat and I do my own processing, so that's not an option. I think the whole lead scare forced some foodbanks to refuse venison, which is ridiculous in my opinion. Not to mention CWD...
 

Nameless Range

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I have donated tons of meat to friends, family, and coworkers. I am not opposed to donating meat to food banks, and think it's an alright idea, though I would have some concern about quality control - was the meat handled properly, hair removal, clean packaging, etc...


Ultimately, I think a well controlled system of meat donation could have a positive impact on communities as well as societal perceptions of hunting. As COEngineer mentioned above, there as some catches, such as paying someone to process your animal, which is unacceptable to a lot of folks on this forum.
 
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jvanhoy

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We have a hunters for the hungry program at our local processor. I think it’s a great thing and have donated several times. Years I kill a elk out west I just don’t need a whole lot of deer meat and allows me to still hunt around here and help some people out. This is a area with a very high deer population where killing does is a must if we want to keep the herd heathy. I would much rather them be donated to someone who can use it rather than see them laying dead all over the roads.
 

wllm1313

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"stigma around the practice"?? I have never had that impression.
Not so much with someone who donates some elk he shot to his local food bank, but with someone who goes up to AK or Saskatchewan or where ever and brings back just the antlers and maybe the back-straps. I've met a couple of guys at various RMEF, RMBS, etc dinners who have hunted out of state that kinda gave me a sheepish reaction when I asked them how they like, moose, sheep, goat, etc meat and/or was curious how they dealt with the logistics of getting it back.
 

ajricketts

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I really like the term "venison diplomacy" although I can't remember the first time I heard it. It feels like a Steve Rinella phrase, lol. That being said, I rarely have enough wild game meat to donate but I'm very fond of sharing with friends and family. If I were to end up in a situation where I had an abundance I think I would prefer to donate directly to families in need, probably by talking to my church pastors and seeing if they are aware of a family that could really use the blessing. My concern with other places would be a fear of good meat being discarded because of an errant hair or other undesirable item which could easily be picked/washed off. I'm probably being unnecessarily cynical, but I can see someone just tossing a package/batch of meat because they aren't used to the venison smell, occasional hair, etc.

When I was a kid my dad and then mom drew Idaho moose tags in back to back years and were both successful. Our family of 6 ate moose meat several times each week and had moose meat in the freezer for two years solid. I'm sure my parents gave some away but our family ate the vast majority of it.
 

wllm1313

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I'm very fond of sharing with friends and family.
Exaclty, I probably give away 100lbs away a year, mostly to friends as I said... I'm just wondering if that instead of giving meat to people with great jobs who like it more just because of the novelty if I should trying to help families that are struggling to make ends meet.

Also, wondering if I shot a moose and AK, as an example, and donated 200lbs of meat would that really being going to families in need or actually end up in the dumpster.
 

ZBB

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[/QUOTE]Also, wondering if I shot a moose and AK, as an example, and donated 200lbs of meat would that really being going to families in need or actually end up in the dumpster.
[/QUOTE]

I would think that if they had a waitlist for road killed moose up there any hunter harvested donated meat would be distributed fairly quick. I think it’s a valid concern though, it would be nice to cut out the middle man of wherever you donate it to but that would be a whole different set of logistics. The thing I would worry about is donated a bunch of meat and having someone feed it to their dogs, hopefully that doesn’t make me sound like a selfish asshole haha
 

Mudranger1

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Well we checked a few years ago with local food banks and the majority wouldnt take any wild game. I think 1 would if it was professionally processed within a limited amount of time and you had paperwork or whatnot.. I get they are probably just covering their assets. It would be nice if there was an easy way to donate in Colorado like the hunters for the hungry programs in other states.
 

npaden

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I have donated meat in several different ways, the most common is to give away left over packaged meat that is in the freezer when it is getting close to hunting season and I have a stack of tags in my pocket. With just 3 in my family and my son starting to contribute to the animals taken, there is just no way we can consume all the meat that we take each year. We nearly always give this to friends and family that really appreciate and enjoy it. I tend to be stingy with things that take more work to process like summer sausage and jerky, but my wife tends to even give those away. Very rarely we will donate self processed meat to someone that would be considered needy, not because we don't want to do that, but we just don't seem to have the opportunity to very often.

Last year I had 3 antelope and a deer already processed and in the freezer and shot another deer. I was about to go out of town for work and I had an Arizona elk tag in my pocket. We didn't need the meat and I was very short on time to process it. The local deer processor has a hunters for the hungry program and I just took it up there for them to process. They charge $50 to do this and you have to pay it. It didn't matter that I had it quartered and on ice, they charge $50 flat regardless of it's stage of processing. Generally they are brought up there just field dressed without even being skinned. I was surprised when I took mine up there that there were a LOT of others up there hanging and the guy said almost all of them were being donated. I think this is a good thing although I did feel a little guilty for not processing it and distributing it myself. I was very happy to have those 3 or 4 hours of my life to do other things besides processing a deer though especially because I was about to go out of town and I had a bunch of other things I needed to do before then already.

Also last year I ended up donating a bunch of bear meat when I shot my bear on Prince of Wales. Bear meat isn't my #1 choice of meat although I do think it is decent, I just would prefer deer or elk and my freezer is generally close to full of those. In addition to that we weren't really looking forward to paying $ to get it home on the airline. Between my buddy and I we had around 175 pounds of bear meat. We processed it a bit, down to roasts and cleaned it up and froze it in the freezer where we were staying. At the recommendation of the folks where we were staying we wrote up a postcard that said "Clean Frozen Bear Meat" FREE. and put my phone number on it with a note to leave a message if we didn't answer. I got a call the next day from some folks that didn't have a car and asked if I could deliver the meat. I said no problem and drove to the address. They were living in a travel trailer that was permanently parked in a trailer court and had a porch around it. They were VERY excited about getting so much meat. They said they would share with their neighbors if they couldn't get it all in their freezer. They were VERY appreciative. We both ended up keeping about 15 pounds of bear meat that we took home with us but I felt very good about donating that meat. They for sure acted like they would benefit from it more than I would have.

I still feel the stigma about donating meat even though I think it is a good thing. I do think it is better if done personally than through the food bank type programs but even those are good. I just don't know if the people receiving the meat from the food bank know how to cook it and really enjoy it or not. My guess is that most of the food bank meat is processed in huge batches of hamburger or something like that and not cut into steaks but I'm not sure. I would think people that aren't used to hunting would be able to utilize ground meat better than roasts and steaks. Just guessing though on that.

My 2 cents. Nathan
 

wllm1313

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Also last year I ended up donating a bunch of bear meat when I shot my bear on Prince of Wales. Bear meat isn't my #1 choice of meat although I do think it is decent, I just would prefer deer or elk and my freezer is generally close to full of those. In addition to that we weren't really looking forward to paying $ to get it home on the airline. Between my buddy and I we had around 175 pounds of bear meat. We processed it a bit, down to roasts and cleaned it up and froze it in the freezer where we were staying. At the recommendation of the folks where we were staying we wrote up a postcard that said "Clean Frozen Bear Meat" FREE. and put my phone number on it with a note to leave a message if we didn't answer. I got a call the next day from some folks that didn't have a car and asked if I could deliver the meat. I said no problem and drove to the address. They were living in a travel trailer that was permanently parked in a trailer court and had a porch around it. They were VERY excited about getting so much meat. They said they would share with their neighbors if they couldn't get it all in their freezer. They were VERY appreciative. We both ended up keeping about 15 pounds of bear meat that we took home with us but I felt very good about donating that meat. They for sure acted like they would benefit from it more than I would have.
In my mind this is the perfect scenario.

I'm keeping a lot of my bear steaked... just cause i like bear, but I'm going to have a bunch make into specialty stuff that's cooked and then distribute all around the office. Sure I'm gonna eat the $100+ of processing but I love getting to hand people a package of salami and then tell them it's bear and then talk about how, yes in fact you do eat bear, and then have them taste it and be surprised about how good it tastes. Colorado lost it's spring bear season and I feel like if I need to do my part to change as many peoples perception as possible to keep the fall season. I think at this point between MT and CO I've singlehandedly convinced 50 people who were on the fence that bear hunting is sustainable and ethical.
 

ajricketts

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Exaclty, I probably give away 100lbs away a year, mostly to friends as I said... I'm just wondering if that instead of giving meat to people with great jobs who like it more just because of the novelty if I should be trying to help families that are struggling to make ends meet.
I think it's an honorable thing to do but certainly not an obligation. It's no different than donating anything else, even money. It's great to give to charities that feed the homeless or directly to families struggling financially, but there is definitely nothing wrong with donating to a local baseball/basketball/football/etc. team to go to state either. It's honorable to focus on the needy, but your choice either way.
 

glass eye

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I fill my daughter's freezer with wild game because she grew up with it and likes it. Her husband is not a hunter but he knows how to cook meat. They go through it pretty fast. We no longer give out meat to non-hunters because I always find out later that they fed the elk backstrap to their dog because it tasted strange. If it doesn't taste like beef they don't like it and they feed it to their dogs. No more !
 

Hilljackoutlaw

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We have had many people refuse the wild game meat at a local food bank because they dont like it or assume they dont like it. It's really discouraging to see things like this, when the same people are waiting outside the church every week to get their groceries. It makes one wonder if some of the people really are in need that much. I know if I relied upon a local food bank to feed me i wouldn't be turning anything down. Heck I'd take the green stuff from the buffet on Vegas vacation that cousin Eddie likes so much.

That being said any meat I'm able to donate now goes to people i know are in need and truly will help them survive the year on more than just ramen. You can talk to your church, teachers, bus drivers, guidance counselors, etc...who can always point you in the direction of a family who truly is in need of some support.

The hunters for hungry working with processors sounds really cool. I've never heard of it tho until this thread.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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We have a hunters for the hungry program at our local processor. I think it’s a great thing and have donated several times. Years I kill a elk out west I just don’t need a whole lot of deer meat and allows me to still hunt around here and help some people out. This is a area with a very high deer population where killing does is a must if we want to keep the herd heathy. I would much rather them be donated to someone who can use it rather than see them laying dead all over the roads.
How does this work? Does Hunters for the Hungry act as the nonprofit fundraiser to cover butchering costs? Or does the hunter with the animal cover the $$$ and Hunters for the Hungry manage distribution?
 

SnowyMountaineer

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One thing I worry a little about in just advertising free meat to whoever may need it is liability. Say the folks you give it to don't handle it well and get sick, or you didn't test it for CWD and 15 years down the road they come back with some crazy lawsuit. Do you have them sign a waiver when you give it away? That seems ridiculous and somewhat paranoid, but stranger things have happened. So far I've had no trouble finding enough friends and family who enjoy game to eat all of our animals when we have extra, but this is an interesting topic.
 

Big Fin

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I used to volunteer at a food bank many years ago. Protein of any sort was in high demand and from what I am told is in even higher demand today. Commercially processed wild game meat is very much appreciated by food banks in Montana. Unfortunately, due to FDA rules, it must be commercially processed.

I end up with a lot of meat I share. I share with camera guys, friends who help us along the way, family in Idaho who has growing teenagers, and many of my elderly neighbors who once ate a lot of wild game but cannot get out anymore. I have no stigma about it, zero. I have yet to share or donate any wild game that was received with anything other than complete gratitude.

Before I got so busy in the fall, my son and I would go out and knock over a lot of whitetail does. Rather than donate old rutty bucks to the food bank we would pick out four alfalfa fed does, take care of them, drop them off at the game processor, pay the fee for processing, then take them directly to the local food bank when the processing was done.

Yup, we hunted with the specific task in mind of donating that meat to food bank. It was not a "hunt" in the sense of adventure, rather harvest, game management, and improving relations with landowners who are normally swamped with requests from people wanting to shoot bucks. Many of my CPA clients were overrun with whitetail does and they were happy to have us come and deplete what we had tags for. From my volunteering at the food bank I knew how valued that wild game meat was and I have no regrets about doing it.

I often drop off some elk when we have it, even if we might run out before the next hunting season. I do admit to hoarding my antelope and bison.

I wish more hunters would donate game intentionally, not just the stuff they don't want. If every hunter who could afford it would shoot one whitetail doe and pay to have it commercial processed, then donate it to a food bank, some needy families would have more high quality protein.

I am going to BC this fall for mountain caribou and moose. I am driving the 2.5 days each way rather than flying, as I intend to come home with an entire truck full of Orion coolers laden with moose and caribou. I will be sharing that with family, friends, and if allowed by way of commercial processing, some will also go to the local food bank.

Summary - I do it whenever I can, either formally to a food bank or informally to family and friends. And, I have zero regrets and make no apologies for sharing.
 
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Losing_Sanity

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Donating to the less fortunate is a good thing and that's what make us a compassionate society. However, there are a lot of folks that just don't care for game meat. Less fortunate or not, they deserve to get good food that they like. For that reason I just donate money unless I know the family personally and give it to them directly.

I have a good friend from my military days that lives in West Virginia and is able to get multiple deer a season. His area is very poverty stricken, with many out of work. He takes the whole deer to a family and they take care of it themselves.

I feel helping out others is on the people, not the government.
 
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