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Sportsman Against Hunger helping those in need

Antelope

Antelope are one of the six different types of game and fish donated to South Dakota Sportsman Against Hunger during the last year.

South Dakota Sportsman Against Hunger recently reported the numbers of donated meat from different species from fall of 2017 to summer of 2018.

According to Ron Fowler, a consultant for South Dakota Sportsman Against Hunger, 614 deer, 21 antelope, 16 elk, 1,739 pheasants, 1,918 canada geese and 152 walleyes were donated as part of the program.

The total was 34,015 pounds of game meat that was delivered to food pantries either directly or through Feeding South Dakota.

The program allows for hunters to take field-dressed game meat to a participating commercial processor and indicate they want to donate it. If the animal qualifies, the hunter will be issued a big game or goose processing certificate. The big game processing certificate covers up to $65 for the processing fee for doe or anterless deer and $55 for each fawn antelope or doe.

SAH processors in Western South Dakota include Integrity meats in Belle Fourche, Tri-County Lockers in Newell, Western Buffalo Company in Rapid City, Cutting Edge Meat in Piedmont, Top Pin Archery in Custer, Philip Custom Meats in Philip, Mid-Dakota Meats in Winner, Dan's Last Shot in Colome and Tom's Wild Game Processing in Burke.

Those who have animals and birds who do not qualify for the SAH's certificate may still donate, but will have to cover the cost of processing the animal or bird. Examples include buck deer, buck antelope, pheasants and any game not taken in South Dakota.

From the processor, Fowler said all the food goes to a food pantry. He said they prefer to send the mean to one that is close to the processor, so the food can stay in the community.  

Fowler said there are many reasons things that impact how much meat is donated every year, the two biggest are the number of animals taken in a season, how many tags and what kind of tags are given out by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

He also said there's a lot of reasons why hunters donate meat, but one of the biggest is that it helps families in need.

"They’re being more humanitarian. There’s a lot of needy families out there, so they’re willing to donate for that reason alone," he said. "There’s a number of hunting seasons where they can spend more time hunting for recreation, and so if they take more than they can use for themselves, they can take the meat and donate it. Hunters look at it both ways, it’s a double plus for hunting and being able to donate this way."

He also said in many situations, processors will lower their fee for meat that was donated in order to be covered by SAH's certificate. 

"Processors believe in the program as well," he said. "They’re able to lower their fee and not cost the hunters anything which causes them to donate."

In the 21 years the program has existed, SAH president Jeff Olson said the organization has changed, but most of that change has been growth. Another thing that has changed is the Clean Out Your Freezer Food Drive, which had taken place before the beginning of the fall hunting seasons.

Olson said the drive is now a year-long event, where those who have extra game meat can contact Olson to have the game meat donated. He can be reached at his office, which can be reached by calling 605-342-2445.

Contact Geoff Preston at geoffrey.preston@rapidcityjournal.com

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.

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