May Day: New York’s youth hunting weekend seemed to be a success on many accounts. For the most part, the weather cooperated, even though it was a bit chilly on Saturday. However, a cool, quiet morning is a good one for getting a gobbler. It looks like more of the same is on tap for the May 1 opener, perhaps even some snow in a few areas. Wind could be a factor too. Meanwhile, in the southern portions of the Adirondacks we seem to be a week or two ahead with foliation and more rain is in the forecast for the first week of the month. We’re seeing and hearing a lot of gobblers on our scouting runs and hope you are too.
Recently we reported in NY Outdoor News that there are not a lot of two-year-old toms out there this year, thanks to a tough nesting season in 2019. However, there should be plenty of jakes and some older toms. Reports we’ve heard from many who have done there scouting is that there are plenty of Adirondack birds out there, but they could be scattered in areas that had a solid 2020 acorn crop as they clean up what’s left. Mountain birds can move around, but often cycle back to do your best to keep tabs on them.
Hey, Junior Hunters:
Good luck to all of our young hunters and mentors out there and be sure to send us a photo! And, if you’d like to send a photo to NY Outdoor News for our Readershots, you can do so here.While you’re at it, you young hunters and anglers should consider joining the Outdoor News Junior Pro Team. It’s a great program just for you! Click here to learn more.
Meanwhile, trout season is here and stream anglers (not pond fishermen) need to know that DEC has a new trout stream plan that begins this season. Check it out here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/111015.html. Also, the new regulations guide is only available online at this time but printed copies should be out soon.
Like Podcasts? If so, check these recent shows out that feature Adirondack hunters.
• Dan Ladd on Pertnear Outdoors
• Todd Mead on Truth from the Stand:
• Joe DiNitto on Hal Blood’s Big Woods Bucks
• Todd Waldron (and Dan Ladd) on Dirks Outdoors Radio Show
Read 2020 hunting reports here:
12-10 Last Call, Pt. 2: While not all of the Northern Zone is open for the late muzzleloading season, a good portion is and that means one more shot at some venison. Hopefully hunters will be wise about where, and where not, to take an antlerless deer. It’s just impossible for DEC to micromanage an entire WMU. Closing weekend of the rifle season was eventful. Our gang saw plenty of does, and plenty of buck sign, just no bucks. We’ll see how things go this weekend. It does appear that deer are starting to group up, at least at higher elevations. We’ve also heard reports from both the Northern and Southern Zone of bucks losing their antlers. The weather looks comfortable for the weekend, although Sunday could be wet.
As is always the case after the season, plenty of photos are rolling in. Things area busy right now with NY Outdoor News, so we’ll get some new photos posted when we can. For now, keep ’em coming, and good luck this weekend.
12-2 Last Call Pt. 1: Deer season goes quick, no doubt and here we are looking at the final days of this one. The northern and western Adirondacks are sure to have some snow for the final weekend, we’ll see about further east. Either way, some cooler temps should get the deer on their feet. In areas where there’s a lot of food, such as acorns, the deer have been fat and happy and not moving much. Good news for them heading into the winder, but sometimes hard to pinpoint for hunters. Still, it’s been a great season and our gang has put some bucks on the pole, we hope yours has too. Get out there and make the best of it this weekend, and get ready to get the smokepole back out next week where you are able.
11-24 – Happy Thanksgiving: We are about to embark on a Thanksgiving holiday like no other. This hunter has a feeling that if families can’t gather in the living and dining rooms, that hunting families everywhere will be gathering for the traditional holiday deer hunt. Whether it’s Thursday morning or for the long weekend, here’s wishing everyone the best.
The countdown to the end of deer season begins. As of this writing, there are basically about 11 days left in the regular season and the first week in December is the final week. Buck activity has appeared to slow down a bit in the woods; perhaps it is the breeding cycle that finds bucks with does or a little less pressure thanks to the Southern Zone being open (and with some comfortable weather to boot). According to my buddy, Oak Duke (see below), things could pick back up again. Those of us with tags still in our pockets sure hope that’s the case. There is an interesting weather system that could possibly develop early next week and bring some snow to the region; same for later in the week. We’ll see, otherwise things look pretty mild for the homestretch.
11-19 – Southbound? With the Southern Zone regular season opening this weekend many hunters will “head south” for a change of pace and, in all likelihood, a chance to increase their odds in terms of putting venison in the freezer. Here in the North Country of the Adirondacks we should see a little less pressure in the woods at a time when the hunting has been as hot as it can be. Heading into last weekend we wondered where the rut would be at following the early November heat wave. Well, it seems like things picked up right where they left off, if they even let off at all. Our group saw bucks every single day. A few slipped by, but one very good one did not. Rubs, and fresh scrapes especially, were everywhere. It was mid-November as you imagine it being. Bucks should be breeding does so we should keep after those doe groups. If you see yearlings about without their mom, she’s likely with her boyfriend. Find her, and you have found him, or another buck hanging around. The weather is looking rather seasonal for the weekend, good for Southern Zone sitters and Northern Zone dweller’s alike. Make the most of it, this is still a great time to be in the woods.
11-11 – Peak Weekend: The warm stretch we hunters just endured – following entirely opposite conditions – surely threw a wrench into the season. Indeed, some bucks were taken and many hunters reported them to be on the tail of does. But how intense would things have been under normal November conditions? We’ll never know.
What we do know is that Indian Summer is over, for now, and as we hit the peak of our seven-weekend Northern Zone season we hope the rut picks back up. It will be interesting to see if sign like rubs and scrapes continue to intensify signaling that bucks are on the move, or it dwindles telling us breeding is under way. We’ll know more by Monday. Either way, now is the time to be in the woods and the mercury dropping somewhat should only add to what is naturally occurring in the world of the Adirondack whitetail. I for one am really looking forward to this weekend. Good luck, hunt safe.
11-4 – Indian Summer: What a difference a week makes. Last week we hunted on snow, and in the western Adirondacks they still may be. However, some warm weather is coming our way starting Thursday and hanging around for about a week. Although the rut is starting to crank – rubs and scrapes are increasing daily, bucks are following does – nothing throws a wrench in it like a warm spell which tends do slow down deer movements. If you’ve found some deer thus far in the season, stay on them and hopefully you can catch a buck hanging around during the daylight. Otherwise, expect a lot of nocturnal movement. It will also be quite noisy where there’s no snow during this warm up. At least you won’t get cold!
10-29 – Snow Kidding: As I write this the second weekend of the Northern Zone rifle season is fast approaching, and it could be a good one. That’s because Mother Nature is about to put some of the “white stuff” on the ground in parts of the region. If you have Friday off, it could be a magical day to hunt in the Adirondacks.
What an opening weekend some hunters had. Our own crew tagged a good buck and we’ve got a few photos of some others. It started off a little warm but overall it was a good hunting weekend.
Looking ahead, many believe the Halloween blue moon will trigger some serious rutting activity. Perhaps, and early next week is supposed to remain cold which should keep the deer on their feet. Hopefully, some leaf cover is coming down and we know findings of rubs and scrapes are on the rise. And if you’re in a area where there are oak trees, hunters are finding tons of acorns. Where there’s food, there’s does. And where there’s girls….???
10-22 – October Lull?: That’s what some folks call it but it could it be that the quiet week we’ve had in the deer woods can be attributed to warm, wet weather? This hunter has been out on the back 40 (back 20, actually) every morning this week with the muzzleloader and deer activity seems to have shut down. Trail cams are quiet too, even at night. Some hunters, including our group, had some luck during the black powder weekend, which was also warm. The rain, however, has brought down some leaves and brought some much needed water to streams and small ponds. Opening day is supposed to be warm, but things are expected to be a little cooler in the days that follow. Not hearing much about buck sign, other than a few rubs and scrapes here and there. Good luck this opening weekend!
10/12 – Kids, Crossbows and Muzzleloaders: It’s been quite a start to October in the Adirondack hunting world as we come off New York’s annual youth big game hunting weekend. We did not hear of a lot of youth hunters out there in the Adirondack region but across New York social media platforms have shown some kids did have some luck.
I spent Saturday and Sunday morning with Joey, age 14, hunting near my home in the Southeastern Adirondacks. We did not see a deer, but we had some good conversation, did come calling and even some still-hunting. Joey went out for an afternoon hunt with his uncle in Saratoga County and made a successful shot on an antlerless deer and is now officially among the deer hunting fraternity. I’m proud of him and he is happy with his success.
In the days ahead things change quickly in the Adirondacks. First, the Northern Zone crossbow season begins on Wednesday, Oct. 14 followed by the early muzzleloading season Oct. 17-23. It’s opening day all over again. If you’ve been in the woods lately you know there’s plenty of foliage, but Tuesday’s rain will hopefully bring at least some leaves down. Still, we’ve got a long way to go. Hunters, however, are finding some buck sign – rubs, mainly – and there are some acorns out there but they seem to be at lower elevations.
10/4 – Are You Bowhunting?: A week into the Northern Zone archery season and things are pretty quiet. We have heard very little from hunters up to this point and have only seen a few successful deer stories posted in other social media platforms. Is anyone bowhunting up here? Although it’s cooled down, there’s still some warm weather ahead, including for the upcoming youth big game hunt this weekend (Oct. 10-12). We sure hope that goes well for the young hunters. And while the foliage is spectacular, we hunters like it when things go the other way and visibility increases. We may be a long way from that!
9/25 – Sharpen Those Broadheads: And just like that its (almost) deer season. The Northern Zone archery season for deer opens Sunday, Sept. 27 and for many of us it couldn’t come any quicker. A long, hot, COVID-filled summer has us anxious to get in the woods. There are some acorns out there, but just where, is up for grabs. It seems some places have them and some don’t and it could be a matter of elevation. Apples are still around and should be hunted if you have them. One often-overlooked factor in years such as this is water. Things are dry for sure and this could impact deer travel patterns. Keep that in mind when picking your stand(s). If you can pinpoint a buck’s summer travel pattern these first few days perhaps you’ll have some luck. Looks to be warm start, but a cool-down and a waxing moon are in store for next week. Good luck!
9/15 – Bear, Grouse Season: It’s hard to believe that hunting seasons are upon us, but they are. With black bear season opening in the Adirondacks on Saturday, Sept. 19 and grouse season opening the next day, the woods will start to get a little busier. Toss in some youth pheasant and water fowl hunts and you get the idea. If you partake in these seasons, we’d love to hear some reports and see a photo or two if you have some luck. And with archery season less than two weeks away our thoughts turn to deer. Let us know what your finding for mast crops, buck sign and whatever.