Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: northern Minnesota
Re: Question about Meat Requests of Hunters
First you have to know what it is that they hunt. If they hunt birds, there's probably not going to be anything for them to give you other than maybe old birds and other meat from their freezers.
Assuming they hunt large prey animals, just ask for their leftover gut piles. Bear in mind, though, that they'll consider your request a bother, because no hunter wants to lug a heavy bag of animal guts out of the woods or have it take up room in his truck just to feed your animals. Hunters typically gut their kills where they fall in the woods and just leave the guts there for other animals to eat. They do that specifically so that they DON'T have to carry the extra weight of the guts out of the woods.
So, if you have something to offer in return (permission to hunt on your land, payment for the gut pile, help pulling their kill out of the woods, etc.), you'll be more likely to get a positive response. In my case, hunters like to hunt down my "driveway", so when I see a hunter parked along the road, I stop and hand them a heavy construction garbage bag and ask if they will please save me their gut pile if it's not too much bother. Since I'm the only person who lives on my road, I just ask them to leave the bagged gut pile by the side of the road, and I drive down and pick up any bags I find each day during deer season.
You can also try contacting your local hunter's association and seeing if you can make a plea to their membership for gut piles. Also try local hunting resorts, if you have any in your area.
If you are lucky enough to talk hunters into bagging their gut piles for you, you may end up with most of the organs, including stomach, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, intestines, heart, etc. Of those, the only thing I won't feed is intestines (waaaay too messy to try to open and clean out), so I just toss them back in the woods. Be sure to tell the hunter that you want ALL of the guts that they don't keep for themselves. If you're really lucky, maybe you can even convince the hunter to save the testicles for you. Don't expect brains, though (hunters have no reason to split the skull, and a deer's brain is only the size of a walnut, anyway).
Oh, and ask the hunters who processes their game. There will likely be several folks in your area who do meat processing (cutting up and wrapping meat off of the carcasses). Contact the processors and ask if you can scavenge their meat scraps. Some processors really clean all the meat off of the bones, while others leave a lot of the tougher tendon meats on the leg bones. The latter processors can be terrific sources of free muscle meat, esp. during hunting season. If hunters tell you they do their own processing, ask if you can buy their meat scraps from them when they're finished. Just don't harvest bloody meat from around the gunshot wound where there's likely to be trace amounts of lead.
FYI, trichinellosis is killed by freezing meat for 3 weeks at 0 degrees F or colder. IMO, ALL wild meat should be frozen for 3 weeks before feeding.