{"Body Text Edit"/}The recent accidental shooting of a Sharon Springs man is a tragic reminder of the importance of hunting safety.

On Nov. 24, Walter Rouse was shot when he strayed onto Lawrence Delaney's property in the town of Middlefield. Delaney, who was in a hunting blind on the ground, mistook Rouse for a deer and fired a round from a .30-30 rifle. Otsego County deputies said Rouse was wearing camouflage.

We can't say for sure if Rouse's injuries could have been prevented had he been wearing blaze orange. We can say that this is an example of the dangers of wearing camouflage during hunting season.

According to Vermont Hunter Education Coordinator Chris Saunders, "Hunter orange is highly visible to humans, but not to deer." While wearing blaze orange is not mandatory in New York state, it is recommended by the Department of Environmental Conservation as part of its safe-hunting guidelines.

We know many hunters choose not to follow these recommendations for a variety of reasons. A recent online discussion on

EmpireHunting.com featured several hunters saying they don't wear blaze orange when hunting on private land because they don't see a need for it. The majority of people posting to the discussion, however, said they believe blaze orange is essential when hunting, even on private land, since trespassing (accidental or intentional) is always a possibility.

If any good can come from this recent accident, it will be if it makes one more hunter think twice before going into the woods without blaze orange.

{"Headline24"/}Venison credit will help all

{"Body Text Edit"/}Some good news for hunters did come out this week, as U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer visited Sidney on Monday to discuss legislation that would give tax credits for hunters who donate venison.

For years, local hunters have stepped up and donated thousands of dollars worth of venison to area programs. The Conservation Alliance of New York raised more than $18,000 with its Venison Donation Banquet in October, based on donations that began coming in last year.

Schumer called the bill a "win-win-win," noting that it will promote hunting, save hunters money and help the hungry.

Hunters who donate venison often must pay to have the meat processed. Schumer's bill would provide a tax credit to cover the full cost of processing when the first product is donated. In addition, it would allow deer processors and nonprofit agencies to write off any income derived from dealing with such donations.

Local hunters at the press conference praised Schumer's bill, as did Delaware Opportunities food bank Coordinator Linda Vausse.

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