CHENANGO COUNTY – On Thursday, United States Senator Charles E. Schumer announced a new initiative that would provide hunters with an incentive to donate their extra takens to food banks.
The bipartisan legislation, which Schumer has introduced to the senate, would allow hunters to take a tax deduction for the cost of processing their donations to local anti-hunger programs. While turkey hunting is mentioned as part of the legislation, the focal point of the push is on deer hunting and donations made to the Venison Donation Program.
In Chenango County, two businesses participate in the Venison Donation Program; the Country Meat Shop in Norwich and North Afton Deer Shop in Afton. Hunters bring in their legally tagged and intact prizes to the shops were the deer are then processed and handed over to local food banks.
“Roots and Wings picks it up and distributes it locally,” explained Pat Ryan from the Country Meat Shop, emphasizing that the processed meat goes to hungry people near where it has been cut. While Ryan has noticed that the food banks already get a fair amount of donated venison, he does believe the proposed legislation could serve to potentially increase that number. “It very likely could help, if people can get a break they probably would do it ... any time you do anything like that it, it will help.”