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A volunteer with Pier Punks fillets fish donated to Hunters for the Hungry during last weekend's at Catholic High Alumni Fishing Rodeo at Moran's Marina at The Fourchon. Hunters for the Hungry is asking for sportsmen renewing their licenses in the next months to contribute to the program with a donations/checkoff box when purchasing their licenses.

It happens every summer, and it’s happened every summer for as long as most sportsmen can remember.

Unless you have a lifetime license, all sportsman’s license expire June 30 — that’s all fishing and hunting licenses and all the other papers you need to be “legal” to take native and migratory fish and game in our state.

Why Louisiana has not adopted a plan to renew these licenses on your birthday is confounding, but that’s a story for another day.

Just know, that in a few short weeks, you’ll have to line up at a Department of Wildlife and Fisheries-approved license vendor, visit the LDWF’s state office or field offices, or go online to get a new 2019-20 license.

It’s such a mess, but know, too, these new licenses are available this month – or have been in recent years – in June, just so you can beat the rush to be legal to fish for the Fourth of July holiday.

Licenses, Part II

For the last handful of years, there’s been a checkoff box on license applications.

It’s for Hunters for the Hungry, and it gives the sportsmen of our state the chance to help those less fortunate, the folks who go from day to day not knowing where their next meal awaits.

You should check this box when you renew your fishing licenses this month and think about it when you add hunting licenses.

The Hunters for the Hungry volunteers aren’t asking for a lot, although you can add however much you want when you buy that next license, a dollar from all the fishing licenses sold would greatly advance this 20-year-old-plus program.

“Hunters for the Hungry is in a position to exponentially grow the supply of venison and fish to the hungry in Louisiana,” H4H board president Gerald “Chip” Songy said. “We are expanding our stable of deer processors throughout the state, cleaning donated fish at fishing rodeos along the coast and expanding locations for Clean Out Your Freezer Day in September.

“All of this protein gets delivered Second Harvest in New Orleans, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and their network of food banks and missions throughout Louisiana,” Songy said.

Sportsmen’s donations help pay the cost of processing — the processors agree to cents-on-a-dollar fees — for freezers to hold donated fish and related costs.

Newly appointed Hunters for the Hungry executive director Julie Grunewald said her task has been charted — to push this help to all corners of the state.

“Having programs in place for the sportsmen of Louisiana to share their bounty with the hungry of our state has proven to be successful for years.

"I am excited about expanding these programs in order to provide more high quality protein to food banks,” she said. “Tapping into the fishing industry by partnering with major fishing rodeos already has shown great success and produced an ample amount of fish for the needy.”

Honestly, this program has been underfunded since Day 1. Volunteers numbering into the hundreds have made it what it is today.

It can be more: com’mon brothers and sisters, when you renew licenses just add $1 or $5 to the license, and check the Hunters for the Hungry box. You’re going to spend that much for a couple of cold drinks for the ride home. And you could be providing a hot meal for someone — maybe a child or a senior — who really needs it.