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ND hunters encouraged to donate geese to charity

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- A charitable program that distributes donated deer meat to food pantries across North Dakota is accepting goose meat this fall on a trial basis.

Hunters can donate meat from birds killed during the early Canada goose season to processors that take part in the Sportsmen Against Hunger program. There are 11 sites across the state handling the goose donations. They can be found at .

The venison donation program began in 2004, with hunters donating 115 deer. Last year, the program accepted 201 deer.

"We're kind of testing the waters this year to see if goose donations can work out as well as deer have in the past," said Ann Pollert, executive director of North Dakota's Community Action Partnership, which sponsors the charitable program as part of efforts to help low-income families.

North Dakota's early Canada goose season opened Aug. 15 and closes Sept. 7 in the Missouri River zone and Sept. 15 elsewhere in the state. Hunters who want to donate goose meat must follow several guidelines, which can be found on the state Game and Fish Department website, at .