It's a happy coincidence that Thanksgiving and Opening Day of whitetail season tend to fall so closely together each year ... and in many places in America, they're celebrated with the same level of joy. But whether your most fervent prayers of gratitude follow the harvest of a deer or precede the slicing of a turkey, now's the time of year to remember the less fortunate. Sadly, there are a lot of families struggling with recent inflation spikes ... especially the prices for fresh, healthy meat. Happily, we NRA Women are in a unique position to help in a very direct way.
As you probably know, charitable food pantries rely heavily on donated items to stock their shelves. If you're thinking that begins and ends with canned-food drives, you may be in for a surprise. In many cases, food pantries also accept donations in the form of processed game. If you live somewhere where harvest tags are in good supply, and your own freezer is looking a little overstuffed, consider harvesting another animal to donate to your local food pantry. It’s a tremendous help for both conservation and the community.
The donation process works differently from state to state. In general, the first thing you should do is to contact your state fish and game agency (here's a handy list of them by state). Some agencies list their requirements on their websites, but you may need to place a phone call. Once you know what your state requires and where approved processing stations are, you can also check whether there are national or state organizations that will pay for the butchering. (Most hunters don't need to pay anything to make a donation.)
Our friends at Whitetails Unlimited note that there are many organizations, such as Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry and Hoosiers Feeding Hungry, that can help you offset the processing costs associated with donated game. These organizations also work with food pantries in their respective areas to see that they are stocked with donated game. Many state fish and game agencies also have their own programs to distribute donated game.
This year, let's try to make sure everyone has something to be thankful for ... even if it's just a healthy meal.