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Indiana Hunt for Hunger
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding
On Nov. 20, Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb joined the Department of Natural Resources at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to let hunters know how they can help hungry Hoosiers. The reminder comes as deer firearms hunting season begins, and the need for protein donations remains strong across the state.
Updated this year with a new name and website, Indiana Hunt for Hunger turns donated deer into healthy venison to be provided to Hoosiers through food banks like Gleaners across the state.
“Indiana Hunt for Hunger combines two time-honored Hoosier traditions – deer hunting and helping our neighbors in need,” Holcomb said. “As you’re out hunting across Indiana this season, if you’re lucky enough to harvest a deer or possibly even two, please consider donating it to be turned into healthy venison for Hoosiers experiencing hunger.”
The program, previously called the Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund, was started by the Indiana DNR and its partners in 2008. Since then, it has grown across the state to collect thousands of deer donations, providing hundreds of thousands of meals for Hoosiers.
“Too many Hoosiers are struggling to put food on the table. Our member food banks around the state are serving record numbers of families,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “Items like protein can be unaffordable on a tight household budget, creating a high demand for it at our food banks. By hunters taking an extra deer and donating it through Hunt for Hunger, Hoosier food banks and pantries will have more healthy protein to share with our friends and neighbors this deer season.”
To better explain the program’s vital mission and spur even greater participation, it’s now called Indiana Hunt for Hunger, with continuing partnerships with Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, the Dubois County Sportsmen’s Club, and Farmers & Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
“Donations can make a huge difference because the meat from one deer can provide 200 meals for a family,” said Dan Bortner, DNR director. “One Hoosier hunter can make an incredible difference.”
Here’s how it works. Hunters take their field-dressed harvested deer to one of more than 50 participating meat processing sites across the state. The processor takes it from there, processing the meat into healthy venison burgers and donating it to area food banks. Indiana Hunt for Hunger pays the processing fees, so there is no extra cost to the hunter.
“Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry sincerely appreciates the past financial support provided by the Indiana DNR’s Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund,” said Suzie Jordan, executive director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. “This support has allowed our agency to pay for the deer harvested as part of our program to be processed and provided to food banks and pantries throughout the state. Over 500,000 pounds of venison has been shared through this partnership. As the name changes to Hunt for Hunger, we can increase the awareness of the partnership between our nonprofit agency and the Indiana DNR to strengthen and expand the knowledge of our mission to Hoosier hunters, our processors, and food banks throughout the state.”
A list of participating vendors is posted at: Processors interested in joining the list can contact Capt. Jet Quillen at or 317-232-0658 for more information.

DNR seeking nominations for Trails Advisory Board
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking nominations from passionate outdoor recreation enthusiasts willing to serve on the Indiana Trails Advisory Board (TAB).
Representatives are needed from the following trail groups: bicyclists, health, off-road motorcyclists, parks and recreation agencies, and water trail users.
Nominees should be involved with a regional or statewide organization, club, or association related to the group they would represent. Selected board members would serve a three-year term starting March 2024 and attend quarterly meetings in varying locations around the state. TAB meetings are in-person and occur on the first Thursday of March, June, September and December at 3 p.m. local time.
The 15-member voluntary TAB is an essential part of the state’s trails system, acting as an advisory board to the DNR and providing recommendations on trail issues throughout the state. Members are also encouraged to report on any news from their groups to the board as well as share pertinent trail information with their constituents.
Nominations will be accepted by the DNR Division of State Parks from Dec. 1-30. To learn more about the Indiana Trails Advisory Board and nomination information, see

Juvenile injured in tree stand accident
Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a tree stand accident that occurred Nov. 18, which left a juvenile injured. At 4 p.m., first responders were dispatched to a hunting accident on private property near the 6000 block of County Road 800 South in Friendship.
Initial investigation revealed a juvenile hunter was climbing into their tree stand when the straps securing the stand broke and caused the stand to fall from the tree. The juvenile fell approximately 20 feet and sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The juvenile airlifted to a Cincinnati hospital in serious condition.
Other assisting agencies included the Friendship Fire Department, Ripley County Emergency Medical Services, and PHI Air Medical.
Conservation officers remind Hoosiers the most common hunting-related injuries are from accidents involving tree stands and elevated platforms. All hunters should wear a full body safety harness when going up to and getting down from elevated platforms. For more information, see

Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication, or e-mail to
Spaulding’s books, “The Best of Spaulding Outdoors,” and his latest, “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from in paperback or as a Kindle download.