Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon are mainstream American hunters who enjoy giving back to those less fortunate every day through the First Lady’s Wyoming Hunger Initiative and its hunting-based Food from the Field program. So, it was no surprise when Gov. Gordon heard the NRA was declaring November America’s first-ever National Wild Game Meat Donation Month that he picked up his official pen to do the same, celebrating hunters’ No. 1 solution to fighting hunger by proclaiming November Wyoming Wild Game Meat Donation (WGMD) Month across the Cowboy State.
Signed on Nov. 1, Gov. Gordon’s Wyoming WGMD Month proclamation recognizes the NRA’s move encouraging hunters to donate their surplus game meat and to financially support local game meat donation programs as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and the season of giving. It underscores how “hunting is enshrined in Wyoming’s state constitution, offering opportunities to connect with nature while providing food security and nutrition to hunters, their families and those less fortunate through community-based game meat donation programs.” In promoting the urgency of Cowboy State hunters’ cause, it calls attention to the fact “86,000 Wyoming residents—including one in five children—struggle with food insecurity, an issue fundamental to the state’s future and one that is exacerbated by rising food costs.”
The proclamation calls attention to the Wyoming Hunger Initiative’s innovative Food from the Field program, launched in cooperation with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), as hunters’ common-sense answer to fighting hunger by “tapping into hunting’s role as an integral cultural component of Wyoming communities.” It also references recent NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum research showing that while American hunters share 119 million pounds of harvested game meat with others outside their households each year, many meat processors involved in game meat donation programs in 2022 said they did not receive enough donated game meat to fulfill their missions.
Showcasing Wyoming hunter’s ongoing contributions to conservation, Gov. Gordon’s proclamation also reminds Wyomingites that the WGFD is funded largely by hunters. It cites that an impressive $20,968,464 in Pittman-Robertson funding went back to the state in 2023 alone for its critical wildlife and habitat conservation programs, thanks to the “user pays, public benefits” system known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (NAMWC). In protecting the NAMWC, it points out how upholding hunters’ tradition of sharing their wild game harvests takes on even greater significance as we strive to protect hunting’s future and increase its cultural acceptance while promoting it as a food source, a right and a vital wildlife management tool.
Amid Gov. Gordon’s reasons outlined in the Wild Game Meat Donation Month proclamation was the following heartfelt sentence: “The First Lady and I believe hunger is a problem we can help to solve together through Wyoming Hunger Initiative programs such as Food from the Field so that one day hunger no longer exists in our state.” Based on the success of the Wyoming Food from the Field program, Wyoming hunters agree.
One does not have to be a Wyoming resident to appreciate how the Gordons give back and make a difference not just in November but all year long. Who wouldn’t feel inspired by a Governor and First Lady who care for others and demonstrate that what we hunters do matters greatly to our neighbors and our communities as they remain focused on the issues that matter to Wyoming.