According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Autumn begins today at 4:44 p.m. Hunters, big and small game alike, couldn’t be happier. Deer are always the species at the top of the hunting list and we archery hunters will get our first crack at them this Friday, Sept. 27, when the early archery season opens in the northern zone.
This is the end of an era for this four-day season that is open only to those hunters who possess a tag for the 2012-13 license year, which ends on Sept. 30. Beginning next year the license year will begin on Sept. 1 and end on Aug. 31.
There has been some minimal speculation from state wildlife officials as to how both the early bear and archery deer seasons are to be handled next year when the two license years overlap. One possibility is that hunters will be able to use their 2013-14 tags if they have them or choose to use their newly acquired 2014-15 tags. After next year hunters will be using their new tags during these early seasons.
Getting back to this coming archery season for deer there are some real excited hunters out there anticipating opening day. This year’s apple crop may really be the best ever. In my hunting areas apples are not only big and plentiful, they’re staying on the trees. This is something that doesn’t happen every year. As long as there are apples around, there will be deer around.
The challenge facing early season bowhunters later this week will likely be choosing the ambush point. Some will set up right on an apple tree while others will do so on trails or staging areas leading to the feeding site. If you have a lot of apple trees around, and they are scattered, this could pose even more of a challenge.
The woods are also showing signs of a solid beechnut crop as well as some acorns. These too are preferred foods for whitetails. Having plenty of food around may actually frustrate hunters trying to pinpoint a whitetail’s habits. This is the reality of hunting and the way I look at is that solid food sources mean solid, healthy deer heading into the unpredictable winter months. If they’re tough to hunt because of widespread food sources, so be it.
Deer aren’t the only species getting some early season attention. This weekend is the annual youth waterfowl hunt in the northeastern zone. Next weekend (Sept. 28-29) it is in the Lake Champlain zone. Next weekend is also the youth pheasant hunting weekend in eastern and northern New York. The youth deer hunt is fast approaching on Columbus Day weekend.
Grouse season opened in the North Country on Friday (Sept. 20) and seasons for wild turkey, cottontail rabbits and varying (snowshoe) hare open Oct. 1. Hunting season is here folks, enjoy it.
OUTDOOR WRITER’S CONFERENCEE
I spent last weekend in Lake Placid attending a joint outdoor writers conference shared by the Outdoor Writer’s Association of America (OWAA) and the New York State Outdoor Writers Association (NYSOWA). I am only a member of the latter. In fact, I’m NYSOWA’s northern region vice president. I really enjoyed having the national group here and I’m sure the Adirondack region will benefit greatly because of it.
As I’ve witnessed so often with our state association, whenever a group of outdoor communicators visit an area they return home and submit material to their various media outlets. OWAA members consisted of roughly 250 writers, photographers, videographers, radio hosts and sponsoring members. Toss in a few dozen NYSOWA members who also came from various parts of our large state and you had plenty of sets of eyeballs taking in the picturesque Adirondack scenery.
I can tell you these visiting outdoor media folks were very impressed with our region. It was a busy weekend of informational seminars, social engagements, product demonstrations and networking. Our outdoor resources no doubt left a lasting impression on those who traveled here that so often associate all of New York with New York City. Those of us who live up here have always known better and now people all around the country will also when they’re treated to the material provided by the attendees.
Kudos go out not only to OWAA and their staff for a well organized conference but especially to all those in the Lake Placid region who welcomed us to town. The fairly new conference center is a first rate facility, as are the people who run it. I had a fantastic time. Elizabeth Lee was there also plans to tell you more about the weekend in her column on this page in next week’s issue.
Dan Ladd is the author of “Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks,” outdoors editor for the Glens Falls Chronicle, columnist for Outdoors Magazine and contributor to New York Outdoor News. Contact him at www.adkhunter.com.