Thank you, Governor Paterson, for accomplishing a feat New York hasnít seen happen in several decades Ė that being, polarizing the sportsmen and women of the state into a singular powerful political force.
Perhaps the real credit might go to the NYS Deputy Secretary for the Environment, Ms. Judith Enck, who reputedly was one of the primary advisors who prodded the governor into making what may have been one of the biggest political decision blunders since the NYSDEC was born from the NYS Conservation Department back in 1971. From a poor decision standpoint, it nearly rivals the governorís predecessorís ill-fated ďescort adventure.Ē
Patersonís executive decision to close down the last remaining public pheasant rearing facility near Ithaca, kill and donate the processed brooder birds to food banks, then sell the facility (reportedly to Cornell University) ignited a firestorm that had been building up for years, since all this was being done without so much as an invited word from the stateís sportsmen whose dollars funded the facility and program, and whose dollars would assumedly also pay for the processing and shipping of the birds to food banks. Itís notable too that since 2000, through the Venison Donation Coalition, Inc. program, New York hunters have voluntarily coordinated the collection and distribution of over 500,000 pounds of ground venison to food banks in the state. Now the governor and Ms. Enck planned to give away the pheasants.
For those who donít follow the DECís income and budget makeup, all revenue generated by sporting licenses and fees is required by law to be placed in a special dedicated fund, in New Yorkís case itís the Conservation Fund.