December 30, 2012

Another North Country deer season in the books

Another unique deer season has passed.

Unique in the fact that we had a very limited food source in the North Country this year, which made for some challenging hunting conditions.

As opposed to the past few years when we had ample sources of mast crops like beechnuts and acorns, this year there was very little. Even the apples were scarce. Many of the deer taken this year were gorging on ferns.

Still, some beautiful bucks were taken again this year, especially in the Adirondacks. I’ve spent some time over the holidays updating my website,, and I’m always amazed at the quality of the bucks we have up here. I’m equally impressed with the hunters who harvest them, especially in such a challenging year.

One thing that is popping up in the southern zone and catching on further north are Quality Deer Management Co-ops or even just simple antler restriction programs. While I’m not one to support mandatory antler restrictions because I feel they are one group of hunters imposing their desires on others, I believe they work. These co-ops are benefiting not only the hunters who participate in them but others as well.

And then there is that first youth season that was held this year. If you are a critic of this program, I’ve got a story to share.

A friend of mine has a 12-year-old daughter who is suddenly interested in hunting. Why? Because her 14-year-old friend participated in the youth hunt and got a deer and now my buddy’s daughter thinks that’s really cool. This type of enthusiasm doesn’t show up in the harvest statistics but is a perfect example of the trickle-down effects such a program has. I hope they stick with it.

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