There are a few recurring themes this year coming from local butchers who cut deer during the season.
In Columbia County, both Randy Plass and Gary Peters are reporting an extremely busy year in terms of deer brought in for processing. Gary said it was the busiest year ever and was so overwhelmed at times, he had a sign out front telling customers he wasn’t taking deer temporarily to allow him to catch up in terms of cooler and freezer space. Gary added while he’s currently still processing, the last day he will accept deer is on the final day of the regular season, this Sunday, December 13th. Randy Plass also reports a banner year with a good increase in the number of deer processed.
In terms of total deer donated to the venison donation program, Randy reports a substantial increase from that of 2019, while Gary reports donated deer are down about 50 percent.
Both Randy and Gary anecdotally noted a big increase in the number of hunters who got deer, and an even bigger percentage in the number of hunters new to the sport who brought in a deer for the first time. While some of the new hunters were local, many were from out of town.
Over in Greene County, Dana, of Berskire View Custom Meat said the number of deer processed this year is on par with that of 2019. She added, they are seeing bigger bucks brought in this year as opposed to last year. Dana echoed the observations made by across the river cutters, Randy Plass and Gary Peters, that she and the staff at Berksire View noted, “Lots of new customers new to hunting brought in a lot of deer.”
She added they are taking deer in for processing right through the muzzleloader/bow season.
As for nearby Delaware County, anecdotal reports are cutters have seen an overall large increase in deer processed.
DEC gets much of their statistical deer kill data by visiting cutters and comparing that with the reported hunter kill. That also provides information on the reporting rate or how many successful deer hunters report their deer as required.
This year the statewide deer take is currently showing an overall significant decrease, but given the seven-day reporting requirement and the lag in transmitting data that creates, we won’t have an accurate assessment of the statewide deer take for some time.
That being said, just as in politics, all deer hunting success is local. There are reports of real slow deer activity in one area, yet plenty deer seen and a number of good bucks taken in another this year.
We’ll just have to wait until the numbers are in. Then the annual debate and varied opinions of their accuracy compared to what hunters observed on the landscape begin.
Happy Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping and Hunt Safe until next time.
Below is a list of some area deer cutters that participate in a Venison Donation Program:
Randy Plass, *156 Footbridge Road, Hudson, 347-638-6179 or 518‑755‑6928
Gary Peters, 72 George Rd, Ghent, NY, 12075, 518-392-7146
Rich’s Custom Meat Shop, 311 Maple Ave, Greenville, 518-966 8597
Berkshire View Custom Cut Meat, 838 Alcove Road, Hannacroix, 518-731-1316
Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.
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