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Food kitchens looking for deer donations

Chautauqua County is a celebrated deer hunter destination that has become well-known for large herds of whitetail deer. The NYS Southern Zone Regular Big Game season will open Saturday at 30 minutes before sunrise. Last year, Chautauqua County deer hunters harvested 10,515 deer, averaging 4.0 bucks per square mile and 5.9 antlerless deer per square mile. These harvest tallies are among the top harvest numbers in the state.

In addition to the regular deer tags that hunters receive with their annual hunting license, hunters can request and receive additional harvest tags for doe (female deer) in several WMA units. As a result, hunters occasionally find there is not enough room in their freezer. In that case, hunters wishing to donate a deer harvest to “Hunters Helping the Hungry Food Kitchen,” may drop off a deer at Siperek’s Deer Shop, 1369 Shadyside Road, in Lakewood (716-763-3478). Siperek’s is the only deer processing shop in the county conducting their services for no charge to support the Food Kitchen. Donated deer processing is free. If you want to have your own deer processed for your freezer, Bob Siperek says the standard cut and wrap is $100 this year, but there are many smoked product options, including venison salami, venison hot dogs and other choices. Siperek estimated that his shop processed about 20 deer per day for the first few weeks of the regular season last year, and several hundred over the entire deer season. Last season, NYS hunters donated 40 tons of processed venison to those in need.

Lastly, if you donate your deer or not, DEC reminds all NYS big game hunters of the importance of reporting their harvest. Harvest reporting is critical to wildlife management, and hunters are required to report their harvest of deer, bear, and turkey within seven days of taking the animal. The easiest way to report is via DEC’s HuntFishNY mobile app.

Through this useful app, hunters, anglers, and trappers can access an electronic version of their license and outdoor privileges, and report the harvest of deer, bear and turkey quickly while afield on their phone or other mobile device. Hunters may still use the call-in phone report system, but online and mobile systems are faster, more convenient, and easier for hunters to accurately enter information.

Send in your deer pictures, your thoughts on outdoor issues and news of outdoor event details for the outdoor calendar to forrestfisher35@yahoo.com.

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