Hunters wishing to donate their deer to a food bank or outreach center are, in most cases, required to pay for the processing of the venison. Organizations such as Safari Club International, local conservation clubs and private meat processors have helped absorb the cost of deer processing many communities.
These efforts have resulted in recent donations of nearly 600lbs. of venison to families in Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, Montgomery and Warren counties.
Food pantries generally receive very little red meat donations. Any monetary donations they do receive are then used to buy meat.
The monies cannot be used on administrative fees and the people that run food pantries and do outreach in their communities do so as volunteers and not paid employees.
The Southwest Ohio Chapter of Safari Club International has funded venison donations for over 12 years through their Sportsmen Against Hunger program.
The demand for low-fat, low-cholesterol, preservative-free, high-protein meat is great and continues to grow. SCI estimates that in 2008, 415,605 pounds of wild game meat were donated to relief organizations in American and around the world.
In 2009, the figure jumped to 422,047 pounds and during the 2010 season, they reached a new high of 477,392 pounds – enough for 1.9 million meals.
Hunters in Ohio will have plenty of opportunity to harvest multiple deer again this year during the 2001-2012 deer seasons. For more information on donating venison, visit www.wildohio.com.