Trouble faced the Venison Donation Coalition for upcoming hunting seasons. DEC funding of VDC programs had ended after 10 years. Coordinators asked farmers, hunters, and all state residents familiar with this food-providing effort to make a dollar donation.
Donations helped, but the program remained in jeopardy and the Food Bank of New York offered to assist in funding processing fees. Later, Food Bank officials agreed to pay all processing costs to keep the feeding-the-hungry program going in 2009.
Since 1999, VDC has processed 337.51 tons of nutritious venison, which comes to 2,700,800 meal servings. For each dollar donated, 95 cents goes directly into processing. In 2008, those costs reached $105,000.
Hunters, farmers, property owners, and largess-minded folk are asked to contribute to this program, a part of the state's deer-herd management. All meat processed remains in New York to benefit state residents.
Donate by mail to: Venison Donation Coalition, 415 W. Morris St., Bath, NY 14810; call (866) 862-Deer; or go to VenisonDonation.com.
Pheasant season opens in Western New York areas Oct. 17, same day as the start of archery deer season.
Young hunters (ages 12-15) have a Youth Hunting Weekend on Oct. 10-11. After that, fields are open in many areas, but some state parks and multiple-use areas require hunters to obtain a permit for opening day and selected days thereafter.
To hunt the DEC Multiple Use Areas opening day at Zoar Valley and Harwood Lake, a postcard must be received at region 9 headquarters by Wednesday. To apply, include your name, address, phone number, bag-tag number, hunt site and times (morning or afternoon). For further info, call 851-7010.
Three state parks hold a lottery on Wednesday for days most heavily hunted: Both Youth days (Oct. 10 and 11) and Oct. 17, 24, and 31.
Hunters are asked to complete a 3x5 card for each day and park site they wish to hunt. For details, call the chosen park during business hours Monday: Golden Hill, 795-3885; Joseph Davis, 754-7766; and Wilson-Tuscarora, 751-6361.
New harvest report
Beginning this hunting season, big game hunters can log onto the DEC Web site and immediately report their deer, bear and spring and fall turkey takes.
The new report site is dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8316.html. The toll free phone number used in previous years will be open this year for reporting at (866) 426-3778.