LOUISIANA — Hunters across the state are celebrating a victory, after the Governor signed two laws that will assist hunters in donating their game to charity.
"One deer can provide the food for a tremendous number of meals," Chip Songy, Baton Rouge sportsman and member of Hunters for the Hungry, explained. "With Hunters for the Hungry that gentleman or woman can drop that deer off on their way home and not have to worry about it and couple of days later it's going to be feeding hungry people in that portion of the state.
According to a statement from the governor's office "Senate Bill 58, authored by Senator Sherri Buffington, allows certain meats and fish to be received or used by not-for-profit entities and charitable organizations. The legislation was passed and signed into law after 1,600 pounds of deer meat donated to the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission by Hunters for the Hungry was prevented from being used."
"Senate Bill 84, authored by Senator Neil Riser, will allow hunters and anglers to make a donation to Hunters for the Hungry to help offset meat processing costs via a check-off box on applications for hunting and fishing licenses."
The deer meat was destroyed because Department of Health and Hospitals said it hadn't been processed properly.
"It was very frustrating, it actually took the wind out of a lot of people's sails," Scott Couper, with Hunters for the Hungry, explained.
Members of the Hunters for the Hungry decided to take action.
"Got our recharged and focused on what we can do to keep that from happening again. Instead of complaining about what did happen," Couper said.
The new laws allow for food banks and shelters to received game and fish from hunters that have been sent through a process plant or processed themselves. In turn, the charities have less restrictions on who the food can be served too.
Mike Manning, President and CEO Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank said the donated meat is a blessing for charities, because deer meet, fish, and other game is very nutritious.
"It's a protein addition to our menu, if you will, giving us a stock of fresh protein fresh meat that we would not have other wise," Manning said.
Hunters for the Hungry host a "clean out your freezer" day for hunters in September to help collect meat for charities.
Most of the meat is turned into a ground meat to be used in soup kitchens and shelters.
Songy says the venison can be tasty: "probably most individuals who would be eating this in a pasta or in ground meat probably wouldn't even know that it's deer meat they wouldn't know the difference ."
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M said, "It provides an avenue for the donation of wild game. Many hunters have an excess of wild game in their freezers. It now becomes an act of charitable donation to those who are less fortunate. In addition, the hunters can donate $1 to the processing of this meat when they renew their hunting licenses."