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E-M:/ New Law Helps Hunters Fight Hunger in Michigan

Enviro-Mich message from "Jordan Lubetkin" <lubetkin@nwf.org>

Hunters to Fight Hunger in Michigan

‘An Opportunity to Share Bounty with Those Most in Need’

ANN ARBOR, MI (Sept. 23, 2005)*Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm yesterday signed legislation establishing a new program supporting the ongoing efforts of sportsmen and women to fight hunger in Michigan.

“We applaud the legislature and the governor for passing legislation that allows Michigan deer hunters to more effectively donate venison to families in need,” said Sam Washington, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “Michigan is blessed with a healthy deer herd. This program provides an opportunity for sportsmen and women to share that bounty with the families in our own communities.”

The new legislation will enhance efforts like Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunter, which encourages hunters to donate legally taken wild game to help feed families in need. The new law allows sportsmen and women to voluntarily contribute $1 for processing donated venison when purchasing their licenses. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will manage the program, collecting the donations and distributing funds to organizations like Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger.

Since 1991, Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger has helped facilitate wild game donations (primarily venison) though an all-volunteer network of hunters, farmers, processors, and volunteers. Since 2000, the organization has annually produced an average of 50,000 pounds of wild game for local food banks.

“Sportsmen have always been willing to share their harvest,” said Neil Easterbrook, vice president of Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger. “This voluntary donation program will dramatically increase our capacity to help people in need.  Michigan has a proud hunting heritage and we should lead the nation in this program.”

Michigan has the highest deer harvest in the nation. In 2004, 713,000 hunters harvested 456,000 deer, according to the DNR. 

Michigan also led the nation in the increase of working poor families with children from 1975 to 1995.  More than 1 million people in Michigan*10.5 percent of the state population*live in poverty, according to the 2000 US Census.

Research conducted by the National Wildlife Federation found that the donation capacity of Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger had not been realized due to a lack of funds. The Michigan program, like others around the country, invests most of its resources in processing donated wild game, leaving scant funding to market and to grow the program.

States such as Kansas, Maryland, and New York that have created voluntary donation programs have seen wild game volume increase. Virginia processed more than 305,000 pounds of wild game last year and Wisconsin became the first state to break 500,000 pounds.  That equates to more than 2 million high-protein meals.

“As the whitetail population continues to grow and the number of hunters declines, Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger will become a necessary wildlife management tool as well as fulfill a growing social need in Michigan,” said Brian Preston, regional representative from the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office.  

Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the National Wildlife Federation worked for the past two years to pass this legislation.


The National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization protecting wildlife for our children's future.

For Immediate Release: September 23, 2005

Contact: Brian Preston, National Wildlife Federation, (419) 349-2717
   Jordan Lubetkin, National Wildlife Federation, (734) 904-1589

NWF's mission is to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future. 

Jordan Lubetkin, Regional Communications Manager
Phone: 734-769-3351 |  Cell: 734-904-1589  |  lubetkin@nwf.org 
National Wildlife Federation, Great Lakes Natural Resource Center
213 W. Liberty St., Suite 200
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104-1398

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