Some NY venison donation stations are already full

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Deer donations stretch limits

BRYAN MAHONEY/Messenger Post Staff November 24, 2001




Some venison donation centers are filled to capacity.
BLOOMFIELD - Bob Sickmond's grand plan to donate some deer meat to soup kitchens and food cupboards was foiled by a closed-off shop and too much deer.

He even obtained a special permit to kill and donate extra deer. The animals in his Bloomfield neighborhood ravaged his Christmas tree crop, so he, his son and grandson were allowed to take 10 does.

But when it came time to have the meat processed, one local processing company told Sickmond it reached its limit of donated meat, while another company's freezer was full.

"I was kind of in between a rock and a hard place - now what the heck do I do?" Sickmond said Friday. "Here we were with a stack of deer and nothing to do with them."

He eventually threw out most of the meat, finding no charity or friend willing to accept his kills.

There are two Ontario County meat processors involved in the Venison Donation Coalition - a state-sponsored donation program that partners with Foodlink in Rochester to process and distribute donated deer meat.

The coalition pays for the meat processing through donations it receives throughout the year. Processors are given $1 a pound, which is about the regular price for processing.

Sickmond tried Gale Wyn Farms in Bloomfield, which is still on the state Department of Environmental Conservation's list of donation centers but is not accepting meat this year.

"It required more freezer space than we had," said Sarah Munson, whose father Mark owns Gale Wyn.

Munson said the company will add to its 8-by-8-foot freezer next summer, before the next deer season, so it can once again process the meat.

The coalition pays each processor beforehand, and the usual quota is around 1,000 pounds per business. The freezer at Pro-Cut in Bloomfield is packed with meat, most of which is left over from buck season that began Oct. 15.

"We're just waiting for them to come and empty it," said Patty Fitzgerald, owner of Pro-Cut.

With the two Ontario County locations temporarily unavailable, hunters may need to travel to Monroe, Wayne or Yates counties. To find the nearest processor accepting donated meat, log on to http://www.dec.state.ny.us or call (607) 765-7398.
 

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