Outdoors

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Local sportsmen and women delivering the fruits of the harvest to those in need.

Congratulations are in order for Randy Plass who is marking his 40th year butchering deer at his shop in Columbiaville, NY. For a good number of those 40 years, Randy’s been participating in the “Hunters for the Hungry” venison donation program. 

Hunters have a generous nature. “The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, reports that, thanks to hunters, an estimated 2.8 million pounds of game meat makes its way each year to food pantries, church kitchens and shelters and onto the plates of those in need.

“Without venison, some of these organizations would not have protein, wouldn’t have meat, to give to those folks who are coming in,” said Peter Aldrich of Hunt To Feed in Connecticut.”

Randy Plass’s thoughts on venison donation is simply this; “It’s a great program. It absolutely helps those in need.” He said many local people have come to rely on the generosity of hunters providing meat on their tables at this time of year. He added, “What better way for hunters who may not eat venison, or have already filled their freezer, to switch to helping people in need to fill theirs.”

While Randy recounts last year being a bit light for deer donations, so far this season he has received “considerably more for the program.”

Randy Plass’s successful year so far notwithstanding, a quick check of other cutters in Columbia and Greene Counties shows some are seeing a drastic decrease in venison donations in 2020.

It’s important to keep this vital program that feeds so many in need in our communities going strong.

This has been a particularly challenging year for many families in terms of lockdowns, businesses restricted or closed, jobs and incomes lost, plus other factors that strain nerves and resources. All the more reason for hunters to fill theirs and their neighbor’s freezers with high quality protein by way of venison donation.

Randy advised, “It’s still early in the season and there’s plenty of opportunity for hunters to shoot and donate a deer for the cause.”

When asked about the importance of venison donation programs like “Hunters for the Hungry” Randy said, “The public should realize that hunters are not only out for themselves but want to support people in community.”

Even if you don’t hunt or harvest a deer this year you can still support this worthy cause. The Columbia County Sportsmen’s Federation (CCSF), is currently conducting a fundraiser with all proceeds going to the local “Hunters for the Hungry” venison donation program. This is a great opportunity for the hunting and non-hunting public alike to support this effort with the added chance of winning big money. Only 100 tickets will be sold at $100.00 each for a one and only grand prize of $5,000.00. Tickets are sure to be sold out quickly. You can get them by contacting Julia Horst, Vice President of CCSF at 518-567-4302, or you can send an email to columbiasportsmen@gmail.com for more information.

Many organized sportsmen’s groups like CCSF and the Greene County Federation of Sportsmen support venison donation programs with direct funding and support with logistics.

The importance of the programs connecting the hunting community with the community at large cannot, in my opinion be overstated.

Local cutter Randy Plass’s final message to hunters considering donating a deer, is simple; “Donate to people in need today.”

With Thanksgiving weekend and the deer season upon us, I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s a list of some area deer cutters that participate in a Venison Donation Program:

Columbia County

Randy Plass, 177 Alvords Dock Rd, Columbiaville, 347-638-6179, 518‑755‑6928

Gary Peters, 72 George Rd, Ghent, NY 12075,518-392-7146

Greene County

Rich’s Custom Meat Shop, 311 Maple Ave, Greenville, 518-966 8597

Berkshire View Custom Cut Meat, 838 Alcove Road, Hannacroix, 518-731-1316

Les Armstrong, 936 Hervey Street, Cornwallville, 518‑965-4868

Happy Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping and Hunt Safe until next time.

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

You can share any comments with our sports desk at sports@registerstar.com

*If you have a fishing or hunting report, photo, or event you would like to be considered for publication, send it to: huntfishreport@gmail.com

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