Issue of the Week: Game Meat Donations


Under some state laws, it is illegal to waste any part of a game animal that is defined as “suitable for food.” For big game animals, all four quarters above the hock fall into that category. When the freezer is full, hunters either donate the extra game meat to a local food bank or gift it to a friend.  These practices are increasingly common where game populations are abundant.

Even though wasting game meat is already illegal in many states, other states are starting to introduce bills for tougher control measures. For example, New Mexico has introduced a bill this year that outlaws wasting game meat. The bill intends to discourage poaching, help curb the waste of edible meat on game animals, and prevent unsportsmanlike ways of discarding carcasses.

Donation programs vary by state in the U.S., but ultimately accomplish the same goal. Thanks to the cooperative effort among hunters and sportsmen’s organizations, game meat donations are at an all-time high, with millions of pounds of meat donated to shelters, food banks, and church kitchens annually. Hunters have been responding to the nations need for increased meals being served at local soup kitchens and food banks by providing deer and other game meat. Donations increase every year and because of such generous sportsmen and women, millions of less fortunate families are fed a year.

A study commissioned in 2010 by National Sport Shooting Foundation (NSSF) revealed that nearly 2.8 million pounds of game meat was donated and able to provide 11 million meals to the less fortunate.  One of the primary needs in low income areas is a protein source, so game meat donations fill a void in many local food pantries. Many states have a venison donation program to feed the hungry, but the greatest obstacle these organizations encounter is a lack of funds for butchering costs at licensed facilities. A number of states now allow hunters to donate money to similar programs when purchasing their licenses. This money helps cover the cost of processing.

Safari Club International Foundation‘s Sportsmen Against Hunger program helps deprived individuals and families by organizing game meat donations to  local food banks.  Several thousand volunteer hunters worldwide donate their time to this program and help feed thousands of families each year.

There’s no better way to show that you and your fellow hunters care about your community then by getting involved. SCI Foundation’s mission encourages humanitarian efforts worldwide. Whether you donate meat, money, or time, your generosity is sure to have an impact on well deserving families in your area.

To learn more about Sportsmen Against Hunger click here.

To learn more about SCI Foundation’s humanitarian programs click here


Twice a week, SCI Foundation informs readers about conservation initiatives happening worldwide and updates them on SCI Foundation’s news, projects and events. Tuesdays are dedicated to an Issue of the Week and Thursday’s Weekly Updates will provide an inside look into research and our other science-based conservation efforts. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more SCI Foundation news.

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