An unlikely ally in the effort to offset the costs incurred by hunters attempting to donate venison to food pantries in New York has emerged in the form of one Sen. Charles Schumer! That's right, ol' Sen. Chuck, the antithesis to all the NRA stands for and one of its most vocal critics since entering public office decades ago, has stepped up to help his state's hunters and its masses of hungry with a recent proposal.
Schumer's proposal would allow hunters to deduct the cost of having deer processed for donation. Costs typically run as high as $65 to $80 across the state and deters many hunters from donating venison. The senator's plan would also create tax incentives for processors that work through nonprofit organizations like the Venison Donation Coalition, which pays for the costs to process donated venison and then coordinates the delivery of the meat to the needy.
Groups such as the coalition, which has traditionally depended on donations and state funding, has seen its government dollars slashed from $100,000 two years ago to a mere $21,000 this year. With the economy suffering and unemployment still hovering around the 10 percent mark in many places, private donations have also dropped off.
As a supporter of and former employee of the NRA, I've never been a fan of Sen. Schumer, but I'll give him props where they're deserved. Venison donation programs, particularly at a time when food banks are experiencing record demand but reduced donations, just makes too much obvious sense. I would encourage every legislator out there to follow Schumer's lead (on this issue) and work to support efforts to get more hunter-generated meat to the families that can use it.
Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one, and while many of you are in the woods this week, think of the needy when filling that doe tag and give wherever possible.