Poached game meat feeds community rather than going to waste

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Thanks to a unique partnership, a few local organizations are helping turn a bad situation into a little good.

Continued funding will help keep extend to a second year a partnership to distribute meat from illegally harvested game animals to community members in need of food assistance. Community Foundation of Jackson Hole’s Competitive Grants Program, Hole Food Rescue, and Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) all partner on the project launched last year.

In the first year of partnership (2017-2018 hunting season), Hole Food Rescue received and distributed 1 moose, 2 deer, and 8 elk; totaling over 1,250 pounds of meat. Animals were processed by Matt’s Custom Meats in Jackson.

This high-quality meat was distributed to community members through the Jackson Cupboard, Good Samaritan Mission, JHCCC Mountain House, and Whole Health Nutrition & Fitness Program. Donations were also distributed through Hole Food Rescue’s ‘no-cost grocery programs’ at Aspen Meadows, Teton Literacy Center, Pioneer Homestead and Senior Center of Jackson Hole.

“This program makes the best of a bad situation,” said Ben Wise, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Regional Wildlife Disease Biologist. “Typically when WGFD takes possession of a harvested animal we have limited options as to how to distribute the meat throughout the community. With the continued financial support…we have developed a solution to an ongoing, and often times difficult situation.  Matt’s Custom Meats process and professionally package the game meat and Hole Food Rescue uses their local network to equitably and efficiently distribute the meat throughout the community.”

Rachel Daluge, Jackson Cupboard operations director, added, “Our clients have been thrilled to receive the wild game meat. This meat provides high-quality protein that is often inaccessible to our clients.”

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