Tradition of Giving ~ The Venison Donation Coalition

Thomas F. O'Mara

November 14, 2013

The Southern Zone regular deer hunting season begins at sunrise on Saturday, November 16, 2013 and concludes on Sunday, December 8, 2013.

Read more details online at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Please keep safety in mind.

The beginning of deer season represents one of the most important economic cycles of the year.  Deer hunting is a mainstay of the regional and statewide recreational economy, by some estimates accounting for $2 billion economic activity and 28,000 jobs statewide.  Steuben County, for example, remains one of the premiere deer hunting destinations in the Northeast. 

It’s also time to share our annual reminder on one of this region’s proudest and most successful traditions: the Vension Donation Coalition.

The Coalition has stated its mission this way, “With the downturn of the economy, budget cuts throughout the country, and increased layoffs, more and more Americans are feeling the crunch and being left hungry.  Those going hungry are families, children and single parents and the donation of venison can help feed them.”

Over the years, the Coalition has indeed helped put a good meal on many tables.  Since 1999, in fact, the Coalition has coordinated the processing of an average of 38 tons of venison annually and 3.3 million servings of highly nutritious, low-fat, high-protein meat. 

In 2012, the goal exceeded its goal to serve four million meals to those in need! 

Amazing, and timely.  The most Census figures revealed that the state’s poverty rate is the highest it’s been since 1998.  More than three million New Yorkers live below the official poverty level.  That’s the highest total in 12 years.

And we all can help.  As the Coalition notes on its website ("Feed 4 People for Just a Buck"), the donation of $1 can help provide four meals. For every dollar donated, in fact, the Coalition puts 90 cents towards processing donated venison.  

For more information, visit the Venison Donation Coalition online at, or call 866-862-DEER (3337).