Deer hunters have opportunity to share harvest


By now, many hunters out there have already filled their freezer or tagged the big buck that was driving them from their warm beds into a frigid dawn. Many would still like the experience of going deer hunting a few more times this fall, but they don’t need the meat and they don’t know anyone else who does either.

There is a solution with great value.

GiveIN Game benefits everyone involved. This highly successful program allows hunters to donate venison to Hoosiers in need. It provides healthy, protein-rich red meat for folks who would otherwise likely go without. It allows hunters to spend more time doing what they love and boosts public perception of hunting. These factors make GiveIN Game an all-around incredible program.

GiveIN Game, the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife’s venison donation program, is kicking off its fourth year. The program connects hunters with individuals or families who desire venison, but for whatever reason don’t go out and harvest their own. It could be the individual is physically unable to hunt or simply does not enjoy the experience of hunting.

This program satisfies a number of desires. It provides healthy, protein-rich venison for folks who would otherwise have to do without it. And it allows hunters to spend more time doing what they love, which is hunting. Hunters can harvest additional deer beyond what their family needs, and feel good about providing for others.

"GiveIN Game is a unique program that allows hunters to donate wild game in a non-traditional way," former DNR Fish & Wildlife director Mark Reiter said. "While many other programs focus on food banks and charitable organizations distributing venison to needy families, GiveIN Game provides a new avenue for those that enjoy venison but do not have the opportunity to harvest the deer themselves."

Participating is simple. Hunters and consumers contact each other and arrange for the transfer of meat on their own. Hunters may donate fresh venison during the hunting season, as well as frozen packages of venison or deer taken on special permits outside of the hunting season. Hunters who are willing to donate venison and people who would like to receive venison can register now at

After several years of watching the program grow, deer hunter Chad Stewart decided to donate venison himself.

"The system was incredibly easy to use, and I found the interaction with people needing venison highly rewarding," he said. "They were incredibly grateful, and I’m looking forward to participating again next year."

The program has more demand for venison than supply. The number of people requesting venison is more than five times greater than those offering to donate venison. The program needs more hunters willing to donate.

Hunting is always in need of feel-good stories. Too often, the media reports on actions of poachers, and people senselessly killing animals and passing themselves off as hunters. The GiveIN Game Program is a great opportunity to expose the good hunters do for other people while actively managing wildlife.

We are seeing a resurgence of organic food in America. Farm-to-table initiatives are sweeping small towns and large cities. There are few foods healthier or tastier than venison. If you’re a non-hunter, but appreciate high-quality, healthy meat, then sign up for the program. If you’re a hunter with the opportunity to donate venison to a family that otherwise would not have any, please consider doing so.

Previous participants must re-register every year, if they want to continue participating.

Selling, bartering or trading for venison is illegal. Hunters may only gift their venison.

See you down the trail …

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