SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois deer hunters heading to the field this fall are encouraged to consider donating deer to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program – part of Illinois’ “Target Hunger Now!” initiative to feed Illinois families.
The Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program allows hunters to donate whole deer for processing into venison that is provided to food banks, food pantries and other charitable organizations in local communities throughout Illinois.
Since 1994, the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger (ISAH) program has coordinated the donation of more than 674,750 pounds of venison, providing nearly 2.7 million meals for families and individuals in need. More than 101,400 pounds of venison was donated through the program during last year’s deer season.
“As we ‘Target Hunger Now!’ in Illinois, the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program provides an effective way for hunters to help combat hunger by sharing in the success they enjoy while hunting this fall,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller. “Thousands of Illinois families have benefitted from the generosity of hunters over the years, and we encourage the hunters helping us control the deer population to consider either donating whole deer or making cash contributions to cover processing costs. Help us ‘Target Hunger Now!’”
The IDNR and the Illinois Conservation Foundation encourage hunters, if they wish, to make a tax-deductible $50 contribution through the ICF to help cover the cost of processing the donated deer into ground venison. Hunters may donate deer to the program without making an additional monetary contribution.
Monetary donations can be made by hunters, other individuals, and organizations through the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271. The funds help cover the costs of processing venison by approximately 50 participating meat processors throughout the state.
Once again this fall, the IDNR also encourages hunters and landowners to obtain additional antlerless deer permits to assist in deer management and to support the ISAH program. The IDNR earmarks funding 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.
The IDNR – building on the success of the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program -- initiated “Target Hunger Now!” as a means to provide donated venison, as well as fish taken from Illinois waterways by commercial fishermen and processed by Illinois companies, through the network of Illinois food banks for distribution to hungry families throughout the state.
The deer hunting seasons for 2010-2011in Illinois include the Archery Deer Season (Oct. 1, 2010-Jan. 16, 2011); the Firearm Deer Season (Nov. 19-21, 2010 and Dec. 2-5, 2010); the Muzzleloader-only Deer Season (Dec. 10-12, 2010); and, the seven-day Late Winter Antlerless-only Deer Season (Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011 and Jan. 14-16, 2011).
For a list of meat processors handling venison for the program, check the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/legislation/isah/.