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Venison donation program connects hunters and the public

A program that allows hunters to give deer meat to the public will continue again this fall.

GiveIN Game, the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife’s venison donation program, will be available for the fourth year. Hunters who are willing to donate venison and people who would like to receive venison can begin registering on September 1 at wildlife.IN.gov/7240. htm.

GiveIN Game makes it easy for people to connect and set up a free exchange on their own schedule. Selling, bartering or trading for venison is illegal.

After several years of watching the program grow, Chad Stewart, DNR’s deer management biologist, 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 had 675 participants last year, with the number of people requesting venison more than five times greater than those offering to donate venison.

Both hunters and recipients have an option of donating or requesting any amount of venison in all conditions, from field-dressed animals to packaged venison.

“GiveIN Game is a unique program that allows hunters to donate wild game in a non-traditional way,” said DNR Fish and Wildlife Director Mark Reiter. “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.”

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