SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is again encouraging deer hunters in Illinois to consider donating whole deer to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger (ISAH) program in 2007. ISAH coordinates the donation and processing of venison providing meals to food banks, food pantries and charitable organizations throughout the state. Started in 1989, the ISAH program has coordinated the donation of more than 359,000 pounds of venison, providing more than 1.4 million meals for those in need.
“We appreciate the thousands of deer hunters in Illinois who have made a habit over the years of donating deer they harvest to help feed needy people in the state,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood. “The Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger Program really does make a difference, helping turn the abundance of deer in Illinois into a bounty for food for less fortunate families.”
The IDNR and the Illinois Conservation Foundation encourage hunters to donate deer and a tax-deductible $50 contribution through the ICF to help cover the cost of processing the deer into ground venison.
The IDNR also earmarks $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.
“Illinois food banks and food assistance programs served more than 4 million meals last year in Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. “Partnering with IDNR and local organizations to receive food donations helps us achieve our goal of providing people in need with a balanced diet.”
“We hope this additional funding for deer meat processing through the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program will encourage hunters and landowners to obtain additional antlerless deer permits to assist in our deer herd management effort while helping feed hundreds of children and their families,” Flood added.
2007-08 Deer season dates
Illinois Archery Deer Season: Oct. 1-Jan. 17.
Firearm Deer Season: Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2.
Muzzleloader-only Deer Season: Dec. 7-9.
Late Winter Antlerless-only Deer Season: Jan. 18-20, 2008.
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 nearly 50 participating meat processors throughout the state.
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/legislation/isah/.
For further information about Illinois Sportsmen against Hunger, contact Tracy Shafer, ISAH program coordinator, at 217/785-5091 or by e-mail at Tracy.Shafer@Illinois.gov.