HELENA — For hunters, there is almost no better feeling than sharing your hard-earned game meat with family and friends. The only thing that could possibly top sitting down to a nice back-strap is using that venison to help those in need. That is exactly what the Hunters Against Hunger program is set up to do.
The idea is simple - hunters can donate their game at a participating processor who will cut, wrap, and send off the meat to a food pantry. It's free, and the program is making a difference.
“Probably in the past, every year we can count on a couple tons of meat at times, and over collectively, one pantry, especially ours, we really benefit greatly from this program," said Helena Food Share Program Operations Director Kim Dale. "It’s an opportunity for us to have that kind of high-quality meat for our customers, and our customers are so happy to get that meat. Not all of them, not everybody likes wild game. But I’ll tell you there is a lot that really, really appreciate having that high quality meat in our coffers.”
As a hunter, the person really doesn't have to do much different to help.
“Just adhere to your normal hunting practices," Matt Elvbakken, owner of Tizer Meats in Helena, told MTN. "Harvest your animal, dress it as cleanly as possible. Get it here as soon as possible where we can get it skinned and chilled out where we can take advantage of as most of the meat as there is possible.”
Tizer will help make the process to donate as easy for you as possible and so is Fish, Wildlife and Parks. When buying your tags, you also have the choice to donate to the Hunters Against Hunger fund to help with processing fees. So even if you end up eating Tag Soup at the end of the season, you can help.
“Meat is one of our most expensive items and for us to be able to have that Montana harvested meat in our coffers, we just couldn’t be happier,” said Dale.