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June 24, 2013

Pro-hunter bill is good idea

There’s a good reason why Brooklyn native and Harvard graduate Sen. Chuck Schumer, a pro-abortion, gun control and gay rights Democrat, does far better with conservative upstate voters than his resume and background might indicate.  

If there is a cause important to rural citizens, Schumer is almost always not only part of the cheering section, he’s out front of it with a bull horn. It could be dairy issues or farm legislation or student loans.

Or it could be something that could benefit hunters.

On Thursday, Schumer said he will introduce a bill that would allow hunters whose final product is donated to charity to take a tax deduction for the cost of processing their venison. The legislation would also have a tax benefit to processors who participate in venison-donation programs by making all processing income they receive from charities tax-exempt.

That would be especially welcome locally, where The Conservation Alliance of New York Venison Donation Program recently completed its meat distribution for 2012. More than four tons were evenly divided between Otsego and Delaware counties: 577 pounds of donated venison, and 7,515 pounds of ground beef.

That’s enough meat to provide 32,368 meals to the two-county area, bringing the total meat contribution to more than 282,000 meals in 12 years, according to a media release from CANY, which said it is the largest provider of meat to Delaware and Otsego counties’ food banks.

Schumer said the state Department of Environmental Conservation has been looking at ways to encourage more hunters to become involved in the Venison Donation Program. About 243,000 New York deer were harvested in 2012, according to the DEC’s Division of Fish, Wildlife & Marine Resources.

Of that number, 6,185 were taken in Otsego County, 6,114 in Schoharie, 5,445 in Chenango and 4,830 in Delaware.

Schumer’s proposal would seem to be a win-win situation, even for the deer. Overpopulation can have cruel results for animals competing for food. We would much prefer deer to be taken in their natural habitat rather than wind up on our vehicle bumpers and windshields.

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