The date was October 20, 2000 and I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the eve of the Northern Zone rifle season and I had just returned home from hiking Big Slide Mountain in the Adirondacks High Peaks region; kind of a tune-up for the deer season that awaited.
When I checked my email I found a note from a web hosting service saying my account had been set up and my new website – my first website – was ready to launch. That website was ADKHunter.com, and it was officially launched that night.
The idea for a website that centered entirely around hunting in the Adirondacks had come to me months earlier. I had been learning the basics of HTML and web design at my full-time job and was fascinated by the freedom of the internet. I was also in the early stages of a part-time outdoor writing career, which I felt could be supported by a hunting-based web outlet.
The idea then, just as it is now, was to keep things simple and provide a web-media outlet strictly for New York’s Adirondack/Northern Zone hunters. ADKHunter took off, and grew substantially every year as more and more hunters began using home computers and eventually tablets and cell phones. Photos, stories and reports came in and friendships developed. The website became a perfect companion to my outdoor writing; kind of a business card, if you will.
I’ll admit that social media has had an impact during the past decade. The ability for one to post a hunting photo instantaneously often seems to the reader to be a better option than emailing a photo to a web author (like me) and then wait for that photo to be edited, captioned and posted. And photos, by far, have been the most labor-intensive part of running this website, but also the most rewarding. A hunter’s smile says it all. We still get plenty of photos, but a tad less than we used to.
The temptation to take the website commercial, say by selling advertising, links, or allowing third-party promotional material, has seemed lucrative at times. But I’ve never gone down that road, always keeping it on the volunteer scale. That is mainly because of time restraints, and I’ve always kept the commercial option in the back of my mind, knowing the website has business potential should I ever want to explore that option. Meanwhile, the ads you’ve seen on this website are simply for friends, or those who have supported certain causes related to hunting and the hunters of the Adirondack region.
Now things are about to change. Effective April 1, 2020, I will be accepting the reins as Editor of New York Outdoor News. My friend Steve Piatt is retiring from NYON and I will be working with him throughout this month (March) on the transition. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have the opportunity to devote myself full-time to outdoor writing and communicating the outdoor message. It is a real blessing.
This all leads to the future of ADKHunter.com, which I’ve been asked about numerous times as of late. The truth is, at this time, I really don’t know. The timing for this change is good because this is generally a slow time of year for the website, which obviously sees peak activity during the last four months of the year. NYON has some solid resources, which we’ve linked to here in the past and will obviously do more of in the future. The bottom line is that at this time I do not know how much time I’ll be able to dedicate to ADKHunter.com in days, weeks and months ahead, and beyond. It remains to be seen. I’ll do my best, but my priorities have to lie with Outdoor News.
That said, there is infrastructure in place here that could be expanded upon by the right person(s). Like I said, there is business potential here. If you are serious, and interested in taking over ADKHunter, then I’d be willing to discuss a transition at the business level. I even have a few ideas and suggestions, and of course would lend my support during the transition.
In the meantime I have two words for all who have supported this website these past two decades: thank you! The friendships I’ve made, the fact that hunters have made use of the content that has been provided, and that we Adirondack hunters – being the specialized group of hunters that we are – continue to stamp our own footprint in a hunting world that is always changing around us, has given me more satisfaction than I can ever begin to explain. Being part of it has been the ultimate reward.
Thanks again, and good luck to all!