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Thanksgiving is a special time for hunters

Federation of Polish Sportsmen member, Tom Lewicki (left) and Federation President, Steve Leonard (right) presented Director of Children & Family Services Roxanne Carpenter and Kristen Koskowski (center) with Thanksgiving Dinner for Two Local Families this past Monday at the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Green Counties Inc. in Hudson.
November 29, 2019 01:59 pm

For Columbia-Greene Media

Thanksgiving is a special time for deer hunters. This year is no exception. It’s a busy time with deer hunters who haven’t gotten their deer yet, balancing family and other obligations with filling the freezer. One of those “other” obligations frequently involves community service.

In last week’s column, we discussed “The Giving Spirit” of sportsmen, but I think its worth mentioning again, as we take a moment to count our blessings and give thanks in observance in our uniquely American holiday.

The first Thanksgiving took place in coastal Massachusetts and while its certain that wild turkey was on the menu, all manner of marine fish, clams, and mussels were sure to have been on the menu. Venison was likely the featured meat of that first feast as deer were abundant on their landscape.

The Venison Donation Coalition got its start in NY in 1999 when Chemung and Steuben County sportsmen’s federations backed up the effort with funds to pay 2 processors and distributed 1000 lbs. of highly nutritious ground venison in 2 counties.

Since that time, an average of 38 tons of venison each year is distributed, and in 2012, surpassed 4 million servings of highly nutritious meat served to individuals and children in need.

These staggering numbers don’t even include local venison donation programs run by sportsmen. They are responsible for untold volumes of support for the hungry in our local area during deer season. Not to mention all the work they do in our communities 24/7, 365 days a year.

Thanksgiving time is a good time to reflect on how important hunting and hunters are for the fabric of our society; a notion not typically championed nationally, at least not in our state.

So, I take this opportunity to thank all the sportsmen and women who donate or process deer for such programs, and all those in the hunting and non-hunting public alike who support hunter’s, fisher’s, and trapper’s who unselfishly give to those in need for a job well done.

Deer and Bear Take Update as of November 15th 2019:

The bear take in the Northern Zone is down nearly 50 percent from the same period in 2018 and down almost 30 percent from 2018 in the Southern Zone.


For deer, as of Sunday, November 24, 2019, 11,183 deer were reported taken in the Northern Zone representing a 6.4 percent increase when compared to the same time period in November, 2018.

For the Southern Zone, 63,028 deer were reported taken as of November 25th representing 4.37 percent increase to the 60,391 reported taken during the same period in 2018.

Thanks go to the many selfless deer hunters who donated deer this year.

Venison Donation Program Cutters

Greene County

Berkshire View Farm

Custom Meats


838 Alcove Road


Rich’s Custom Meat Shop


303 Maple Avenue,


*Columbia County

Gary Peters


George Road, Ghent

Randy Plass


156 Footbridge Road



*The Columbia County Sportstmen’s Federation is once again sponsoring its Venison Donation Program $400.00 Giveaway.

To participate:

Donate one COMPLETE deer to a participating butcher/cutter for the local food pantry

Sign your name on the form and be entered into $400.00 raffle for a gun or a bow of your choice

Limit of one entry per hunter

For further information about the raffle, contact:

Jim Bashford at 518-265-2789 or Bill Van Deusen at 518-929-3108

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Weekend and a Safe and Enjoyable Remainder of the Deer Season

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

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*If you have a fishing or hunting report, photo, or event you would like to be considered for publication, you can send it to: