PETA members might consider sport-hunters a cruel and thoughtless group of people, but these days the deer they bag might just be going to charity. According to the article “Shooting Deer for the Homeless” on, more and more hunters are giving their kill away to food banks and shelters.

A growing number of American hunters are donating part of their bounty each year to people who need it most, the poor and the homeless, through nationwide campaigns like Hunters for the Hungry, which delivers game meat to local food banks and shelters. In Georgia, where the group was founded 15 years ago, more than 1,000 hunters delivered 5,000 pounds of meat in 2006, making 25,000 meals.

Such an act is not without its controversy. “[T]o animal rights activists, feeding the hungry with animals killed for sport is not a justifiable end. The Humane Society of the United States says that most hunters are pursuing a recreational activity whose purpose is not food gathering.” It’s certainly not hard to imagine such a program being used as an excuse to bag extra animals—because, gee whiz, they’re going to a good cause. There’s also concern about the nature of hunted meat, which never undergoes any sort of inspection.

Still, as the article explains, “hunters’ donations remain constant staples at shelters and food banks. In Georgia, for example, thanks in part to the state’s generous bag limit of 12 deer per year, venison steaks (not to mention venison burgers, lasagna and chili), are not only abundant, but well liked.”

There don’t seem to be many complaints from the organizations that receive the donations. Says the coordinator of one of the recipient food banks, “It’s been a huge win-win for us.”

See more articles