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GiveIN Game Program

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GiveIN Game Puts Food On the Table

Chad Stewart has taken to heart the line about practicing what you preach.

As the DNR’s deer management biologist, Stewart helped develop the GiveIN Game program that lets hunters who can harvest additional deer connect with people who could use venison to feed their families.

After watching the program’s progress for two years, Stewart took part in 2013 and connected with someone who registered to receive venison.

“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 this year.”

Potential donors and recipients register their contact information at an online site ( A participant’s first name and preferred contact information (phone or email) is displayed, allowing others to search for potential matches. Other personal information remains confidential.

There is no fee to register, but there are some things to remember:

  • A person cannot sell, trade, or barter venison per Indiana Code 14-22-6-8. Venison can be gifted.
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources is not responsible for the quantity, quality, freshness, processing, or packaging of the venison or the failure of the donor or recipient to follow through with the transfer.
  • A participating hunter is responsible for field dressing the deer.
  • All hunter-harvested deer must be taken to an official deer check station within 48 hours of the harvest for registration or reported to the online or phone-in CheckIN Game system. This can be done by the hunter who harvested the deer or someone he/she designates, as long as the designee has the temporary transportation tag that the hunter completed.
  • Participants will contact each other and arrange for the transfer of meat on their own.
  • Participants may join or withdraw from the program at any time.

Venison is a healthy alternative to beef. It has less fat and calories, and more protein than the same size serving of beef, according to several nutrition websites.

Stewart believes GiveIN Game’s benefits go beyond getting nutritious food in the hands of those who can use it.

“I think donating venison instills goodwill in the community, portrays hunters and hunting in a positive light, and has the potential to create long-lasting bonds with people who have a common interest,” he said. “It’s truly a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Stewart was one of 96 hunters who registered to donate venison last year. But demand exceeded suppliers with 569 people signing up to receive venison.

“GiveIN Game serves as a supplemental program to existing venison donation efforts,” said Mark Reiter, DNR Fish & Wildlife director. “While other programs focus on distribution to needy families through food banks and charitable organizations, GiveIN Game creates a broader opportunity to share the harvest with anyone.”

The GiveIN Game website also provides links to venison recipes and other information.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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