Deer season is well underway with thousands of hunters across the state of Indiana getting up well before the sun, putting on their camo, and trekking out into the wilderness with the hope of tracking and bagging themselves a deer they can use to provide meat for their family. Thanks to a program through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, they can also bag a deer to provide meat for Hoosier families facing food insecurity at no cost to them.

Depending on the license you purchased through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, you could hunt and kill more than one deer which would likely give you more meat than you and your family could eat. But maybe you're not in it for the meat. Maybe you simply enjoy the thrill of the hunt. Whatever the case, the Indiana Hunt for Hunger Program will gladly take the meat you don't want for families who need it.

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Indiana Hunt for Hunger Seeking Deer Meat Donations

Formerly known as the Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund, the newly renamed, Indiana Hunt for Hunger Program is a program created by the Indiana DNR back in 2008 that encourages hunters across the state to donate any large game, like deer, they can't or won't be using themselves to local food pantries so residents in those areas who are dealing with food insecurity for whatever reason can get the much-needed protein they need. According to DNR Director, Dan Bortner, the meat from one deer can provide 200 meals for a family.

Whitetail Deer

Food Insecurity Rate in Indiana

The rising cost of everything, including groceries, has put a pinch on many Hoosiers' bank accounts leading to some families facing food insecurity who may not have dealt with it before. According to Feed America, 730,480 Hoosiers are facing hunger, 204,290 of them are children. That's one in every nine people and one in every eight kids.

But families aren't the only ones struggling. Since more people are relying on food banks and pantries, and the cost of food continues to rise, those organizations are also struggling to stay stocked with food. Which is why the need for meat is so desperately needed.

How You Can Donate Your Deer or Livestock

Head to the woods, or wherever your favorite hunting spot happens to be, and keep doing what you've been doing — tracking, hunting, and bagging however many deer your hunting license allows. After a successful hunt, take your deer to one of the participating processors closest to you and tell them you want to donate the meat to Indiana Hunt for Hunger. The processor will take care of it from there, and you won't pay a dime.

Where Your Donation Goes and Who It Helps

Once the processor has completed their part, the meat you graciously donated will stay in the county where you donated it. So, if you live in Vanderburgh County here in southern Indiana, but have your deer processed in a neighboring county like Warrick, Posey, or Gibson. The meat will remain in one of those counties. If you'd like it to go to families in Vanderburgh County, you'll need to take it to a processor in the county.

For more information on the Indiana Hunt for Hunger Program, including where to find a participating processor near you, visit the Indiana DNR website.

[Sources:Indiana Department of Natural Resources / Feeding America]

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