Sportsmen Against Hunger Program

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Thousands of Illinois families will benefit from the generosity of Illinois deer hunters thanks to donations to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger (ISAH) program. Established in 1989, Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger encourages deer hunters to donate deer they harvest this fall and winter to be processed and distributed to food banks, food pantries and charitable organizations to help feed the hungry throughout the state.

“Hunters have come through time and again to help feed hungry people in our state by donating whole deer to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Joel Brunsvold. “Since the program’s inception, nearly 216,000 pounds of venison have been donated by hunters, providing more than 860,000 meals for needy families.”

The IDNR and the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) encourage hunters to donate deer and a tax-deductible $35 contribution through the ICF to help cover the cost of processing the deer meat.

In addition, the IDNR has earmarked $100,000 from the state Wildlife and Fish Fund to assist in covering the costs of processing venison for the ISAH program from deer taken by hunters in areas of the state with growing deer populations. The additional funding is provided through non-resident archery deer permit fees.

“Often when a hunter’s freezer is full, he or she may not seek extra permits to continue hunting deer,” Brunsvold said. “We want to encourage landowners and other deer hunters to take another antlerless deer and donate it to the program. The venison will go to a great cause and hunters will be helping our deer management effort.”

Illinois’ Archery Deer Season opened Oct. 1 and continues through Jan. 12. The Firearm Deer Season is Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4. The Muzzleloader-only Deer Season is Dec. 9-11. A total of 51 Illinois counties will be open for the Late Winter Antlerless-Only Firearm Deer Season set for Jan. 13-15 (see list of Late-Winter season counties below).

Monetary donations to Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger can be made to the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271. The funds help cover the costs of processing venison by almost 50 participating meat processors throughout the state.

“The tax-deductible monetary donations enable the Illinois Conservation Foundation to defray the cost of the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program,” said ICF Director Jess Hansen. “We gladly accept contributions from hunters and other supporters to keep this important program going.”

For a list of meat processors handling venison for the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger Program, check the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us and click on “IL Sportsmen Against Hunger” on the home page.

List of Late-Winter Deer Season Counties - Jan. 13-15, 2006: Adams, Bond, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Edwards, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, JoDaviess, Johnson, Knox, LaSalle, Lawrence, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, McDonough, McLean, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Richland, Schuyler, Scott, St. Clair, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White, Whiteside, and Williamson.

IDNR encourages hunters in these counties and throughout Illinois to take antlerless deer and donate the whole deer to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program. Venison distributed to food banks, food pantries and charities throughout the state will benefit thousands of needy families - and hunters will assist efforts to manage the state’s growing deer population.