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Bad News: Emerald Ash Borer hits the Catskills
New York's New
Snow & Smokepoles: If there's one thing that's been inconsistent this deer season it has been the weather, and that continues to be the case. There isn't a big woods deer hunter out there who doesn't get ancy to go hunting when fresh snow hits the ground but some times it can be too much of a good thing. Just as some of us saw on Thanksgiving, we've got a good blanket of fresh snow on the ground for the weekend hunt. Depending on the depth, that can make walking in the woods a real chore, but the road map that deer leave behind can lead to the day's venison, or that of days or seasons ahead.
Here in the southeastern ADKs we've had a pretty good acorn crop and after last Saturday's storm we had snow in higher elevations. Deer were feeding heavily, pawing the ground where acorns lie underneath. In one spot I saw the imprint of a buck's antlers in one of these pawing. If only I could find the buck that made it.
Perhaps this weekend as we with muzzleloaders, bows and crossbows have a few more days to hunt and we'll make the best of it. It may not be easy in the snow, but sometimes you just get lucky. It won't happen, however, if you're not out there. Hopefully, wet weather that is predicted for Saturday will hold off. Otherwise, we'll have to literally keep our powder dry. Good luck.
PS: We STILL have a several photos to get up that have been sent since recently. Since we've been busy hunting, and now working, it's taking some time to get caught up, but we will.
-Click here for previous reports
2014 Adirondack & Northern Zone Hunting Photos
(12/11) The recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reports today. Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.
“Now that snows have arrived in the Adirondacks, winter recreationist can take advantage of all that the Park has to offer during the upcoming holiday vacation period,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “However, recreationist must be aware that winter can also present troublesome – even perilous – conditions to the unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails.”
<>Snow depths range from 6 to 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the eastern Adirondacks with the thinner depths in the western portion. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. Seasonal access roads are closed. Motor vehicles should not be driving on seasonal access roads that serve as snowmobile trails in the winter such as the Moose River Plains Road. Most gates and designated snowmobile trails are or will be open by the weekend. Snowmobilers should check on local trail conditions before heading out. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobile trails should keep to the side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.
Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks are required to use snowshoes or cross-country skis for their safety and the safety of other backcountry users. It is strongly recommended that visitors to other parts of the Adirondacks do the same.
Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing”, which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy mountaintops and other exposed areas. In addition, backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines:
<>Traveling through snow takes more energy and time than hiking the same distance, especially in freshly fallen snow. Plan trips accordingly. <>Ice has only recently formed on most waters especially on large waterbodies. Alternating periods of freezing and thawing have occurred over the past month weakening any ice that is present. Always check ice thickness before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets & outlet and near boathouses & docks - especially those with "bubblers" or other ice prevention devices. Ice that holds snow will not hold the weight of a snowmobile at this time and may not hold the weight of a person. Skiers and snowshoers are reminded that the Avalanche Pass Slide in the Eastern High Peaks is closed to public recreation of any type during the winter.
<>Call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518-891-0235 to report lost or injured people or other backcountry emergencies. <>The DEC Adirondack Trail Information web page (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html) provides current trail condition information and links to current weather, snow cover and other important information to help ensure a safe and enjoyable Adirondack backcountry winter experience.
$5,000 SCHOLARSHIP FOR YOUNG HUNTERS
Here is the ‘Future Leader in Conservation’ Scholastic Scholarship application from the International Hunter Education Association. Students who certified in a Hunter Safety course in 2014 are eligible and they must be under the age of 18. Deadline is December 31. Click here for an application.
DEC ANNOUNCES NEW TOLL-FREE HOTLINE TO REPORT POACHERS AND POLLUTERS
(11/19) Public Reporting of Violations Will Help DEC Environmental Conservation Officers Protect New York’s Natural Resources for All Who Love the Outdoors. Members of the public will be able to instantly report poachers and polluters using a new toll-free hotline that will help to ensure strict enforcement of environmental laws that protect the State’s natural resources, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.
The toll-free hotline number is 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267). It will be staffed around the clock and connect callers to a DEC police dispatcher.
“The addition of the new hotline will help DEC’s Environmental Conservation Officers respond quickly to wildlife and environmental crimes, which will enhance our ability to protect New York’s valuable natural resources,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “The vast majority of sportsmen and sportswomen, and all people who utilize state lands and waters, are great stewards of our environment, but there are a few bad actors out there and we want to know about them.”
DEC’s ECOs are uniformed police officers whose primary responsibility is to enforce state environmental laws. ECOs have protected New York State’s fish, wildlife and natural resources since 1880. The currently are 278 ECOs deployed across New York’s 62 counties, who patrol by vehicle, boat or foot.
ECOs routinely apprehend poachers and polluters – those who steal valuable fish and wildlife resources or threaten our clean air, land and water. Examples of arrests made by ECOs include poachers who shoot wildlife from a highway, illegal burning of wastes, exceeding the legal limit for taking wildlife, illegal dumping, overharvest of fish, disposal of waste oil down storm drains, possessing endangered species, illegal use of pesticides and excessive smoke from diesel vehicles.
DEC Law Enforcement Director Timothy Duffy said, “We appreciate the efforts of people who are vigilant in protecting out wildlife populations and natural resources across the state. The law-abiding hunters, trappers, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts are important allies of Environmental Conservation Officers, and help us track and stop those who violate our environmental laws. This new hotline will be an important tool for them and DEC as we work together to prevent poachers and polluters from damaging wildlife and our environment.”
DEC Amends New York's Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
Regulation in Response to Discovery of Disease in Ohio
(11/5) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) amended its Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) regulation, effective today, to prohibit people from importing into New York certain parts of white-tailed deer, elk or moose taken in the state of Ohio, DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens announced.
In late October, the Ohio Department of Agriculture confirmed a case of CWD in a white-tailed deer on a deer farm in Holmes County, OH - the first positive CWD case in the state. CWD has also been confirmed in captive deer on multiple farms in Pennsylvania and in the wild deer herd in that state.
Hunters who plan to hunt white-tailed deer, elk or moose in Ohio, Pennsylvania or any other state where CWD has been confirmed must remove the following parts from the animal before the carcass can be imported into New York: brain, eyes, spinal cord, tonsils, intestinal tract, spleen and retropharyngeal lymph nodes (located deep in the head, between the windpipe and base of the skull). Hunters who plan to hunt outside of New York are urged to check DEC's website for additional information about CWD and importation restrictions. Complete information and updates on CWD are available on the Department's website.
CWD is a highly contagious and deadly brain and central nervous system disease that affects deer, elk and moose and other members of the deer family. CWD is always fatal to deer; there are no vaccines or treatment for the disease. The agent that causes the disease is called a prion. Prions are found in the lymph nodes, brain and spinal tissues of infected animals. The prions can be shed in the urine, saliva and feces of an infected animal. Also, certain parts of a CWD infected animal remain infectious on the landscape in the soil for many years.
New York State has a tremendous white-tailed deer herd and a small, but expanding, moose population. Preventing the introduction of CWD into New York from hunter-killed carcasses is vital to protecting the health of New York's deer and moose populations. The most effective way to protect New York's deer and moose herds is to keep CWD infectious material out of the state, and hunters play an important role in this effort.
It is important that hunters who hunt deer, elk or moose outside of New York know the status of CWD in the state or Province where they hunt and plan accordingly. It is illegal to import a whole carcass from CWD positive states. It is also illegal to ship the entire head of a CWD-susceptible animal from a CWD positive state into New York. To comply with DEC's CWD regulation, hunters should consider de-boning their deer, elk or moose before entering New York.
DEC ISSUES FINAL UNIT MANAGEMENT PLANS FOR
FIRE TOWER HISTORIC AREAS
(11/12) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released the final unit management plans (UMPs) for the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area and the Saint Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area, Commissioner Joe Martens announced. "The completion of the management plans allows us to move forward with restoring these historically significant resources and opening the fire towers to the public,” Commissioner Martens said. “Throughout the 20th century, fire towers played a critical role in the protection of New York State’s natural resources. Now they attract many people who want to learn about the role of fire towers, the people that worked in them and the natural resources they protected.”
The 35-foot Hurricane Mountain fire tower was discontinued for use as a fire observation station in 1979, and the 35-foot Saint Regis Mountain fire tower was shut down in 1990. Both structures have been closed to the public ever since. The completion of the UMPs allows DEC to begin working with two volunteer groups to restore the two fire towers to a condition that will accommodate full public access of the structures and include interpretive materials related to the towers’ history.
DEC anticipates beginning restoration work on both fire towers next summer with assistance from the Friends of St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower and the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Friend’s Group, respectively. The Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area UMP may be viewed and downloaded at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/78001.html and the Saint Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area UMP may be viewed and downloaded at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/78006.html. More information on these and other fire towers may be found in the Fire Tower Study for the Adirondack Park at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/62283.html.
NEW YORK STATE OFFERS NEW HUNTING RESOURCE WEBPAGE FOR SPORTSMEN AND SPORTSWOMEN
(10/9) As part of a statewide effort to promote outdoor recreation and make hunting information easily accessible to sportsmen and sportswomen, Empire State Development (ESD) Corp. and the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the creation of the I Love New York Hunting webpage, a new outdoor recreation feature that will be available at the I Love New York website and tourism offerings.
I Love NY is now providing more resources to outdoor enthusiasts with the inclusion of fishing, camping and now hunting on its New York Nature page. The I Love NY Hunting webpage promotes the extensive and rich hunting opportunities in New York State, and will help residents and visitors plan their hunting adventures. People can access the site at: http://www.ILOVENY.com/hunting.
“The I Love New York website has many improved features, including special dedicated recreation pages such as the new hunting webpage,” Empire State Development Division of Tourism Executive Director Gavin Landry said. “The site does a great job of showcasing all that the Empire State has to offer for residents and visitors alike in a continued effort to boost tourism and grow the economy.”
New York’s sporting industry generates $4.95 billion in economic activity and supports more than 56,000 jobs across the state. In support of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
DEC Seeks Help Locating Moose to Collar for Population Study(10/22) DEC Region 5 Wildlife staff are seeking assistance from the public to locate moose for a moose population study. A moose has recently been sighted in the town of Schuyler Falls near the Clinton County Landfill. If you see this, or any other moose, please report it immediately to the DEC at 518-897-1291.
DEC appreciates the public’s assistance to learn more about New York State’s largest mammal. More information on moose can be found on the DEC web site at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6964.html.
DEC AND DOT ACCEPTING PUBLIC COMMENT ON POSSIBLE AMENDMENT TO THE
REMSEN TO LAKE PLACID TRAVEL CORRIDOR UMP
(10/22) The State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Transportation (DOT) today announced that they are seeking public input through December 15 on a possible amendment to the Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor (the Corridor). The UMP governs the use of the 119-mile Corridor. Four public comment sessions on the possible amendment will be held in the coming weeks.
Specifically, DEC and DOT will develop a draft UMP amendment to evaluate the use of the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment for a recreational trail. The agencies are also examining opportunities to maintain and realize the full economic potential of rail service from Utica to Tupper Lake, and reviewing options to create and expand alternative snowmobile corridors, and other trails, to connect communities from Old Forge to Tupper Lake on existing state lands and conservation easements.
Public comment on amending the UMP to consider conversion of the Corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid to a recreational trail and realizing the full potential of rail service on the remainder of the Corridor will be accepted until December 15. Comments can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, mailed to NYS Travel Corridor, NYS DOT Freight and Passenger Rail Bureau, 50 Wolf Road, POD 5-4, Albany NY 12232 or provided verbally during four public comment meetings scheduled to take place:
October 28, 2014 6:00-8:00 PM in Utica at the State Office Building
October 29, 2014 1:00-3:00 PM in Old Forge at the View
November 6, 2014 6:00-8:00 PM in Tupper Lake at the Wild Center
November 7, 2014 1:00-3:00 PM in Lake Placid at ORDA
Amending the 1996 UMP/EIS will enable DEC and DOT to thoroughly review those aspects of the 1996 UMP/EIS that recommend enhanced recreational opportunities and community connections, and to examine alternatives for the best future use of the Corridor along the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment. DEC and DOT will work with the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and public stakeholders, including local officials and residents, to assess alternatives that reflect current realities along the corridor and potential environmental and economic impacts.
The 60-day public comment period will provide a transparent and public means of gathering information for use in a proposed amendment of the 1996 UMP/EIS that would maximize benefits from public use of the corridor and conform with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
Following public comment, DEC and DOT will prepare a Draft UMP Amendment and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement EIS) in 2015, which will explore opportunities to increase recreational use of the rail corridor and ensure it promotes tourism and economic growth in the surrounding communities. Additional public input on a draft UMP Amendment will be conducted by APA, with the goal of completing a final UMP Amendment later in 2015.
DEC AND STATE PARKS RELEASE STATE OPEN SPACE CONSERVATION PLAN FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
Public Comments Accepted Through December 17; Public Hearings to be Held Statewide
(9/17) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) Commissioner Rose Harvey today released the 2014 State Open Space Conservation Plan for public comment. The plan guides State Environmental Protection Fund investments in open space protection. Public comments on the draft plan will be accepted from September 17 until December 17 and a series of public hearings will be held across the state from October 21 to October 23.
The Draft Plan makes recommendations on how open space conservation will help accomplish Governor Cuomo’s goals, which include: ensuring clean water, air and land for a healthy public and vibrant economy; greening New York’s economy; protecting natural resources and promoting outdoor recreation; increasing and improving the visitor experience; creating a 21st century parks system that is aesthetically compelling, energy and operationally efficient, and built to last; and working to address climate change.
Building upon the recommendations of Regional Advisory Committees, the Commissioners now ask the public to make recommendations on how open space conservation programs can make the state better prepared and more resilient in preparation of future storms and climate change. Governor Cuomo created the NYS 2100 commission in response to Superstorm Sandy to generate recommendations to improve resilience and strengthen the state’s infrastructure in the face of natural disasters and other emergencies. Many of the open space recommendations included in the 2100 Commission report are integrated into the draft plan.
“By increasing funding for the Environmental Protection Fund and incorporating resiliency principles in Sandy recovery and NYWorks, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his commitment to protecting New York’s open spaces,” DEC Commissioner Martens said. “New Yorkers and visitors to the state love open spaces and the plan will ensure New York’s natural resources are protected and preserved for future generations. Specifically, the draft plan makes a series of common sense policy recommendations that will protect wildlife habitat, protect water quality, provide opportunities for public recreation, protect working farms and forests, and build resiliency and protect property from the effects of storm surges and flooding. The 137 priority projects identified by Regional Advisory Committees will extend New York’s proud tradition of open space protection.”
State Parks Commissioner Harvey said, “New York State parks and public lands remain essential pieces in the building of communities. These lands offer visitors peaceful or fun-filled getaways, promote healthier lifestyles and serve as important economic drivers for the State and local communities. New York’s abundance of parks and open spaces are reason enough alone for families and business to relocate to New York. We look forward to hearing from the public on the draft plan.”
The draft plan was created through the work of nine Regional Advisory Committees composed of representatives of county governments and people knowledgeable in open space conservation selected by DEC and State Parks. The nine committees correspond to DEC’s nine administrative regions. Each committee was asked by the Commissioners to review the existing 2009 plan, including the list of priority open space conservation projects, as well as policy recommendations, to make New York’s comprehensive open space conservation program stronger in the future.
The Commissioners invite the public to comment in writing and at the public hearings. Specifically, comments could offer suggestions on:
· how the state and its partners can promote and enhance existing and new state lands as tourism destinations as part of a comprehensive open space conservation program;
· how the state can make public lands attractive to a diversity of New Yorkers;
· how DEC and State Parks can offer better access for sportsmen and women;
· how DEC and State Parks can work to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors of all abilities through Universal Access;
· where DEC and State Parks can further develop Universal Access; and
· what the state can do to acquire and make more accessible lands near and in urban centers.
“The draft plan covers a lot of ground,” Commissioner Martens added. “We urge the public to review the draft plan and give us comments that can strengthen the State’s Open Space Conservation program in the future.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Open space and agriculture are inherently connected. Farms not only provide an opportunity to grow local products, but a habitat for wildlife and scenic vistas that are a draw for tourists across the state. Many of the goals of the open space plan such as maintaining critical natural resources and enhancing scenic, cultural and historic resources are made possible in large part due to the existence of working farms and woodlands. Updating the state’s Open Space Plan every three years is a good way to ensure that our existing open space resources are inventoried and enables the state to better plan for future open space protection efforts.”
Public comments can be submitted by email to LF.OpenSpacePlan@dec.ny.gov or mailed to DEC by December 17 to:
Open Space Conservation Plan
Albany, NY 12233
An electronic version of the draft plan is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/317.html.
A SERIES OF PUBLIC HEARINGS WILL BE HELD from October 21 to October 23 throughout the state. There will be a workshop before each hearing and the public will have an opportunity to attend either an afternoon or evening session. Please note that hearing times are different for Region 9.
Workshop: 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Afternoon Hearing: 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Evening Hearing: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Since 1992, the Open Space Conservation Plan has served as the blueprint for the State’s Open Space Program, guiding the investment of land protection funds from the Environmental Protection Fund. As required by law, the Plan is updated periodically, relying heavily on the work of the nine Regional Advisory Committees, which have worked with staff from both agencies and the public to produce a draft for public hearings and comments in 2014. Following the public comment period the Plan will be finalized and submitted to Governor Cuomo for approval in 2015.
DEC ANNOUNCES PLANS TO REVISE ESSEX CHAIN DRAFT UNIT MANAGEMENT PLAN
(8/13) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will make substantial revisions to the Essex Chain Draft Unit Management Plan (UMP), DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced. In response to public comments from local businesses, community representatives, individuals and a variety of stakeholders – including many who recommended that potential locations for a snowmobile trail should be addressed in the current Draft UMP – DEC has decided it will revise the Draft UMP to fully assess the options for locating a snowmobile trail and propose a preferred alternative.
DEC expects to release the revised draft UMP for public comment this fall and complete the UMP in time for implementation in 2015. Until that plan is approved, DEC will continue to manage these recently acquired lands and resources under a stewardship plan to guide access and recreation.
“This extraordinary property offers an outstanding outdoor experience and is already attracting a large number of visitors,” Commissioner Martens said. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, DEC is working closely with the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), environmental organizations, local officials and other stakeholders to protect the area’s critical resources while also providing opportunities for appropriate public use. Our interim stewardship plan provides appropriate public access in this area and reflects the work of that partnership. Through the draft UMP process, we will also give the public the opportunity to provide input into the future public use of this magnificent property.”
When the APA issued its classification of these Essex Chain lands and adjacent areas earlier this year, it anticipated that DEC would consider alternatives for locating a snowmobile trail through these lands to connect the communities of Indian Lake, Newcomb and Minerva. In June, DEC released a Draft UMP for public review, which noted that the location of this snowmobile trail would be addressed in a future amendment to the UMP.
In addition to addressing the preferred alternative for a snowmobile route through the Essex Chain Complex, the revised Draft UMP will include proposals in the previously released draft plan to designate mountain bike routes on gravel roads used by the lessees within the Essex Chain Complex through 2018, limited parking near the Chain of Lakes for persons of all ages and abilities, and the construction of a bridge over the Cedar River to provide access for all-season recreation from Indian Lake to the Essex Chain area. Originally, this bridge had been proposed for non-motorized recreation including hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
In the revised Draft UMP, DEC will explore options that could include using this bridge for mountain biking and snowmobiling as well.
DEC will also update its interim recreation plan for the Essex Chain Area and issue a formal Stewardship Plan that will guide DEC’s management of the area and accommodate continued public use and recreation.
“DEC staff have spent a great deal of time and effort preparing this area for the public, recognizing that it contains sensitive natural resources that must be protected,” Commissioner Martens said. “The Stewardship Plan will guide public access and use of this area while DEC prepares the revised Draft UMP pursuant to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.”
DEC is working with partners, including the towns of Newcomb, Minerva, North Hudson, Indian Lake and Long Lake, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Adirondack Ecological Center and the Student Conservation Association to implement the Stewardship Plan.
Public access projects already completed include:
· Designating 13 primitive tent sites on and around the Essex Chain Lakes and related water bodies, which require a (free) permit;
· Posting signs prohibiting fires within 500 feet of water bodies and at all permitted sites;
· Posting signs indicting no at-large camping within the Essex Chain and Pine Lake Primitive Areas;
· Designating primitive tent sites throughout the remaining area of the Complex;
· Establishing parking areas in the vicinity of Deer Pond;
· Relocating a parking area closer to the Polaris Bridge;
· Establishing parking at the vicinity of the Outer Gooley Club;
· Designating canoe carries;
· Establishing a horse trailer parking/staging area along the Chain Lakes Road (north); and
· Designating a cross-country ski loop.
The Stewardship Plan will also include enhanced seasonal access during big game hunting season on the Camp Six Road and Chain Lakes Road (South). This enhanced recreation access will be allowed on an interim basis and will also be addressed in the revised
Hunting Or Trapping Of Wild Boars In New York Now Prohibited
(4/28) A new regulation that prohibits hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State was formally adopted state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The regulation is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts.
“Enacting a statewide regulation was important to support DEC’s ongoing work to remove this invasive species from the state and to ensure that it does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York,” said Commissioner Martens. “Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, and private property and public safety wherever they occur and DEC will continue to work to protect these resources and remove wild boars from the state.”
Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions are now present across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts.”
Governor Cuomo signed legislation on October 21, 2013, which immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian boars. Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of September 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state’s efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild.
However, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years. DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York. To date, more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed. However, eradication is expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower.
“Hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive,” Martens said. “As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder,’ the name for a group of pigs that can number 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove.”
Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts. Shooting may remove one or two animals, but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts. In addition to prohibiting take of free-ranging swine by hunters, the new regulation prohibits anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar is still allowed at enclosed hunting preserves until September 1, 2015.
The regulation does provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare.
Anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York should report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or to: mailto:email@example.com and include “Eurasian boar” in the subject line.
Because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all free-roaming swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs of the animals are especially helpful, so please try to get a picture and include it with your report.
Full text of the regulation can be viewed on DEC’s Weekly Environmental Notice Bulletin for April 23, 2014, available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/enb/95072.html.
Four national conservation organizations team up for conservation
(3/3) MEMPHIS, Tenn. – February 21, 2014 – Four of the nation’s largest wild bird conservation organizations have joined forces to ensure that wild bird habitat conservation and our shared hunting heritage remain strong for generations to come. Ducks Unlimited (DU), the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the goal of furthering sporting traditions across North America.
“By entering into this unique partnership, we will be able to reach more than 1 million conservation supporters throughout North America,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “This MOU is the first step to ensuring our hunting heritage remains strong. I look forward to working with each organization and I know that together we can accomplish great things.”
The goals of the partnership will be achieved through the support of an engaged and growing community of sportsmen and women and other outdoor enthusiasts, including the members and supporters of the partner organizations, who all share similar visions.
“We’re losing 6,000 acres of habitat every day. Hunters fund conservation but now we’re at the point where less than 10 percent of the American population hunts, so the funding source is going away,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton. “We know we can’t solve this alone. It’s bigger than one organization.”
This historic partnership also takes cooperation to an entirely new level, proving that conservation organizations aren’t always competitors. Rather, this MOU shows how separate organizations can come together to achieve common goals.
Combined, these organizations have helped conserve more than 30 million acres of wildlife habitat, and through this partnership, shared conservation goals will be achieved more efficiently.
“In the face of the most rapid loss of wildlife habitat in modern times, it simply makes sense for our organizations to team up wherever possible,” explains Howard Vincent, President & CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “From our local chapters holding youth mentor hunts to state land acquisition projects, our goal is to accomplish more for current and future generations of bird hunters as partners in conservation.
DEC Releases Draft Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan for Public Comment
10/29) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released its Draft Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) strategy to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS in New York State for public comment. Comments will be accepted through December 15.
Aquatic Invasive Species threaten the ecology of New York’s rich abundance of waters and can harm water-based recreational opportunities and economies. New York is particularly vulnerable to AIS due to its vast marine and fresh water resources, major commercial ports and the easy access that ocean-going vessels have to the Great Lakes via the State’s canal system. Managing an infestation is extremely costly, so prevention is the most cost-effective strategy.
“Prevention of aquatic invasive species is critical to the long-term vitality of waterways across New York State,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “This strategic plan details proposals to further our efforts to help ensure AIS-free waters remain free and additional AIS are not introduced to other waters. We welcome the public’s ideas and feedback on the draft strategy.”
This action-based Strategic Plan updates DEC’s “Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Management Plan,” which was written in 1993. The draft plan includes more than 50 actions designed to address prevention, detection, and response to AIS. Proposed actions identified in the strategy include:
· Expand the boat launch steward program statewide;
· Develop an AIS response framework to guide decision making when AIS are detected, and communicate the reasoning for the response selected;
· Implement an AIS public awareness campaign and evaluate its effectiveness in reaching target audiences;
· Expand the use of AIS disposal stations at waterway access sites;
· Establish regional “first responder” AIS teams to incorporate local expertise in planning and implementing appropriate AIS responses; and
· Identify and evaluate risks associated with pathways for AIS introduction and movement within New York.
Aquatic invasive species arrive by many pathways including direct introduction, live animal trade, the nursery and landscape trade, recreational boating and cargo transportation. Northern Snakehead, Sea Lamprey, Round Goby, Hydrilla and the New Zealand Mudsnail are examples of aquatic invasive species present in some New York waters, which can prey upon or displace native species, alter habitat or otherwise harm native species.
The Plan can be viewed on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/99053.html. Public comments will be accepted from October 30 through December 15. You can send comments to the address below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org – enter “AIS Management Plan” in the subject line.
NYSDEC Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources
625 Broadway, 5th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-4753
To help slow the spread of both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, DEC asks all citizens to clean, drain and dry watercraft and gear after boating and fishing; use non-invasive plants in gardens and landscaping; use local firewood; and learn about, look for and report invasive species. Invasive species can be reported to New York’s Invasive Species Database, a partnership with the Natural Heritage Program and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, online at http://www.nyimapinvasives.org/ by clicking the link to “Report an Invasive.”
DEC ANNOUNCES NEW PROPOSED FRESHWATER SPORTFISHING REGULATIONS
Public Comments Accepted Through December 1, 2014
Regulations Schedule to be Effective April 2015
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is accepting comments on proposed changes to the freshwater fishing regulations through December 1, 2014, Commissioner Joe Martens announced. DEC modifies the sportfishing regulations approximately every two years as part of DEC’s commitment to enhance fishing opportunities and protect the State’s freshwater resources. DEC assessed the status of existing freshwater sportfish populations and the desires of anglers in developing the proposed regulations. In addition, many of the proposed changes are the result of DEC’s efforts to consolidate regulations where possible and eliminate special regulations that are no longer warranted or have become outdated.
The new sportfishing regulations are scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2015. The regulations in the 2013-14 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide will remain in effect until the new regulations are enacted. Once enacted, a new regulations guide will be available.
To receive input early in the process, DEC made the proposed changes available to the public on its website in July 2013. The early feedback helped DEC determine which regulation changes to advance further or to eliminate from further consideration.
Comments on the proposals can be sent by email to regulations.mailto:email@example.com or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.
The full text of the proposed regulations are also available on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html.
The proposed changes include:
Establish a closed statewide season for sauger, an extremely rare fish species in New York for which DEC completed a conservation plan in 2013;Proposed changes related to gear and use of gear include:
Modify the statewide regulation for muskellunge by increasing the minimum size limit to 40 inches and lengthen the season by three weeks to start on the last Saturday in May;
Provide consistency between the proposed statewide muskellunge regulation changes and the existing muskellunge regulations for specific waters including Lake Champlain, and St. Lawrence County rivers and streams, as well as for both muskellunge and tiger muskellunge at Chautauqua Lake;
Increase the minimum size limit for muskellunge to 54 inches in the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River;
Increase the minimum size limit for walleye at Honeoye Lake from 15 to 18 inches;
Establish year round trout seasons, with catch and release fishing only from October 16 through March 31, in the following streams in Western New York: Chenunda Creek, Oatka Creek, Clear Creek, Fenton Brook, Prendergast Creek, and waters in Allegany State Park;
Initiate a catch and release season for trout for sections of the Salmon River (Franklin County) and Ninemile Creek (Onondaga County), and extend the catch and release season at Fall Creek (Cayuga Lake);
Establish a special trout regulation of a daily creel limit of five fish with no more than two fish longer than 12 inches, in Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties, Little River and Oswegatchie River in St. Lawrence County, Millsite Lake in Jefferson County, and Oriskany Creek (Oneida County);
Establish an all-year trout season, with a 12-inch minimum size limit and daily limit of three fish, at Hinckley and Prospect Reservoirs in Herkimer and Oneida counties, North Lake in Herkimer County, for an additional section of the North Branch Saranac River in Franklin and Clinton counties, as well as for the entire set of waters that are a part of the Massawepie Easement;
Apply the current trout and salmon special regulations for the Fulton Chain of lakes to the connected water body Old Forge Pond;
Establish a 15-inch minimum size limit for lake trout and clarify that the statewide regulations apply for other species for Owasco Outlet (Cayuga County);
Modify trout and/or salmon regulations for Star Lake and Trout Lake (St. Lawrence County), by increasing the minimum size limit for trout to 12 inches and reducing the daily creel limit to three. Allow fishing all year for landlocked salmon in Star Lake, with ice fishing permitted;
Establish an open year-round trout season for Sylvia Lake (St. Lawrence County), with a 12-inch minimum size limit and three fish daily creel limit, with ice fishing permitted;
Extend Great Lakes tributary Regulations upstream to the section of the Genesee River (Monroe County) from State Route 104 Bridge upstream to the Lower Falls;
Exempt Old Seneca Lake Inlet from the Finger Lakes tributary regulations. Adjust the allowable fishing hours for Spring Creek on the Caledonia Fish Hatchery property by a half hour; and
Clarify in regulation a definition for “catch and release fishing” as well as define the limitations of handling the incidental catch of untargeted species.
Several changes to eliminate special regulations that are no longer warranted, and where the statewide regulations can be applied include to:
Delete the special minimum size and daily creel limit walleye regulation for Fern Lake (Clinton County), Lake Algonquin (Hamilton County), and Franklin Falls Flow, Lower Saranac Lake and Rainbow Lake in Franklin County, and Tully Lake (Onondaga County);
Eliminate the special regulations (examples being minimum size limit, daily creel limit, season length and/or method of take) for trout, landlocked salmon and/or lake trout, at several waters including Schoharie Reservoir, Susquehanna River (between Otsego and Goodyear Lakes), Launt Pond (Delaware County), Basswood Pond (Otsego County), Lake Algonquin (Hamilton County), Jennings Park Pond (Hamilton County), Hoosic River and Little Hoosic River (Rensselaer County), Hudson River (Saratoga County), Clear and Wheeler Ponds (Herkimer County), Cold Brook (St. Lawrence County), and West Branch of the St. Regis River (St. Lawrence County);
Eliminate the special brown trout and landlocked salmon regulations (minimum size limit, daily creel limit and season length) at Otsego Lake;
Eliminate the 10-inch minimum size limit for black bass at Lily Pond and Pack Forest Lake in Warren County, eliminate the “all year – any size” special regulation for black bass at Cayuta Creek in Tioga County, and adopt a consistent minimum size limit for black bass for sections of the Schoharie Creek at 10 inches;
Eliminate the daily creel limit special regulation for sunfish and yellow perch in Cumberland Bay (Lake Champlain);
Eliminate the minimum size limit special regulation for lake trout in the Essex Chain of Lakes;
Eliminate the separate special regulation for trout for Ischua Creek, and apply the Cattaraugus County regulation; and
Delete the special regulation for Follensby Clear Pond (Franklin County) that permits ice fishing but prohibits the use of tip-ups.
Proposed changes that are Baitfish and non-game fish related include to:
Prohibit the use of fish as bait in newly acquired trout waters: Fish Hole Pond and Balsam Pond in Franklin County; and Clear Pond in Washington County;
Remove the baitfish prohibition on Harlow Lake, Genesee County;
Remove all the currently listed eligible waters for the commercial collection of baitfish: in Clinton County except Lake Champlain; in Essex County except Lake Champlain and Lake Flower; in Franklin County except Lake Flower, Lower Saranac Lake, Raquette River, Tupper Lake and Upper Saranac Lake; in Fulton County; in Hamilton County except Indian Lake, Lake Pleasant and Long Lake; in Saratoga County except the Hudson River, Lake Lonely and outlet Lake Lonely to Kayaderosseras Creek, Mohawk River and Saratoga Lake; in Warren County except the Hudson River; and in Washington County except the Hudson River and Lake Champlain;
Add madtoms and stonecats to the approved list of fish that may be used, collected and sold as baitfish;
Eliminate “snatching” of burbot in Scomotion Creek (Clinton County);
Eliminate smelt “dipping” in Raquette Lake;
Adjust smelt regulations for Cayuga and Owasco Lakes, for consistency with five Western Finger Lakes;
Eliminate the prohibition on taking smelt and suckers with a scap or dip net in Willow Creek (Tompkins County); and
Remove the allowance for snatching lake whitefish at Otsego Lake.
Streamline what devices may be used for ice fishing by modifying the statewide regulation to allow for a total of seven ice fishing devices/lines; modify the language pertaining to devices for ice fishing to allow for a total of 15 ice fishing devices/lines for Lake Champlain;
Eliminate the gear restrictions at Follensby Clear Pond (Franklin County) that permit ice fishing but prohibit the use of tip-ups;
With the exception of the Salmon River, permit the use of floating lures with multiple hooks with multiple hook points, on all Lake Ontario tributaries;
Clarify the definition of floating lures on Lake Ontario tributaries to: “A floating lure is a lure that floats while at rest in water with or without any weight attached to the line, leader, or lure”;
Clarify that the current regulation for the Great Lake tributaries restricting the use of hooks with added weight was not intended to ban the use of small jigs;
Expand the prohibition of weight added to the line, leader, swivels, artificial fly or lures to all Lake Ontario tributaries (i.e. beyond a limited group of tributaries) from September 1 through March 31 of the following year;
Clarify that the use of multiple hooks with multiple hook points on Lake Erie tributaries is legal, as well as clarify that the use of flies with up to two hook points is legal on all Great Lake tributaries;
Replace Lake Ontario tributary regulations for St. Lawrence River tributaries in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties with statewide terminal tackle restrictions;
Redefine the upstream limit for spearfishing on the Salmon River (Franklin County);
Clarify the description of gear (gill nets) that are allowed in the Finger Lakes for the collection of alewives for personal use as bait; and
Reinstate the prohibition on large landing nets (nets larger than 50 inches around the frame or with a handle longer than 20 inches) for Finger Lakes tributaries except for those sections that are specifically identified.
In addition to the above, several non-substantive regulation modifications are included to properly establish or clarify an earlier regulation change, better define an existing regulation (by rewording etc.), and/or address regulations that have not changed but are now redundant and covered elsewhere in the regulations including as a result of consolidation.
In support of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
Lake Champlain ranked among top smallmouth bass fisheries in North America
(10/15) BURLINGTON, Vt. – Lake Champlain has received yet another world-class fishing designation. Renowned fishing media outlet, World Fishing Network, ranks Lake Champlain one of the seven best smallmouth bass lakes in North America.
The ranking, which was first reported on WFN’s website, describes Lake Champlain as “perhaps the best lake in all of North America for both quality largemouth and smallmouth bass.”
“This reinforces what Vermonters have known for years, that Lake Champlain has some of the best bass fishing anywhere,” said Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “Not only does the big lake have some of the best fishing, it also offers some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere, especially at this time of year.”
Smallmouth bass, which can be found throughout the entirety of the 120-mile lake, have flourished in Champlain’s fertile waters where they have access to optimal habitat and an immense forage base. Champlain’s rocky bottom composition and strong populations of yellow perch and crayfish create ideal conditions for smallmouth bass to prosper.
Vermont fisheries biologist Shawn Good, who manages bass populations at the lake’s southern end and is also an avid bass angler, agrees with WFN’s assessment.
“The bass population data I’ve collected over the years through electrofishing surveys clearly indicates that bass are abundant, healthy and thriving,” said Good.
“Champlain is a true gem, and it’s important to take note that bass fishing is only one of the many world-class fishing opportunities available in the lake,” said Good. “With more than 90 species of fish present, probably no other lake in the country offers so many different species to target.”
The full WFN report went on to state, “The combined fishery makes Champlain a popular destination for the biggest tournament circuits in the U.S., like B.A.S.S. and FLW. Though anglers can try and go for broke and chase monster largemouths, for the most consistent results, finding smallmouth bass schools along the northern part of the lake is the way to go, especially on the Vermont side. Like with Lake Erie, fall is the best time for smallmouth on Champlain, as bass follow the baitfish into the shallows as the water cools.”
Accomplished professional tournament angler Kevin VanDam always looks forward to fishing Lake Champlain.
“What makes Lake Champlain unique is that you can catch fish – both smallmouth bass and largemouth bass alike – just about any way you want to,” said VanDam. “It’s an amazing fishery with diverse habitat throughout and large, healthy populations of many species of fish. Whether you’re an avid tournament angler or recreational fisherman, you’ll want to experience Lake Champlain fishing. It’s simply that good.”
The other six top smallmouth fisheries noted in the article include: Lake Erie – New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania and Ohio; Lake Simcoe – Ontario; Lake St. Clair – Michigan and Ontario; Dale Hollow Lake – Tennessee and Kentucky; Grand Traverse Bay – Michigan; and Sturgeon Bay – Wisconsin.
Lakes receiving honorable mention in the WFN rankings include: Bay de Noc – Michigan; Pickwick Lake – Alabama and Tennessee; Candlewood Lake - Connecticut; Rainy Lake – Ontario; Lake of the Woods – Minnesota and Ontario; Kentucky Lake – Kentucky and Tennessee; and St. Lawrence River – New York, Quebec and Ontario.
To purchase a Vermont fishing license or to find out more about fishing opportunities in Vermont, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
Click here to order books
2014 Weekly Reports
(12/3) Last Shot: Six weeks and seven weekends sure passes quickly. Such is the Northern Zone big game season that is about to close this weekend (Sunset on Sunday). Many of us are still looking to fill our tags, and I am among them. Deer have not come easy this year but in just the past week encounters have increased, lending hope to the weekend that lies ahead. I may not be a pretty one, at least for Saturday, as the forecast calls for rain in much of the southern Adirondacks. We'll see how it plays out and perhaps it will be more snow-like instead. We've also got another full moon approaching on Saturday which could jump-start some rutting activity. Common sense tells us to hunt food sources, and given the acorn crop in parts of the region, that could be just about anyplace. Still, many of us have experienced seeing bucks still with does during the later part of the season. Here's hoping that if we find the deer, we find the bucks before time runs out. The late muzzleloading season (as well as for crossbow and archery) gives many of us another chance from Dec. 8-14. Not all WMU's are open, so be sure to check the regulations guide. Good luck this weekend.
(11/25) Happy Thanksgiving: With the holiday bearing down upon us, and a snowstorm for the southern and perhaps, eastern Adirondacks, what better time to be hunting than right now? The late season is the great season when all the conditions are right, at least that's this hunter's opinion. We're in the middle of a busy hunting vacation and just wanted to take the time to let you know what we're seeing in the woods. Rubs and scrapes have dwindled off and trail camera activity has also decreased. The bucks hunters are seeing, and shooting, are still hanging around does and it appears plenty of breeding is still going on. Our own group's observations reflect that. For many hunters it is tough going and we are not seeing a lot of deer, I can relate to that too. Still, quite a few bucks, and some nice ones at that, are being taken. We'll catch up on some photos after the holiday weekend. As of this post there are 12 days left in the season. Be sure to make the best of it. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
(11/19) The Meat of the Rut - Part II: Once again, mid-November is proving to be productive for Adirondack deer hunters. Take a look at the photos below and you'll see evidence of that. Nearly every hunter we've heard from that has seen a buck as reported them to be following does. This is the time to be in the woods. If bucks are breeding does there will be other bucks nearby and when that doe is bred the bucks will be on the move looking for another doe. No matter your hunting technique, if you know where some does reside then be sure to "check in" on them and see if they have any company. Meanwhile, we're doing some hunting ourselves and will post updates when we can. Good luck!
(11/12) The Meat of the Rut: The heart of the Northern Zone deer season is upon us and if there is a time to hunt, it is now. Yes, the Nov. 6 Full Moon and all that surrounds it has produced some fine bucks, but the action is far from over. This hunter has always felt that the middle and later parts of November are the very best part of the gun season. Sometimes it gets real cold, other times we gett more much snow than we bargained for, but there are still plenty of bucks out there to chase for those of us willing to go after them. Right now, it should be all about the ladies as bucks will be pursuiing does as they come intot their estrous cycles. If you've got some known doe hangouts be sure to spend some time there no matter what hunting technique you'll use. Between now and the end of the month we'll be hitting the woods hard ourselves and will be in the woods and/or at deer camp. Southern Zone opens Nov. 15 which should take a little pressure off the Adirondacks. And, the colder weather should get deer moving. Here's wishing everyone a safe and successfull rut hunt. Go get em'!
(11/5) Hunter's Moon: If you've been in the woods recently you'll see (hopefully) that they are literally opening up visibly and with good buck sign. Bucks are making rubs consistently now and in many areas scrapes are becoming more common. Photos of successful hunters are rolling in as are reports of bucks being spotted on the move. Although we'd like to see things just a little cooler, a pretty good weather weekend is anticipated and some areas may even see some snow! Thursday's (Nov. 6) full moon is bright in the sky also and is what many hunters center their activities around. Many of us have most of our hunting time in the days ahead. Good luck, and keep us in the loop.
(10/29) Week 2: This coming weekend is shaping up to be a good one, as it should be when the calendar says it's November. It looks like the warmer weather is finaly going to break and that is good news for deer hunters. Any drop in temperature should get deer moving and it looks like that is going to happen throuought the weekend, espcially by Sunday. Recent rain and wind has brought down some leaves but there is still quite a bit of underbrush, especially on the fringes of the Adirondack region and to the south. One good sign many hunters, including our group, found during the opening weekend was active scrapes. Along with some rubs showing up it appears the bucks are gearing up. Moon theorists say things are going to happen early around the Thursday, Nov. 6 Full Moon and after. We shall see. Some folks have had some luck already (see photos below). Congrats to those who got off to a good start and good luck in tehe days ahead.
(10/22) Here we go: Another Adirondack muzzleloading weekend has come and gone, with some rain to follow. While this wet weather has altered many of our hunting plans this week, the rain is much needed. Although, it may change some plans for those who have been strategizing their hunts around water sources. We had an interesting few days of hunting, letting a young buck pass and missing an opportunity on a much bigger one. Mainly, we tried to cover some ground and do some in-season scouting which revealed a solid, but not over-estimated acorn crop here in the southeastern ADKs. Some oaks are raining acorns while others are barren of them. Buck sign in the form of rubs is starting to show up and many hunters are reporting finding numerous rubs, especially farther north in the region. It will be interesting to see what this mid-week storm does for visibility as there is still a lot of green on the underbrush, especially where there is beech. Our 44-day Big Game season opens Saturday, Oct. 25. Good luck and please hunt safely.
(10/15) Change in Seasons: First off, let me say that I love archery hunting, and archery shooting. Since Sept. 27 I've spent plenty of time in the woods either on stand with my compound bow, or going for a walk/stalk with my recurve. This crossbow thing is brand new to me. For the past decade I have followed closely the crossbow debate with really no opinion one way or the other. It's hard to take a stand on something that you know little about.
As time went on, I found myself favoring crossbow use. The more I talked with people who simply could not shoot a bow - and I know there is adaptive archery equipment - the more I realized they deserve an opportunity to hunt outside of gun season just like anyone else. Also, as someone who follows the hunting inudustry closely I saw the crossbow gaining in popularity across the country. It was only a matter of time before it became a reality in New York. And now, it has.
I also knew that as an outdoor communicator I would need to learn about the crossbow if I'm going to write about it and interact with readers who use, or choose note to use it. And so I've acquired one. Before shooting it I watched the assembly and safety videos and have since learned as much as I can up to this point. I don't know if I'm going to be a long-term crossbow hunter or not, but I'm going to find out; just like thousands of other New York hunters. The Crossbow Season is here, it opened today and I spent the wayning part of the day in a ground blind where there were more bugs than bucks. It was 78-degrees today, too warm for Adironack hunting. But, there's only one "opening day" and I wanted to check it out. I hope to get out again before the end of the week. The funny thing is, my effective range, in my mind, is 30-yards. About the same with my compound. I'll be elaborating on this a bit more in two upcomming newspaper columns: the Thursday, Oct. 9 issue of The Chronicle, and the Sunday, Oct. 19 issue of the Press-Republican.
With Muzzlelaoding Season opening Saturday, Oct. 18, many of us won't be using our crossbows too much. Although I'm not much of a Southern Zone hunter, I may venture over that way in November when there is a two-week season there and get a little more time in with this new impliment.
That said, hunters throughout the Adirondacks are primed for the muzzleloading season. Visibility is minimal in places and where there are oaks, there seem to be plenty of acorns. Deer are spread out and there is some early buck sign showing up. It's a tough call as to whether to hunt the food, the buck sign, or hopefully, both! Good luck with both the crossbow and the smokepole in the coming days.
(10/8) Columbus Day: Right now, hunting in the Adirondacks is all about small game - including turkeys - and bowhunting. Things are about to change as the long-anticipated Northern Zone Crossbow season opens Wednesday, Oct. 15. While that is exciting and will surely put more hunters in the woods (some of us consider that a good thing) we've also got New York's third annual youth deer hunt this weekend, Oct. 11-13. We at ADKhunter wish all the young hunters and their mentors out there a safe and successful hunt. The weather is looking a bit warm with temps in the 60s in some areas, which is a little warm for hunting comfortable for stand hunters.
In the woods things appear to be all about food. In the foothills and permitter of the ADKs where oaks are present there are plenty of acorns. With so many food options deer seem to be scattered and hard to pattern. They're showing up on trail cameras at different times and may be under one oak tree one day, another the next. At least they're getting in good shape for a potentially long winter. The best thing about hunting in the Adirondacks around Columbus Day is the scenery, which is spectacular nearly anywhere you go. Enjoy your long weekend, if you have it, and let us know how the hunting goes.
(9/24) The End of an Era: The Northern Zone early archery season opens this Saturday, Sept. 27 and has be
en traditionally a four-day hunt using a leftover tag from the previous license year, should you have one. That's all coming to end after this year's hunt. The sporting license year in New York is now Sept. 1 - Aug. 31, rather than Oct. 1 - Sept. 30. With this year being an overlap between the the two license years, we can still use our tags from the 2013-14 if we have them, but next year you'll have to use your 2015-16 tags for both early bear and early archery (deer) as they'll become valid on Sept. 1, 2015. That said, I'm still not sure which licensee, not tag, I'm supposed to carry with me in the woods this weekend so I'll carry both. But, I've still got my yellow tags from last year to tie to a deer if I'm fortunate enough to kill one.
As for the weekend, and the four-day hunt, things are looking pretty warm. Parts of the Adirondacks, especially to the south, could see temps in the '80s this weekend with it not being much cooler elsewhere. To this hunter, warm weather is the absolute worst hunting conditions there are. I just like traditional fall weather. But, the calendar says it's "deer season" and I'm ready to go hunting. The mornings should be cool and enjoyable over the next few days but some us may be swatting mosquitos are cranking up our ThermaCell units for our afternoon outings. Scouting reports from hunters are indicating some buck rubs (left) showing up already and while apples are in short supply there is an acorn crop out there this year where oaks are prevalent. What I'm finding in my haunts is that some, but not all of the oaks, have acorns. Many are still premature.
The early bear season remains quiet but we do have some reports of success from the western Adirondacks, Lewis County, and over towards the Tug Hill area. We've also heard that two females were killed on the highways in that region. Whether you're after deer, bear, waterfowl or other small game this weekend; have a good time, be safe and let us know if you have some luck and what you're seeing for deer sign in the woods.
Big Deer TV: Earlier this summer, in July, a group of Adirondack hunters were featured on Big Deer TV, on the Sportsman Channel. Many of us missed the episode but are sure it will re-air in the future. We'll keep an eye out for it and let you know when it comes around again. Meanwhile, here's a story about the show from the Leader-Herald newspaper in Gloversville.
9/17 Cold Start: Bear season has been open for less than a week and so far we haven't heard of any luck yet. In fact, the only guys who are having success is DEC nailing bear-baiters. If you have been in the woods chasing bears, please let us know how you are doing and also what you are seeing for deer sign, mast cropts, etc. Grouse season opens this weekend (Sept. 20) in the Northern Zone. Nothing better than a little "wild chicken" in the frying pan. We're also looking at a cold snap that could put an end to the growing season and perhaps kick-start the foliage season into high gear.