Happy New Year: Just like deer season, the years seem to go by fast, even as tumultuous as they are in what is now the COVID era. We hope everyone is having a safe holiday season and is perhaps enjoying some time outdoors. We’re hearing of “some” ice in the heart of the Adirondacks but overall, not a lot of ice fishing action. Hopefully, that will change soon. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of small game and predator hunting to go around during the next few months. Whatever you do outside, enjoy it and be sure to share a photo or two from a small game or predator hunt. We’re not “all” about deer!
The Latest Adirondack Hunting Photos…
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With some time constraints and new duties at NYODN, I’ll do my best to get your Adirondack hunting photos posted We also encourage hunters, anglers and trappers from all over New York to share your stories with New York Outdoor News, where we have regular Reader Shots and the Best Buck contest. Click here to submit photos to NYODN.
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.
Read 2021 hunting reports here:
(12/2) Last Call, Pt. 1: Dang, deer season goes fast and now here we are at the final weekend of the regular season. Although the rut might be slowing down (for now), snow across the region has resulted in some good hunting conditions. Trackers especially are enjoying the white stuff but all hunters who are mobile are taking advantage of the opportunity to see what deer are doing. We’ll see what Thursday’s rain and warm-up does to conditions across the region, but the weekend is looking pretty good in terms of weather. So, make the most of it and punch a late-season tag before muzzleloading season opens in parts of the region Dec. 6-12.
(11/26) Snow Day?: It looks like hunters in a good portion of the Adirondacks will get their wish today (Black Friday) and this snow! Here in the Lake George region it’s all rain, for now, but some white stuff at higher elevations appears to be in the forecast. After today, it’s supposed to cool down and be a blustery, noisy weekend, which is good for deer drives and with the snow we’ll know that any sign is fresh. Who knows what’s to become of it, but countdown has begun. Make the most of this holiday weekend and the week that follows and a Happy belated Thanksgiving to all.
(11/19) Staying North: Although it’s been a tough season for many Adirondack hunters, things seem to be improving. The reports, including those coming in with photos, are of bucks chasing/courting does. All week I’ve been watching a young button buck who is suddenly alone, and wondering if his mom is with her boyfriend. Conditions are also improving and a good weather weekend (finally) looks to be ahead. So, the question is if you are heading south or staying north, as the Southern Zone (see below) opens this weekend. Also ahead is the classic Thanksgiving week hunt. It’s hard to believe there’s only a little more than two weeks left in the season as I write this, but quite often, when things are quiet early on that can pick up quickly during the home stretch. Keep an eye on them doe groups, as there’s bound to be some bucks nearby. Good luck!
(11/12) Peak Weekend: Greetings Adirondack hunters, just a quick note at the end of what has been a busy week to check in on what seems to be a slow Northern Zone hunting season so far. As we turn the corner this weekend on our regular season, it’s been pretty tough for a lot of hunters out there. Along with the warmth, many can’t recall the amount of lower vegetation hanging around this deep into November. The good news, is that things appear to be picking up in terms of rutting activity. We just got a report yesterday, Veteran’s Day (thanks to all who served) of a buck being taken while chasing three does that were doing their best to get away from him. That kind of aggressiveness is what we like to see. After Friday’s rain, it looks like a little more will be in place for Saturday, as well as a welcome cool-down before things warm up a bit again later this week. Hang in there, keep us posted on what your finding for sign and seeing for bucks. We’ll get a few photos up after the weekend.
(11/04) Frost on the Pumpkin: Finally, some cold weather and we hope it is spreading to the parts of the state dealing with EHD. Here in the Adirondacks it will surely help to bring down the leaves on the underbrush, which were still an issue during weekend No. 2 of the season. Not hearing of a lot of success from hunters, but our crew had a good day ahead of and during the rain, killing two good bucks. But, we had to literally step on them to get them to move. That should change this weekend, as rutting activity is picking up in the form of rubs and scrapes and the cooler weather should get dear moving. The weather this weekend looks a bit warm, but still colder than it’s been with no rain in the forecast. So, we hope you can get out there and enjoy it.
(10/28) Scattered: From what we’re hearing, conditions are surely localized. Higher elevations, mainly the High Peaks, got a little snow with the Nor’easter that just passed through. Now we’re back to more seasonable weather which is both good and bad news. It’s good, because it’s just been too warm and bad because most of the region could use a hard frost. That means underbrush is still a problem. Not only does it mess with visibility, you also get wet when walking through it, which looks to be the reality for the weekend which has some rain in the forecast. We’re also hearing of a few bucks (and bears) being taken and buck sign discoveries are on the rise, mostly rubs but some scrapes too.
(10/21) Lets Go Hunting – Opening day is nearly upon us and after a few warm days (again) things are supposed to cool off a little for the opener. Recent rains have brought down some leaves but there’s still plenty of green in the woods, and likely will be until we get some frosts. It was a wet first day of the early muzzleloading season for many, then a front came through and made for nice hunting day on Sunday. We found a few rubs, but no scrapes, although a mock scrape I made has had some activity. We found spotty acorn production – thanks to the gypsy moths – and a few beechnuts too. We’re hearing of a good crop of both is some places, and not so good in others. So, it’s all about local this year. I’m looking forward to getting in the woods and doing some in-season scouting. Finding food, and does, will be paramount and where you find both is likely to be where you find the “boys” as the rut kicks in, hopefully soon. Good luck!
(10/14) Smokin’ – Finally, it’s about to really feel like hunting season with the Northern Zone muzzleloading opener on Saturday (Oct. 16-23). The story, of course, is the heat which fortunately is about to break. Looking back through the past week for the youth hunt and crossbow season, the warm temps have kept deer movement down. Although we’ve spotted a few in our outings no shots were presented, but a lot of bugs were killed. We did find the first buck rub of the season (see photo)! Visibility is tough, at least here in the southeastern Adirondacks. Only the maples are bare and the under-brush is still mostly green. We need a hard frost, as do our friends in other parts of the state who are dealing with EHD, but it doesn’t look to be coming soon, perhaps further north? Sunday’s cool-down should spark deer movement as the temps are going to drop about 25 degrees F in 12 yo 16 hours. While I’m heading out Saturday for sure, I’m more excited about Sunday.
(10/7) Kid Stuff: New York’s Youth Big Game Hunting Weekend is coming up, Oct. 9-11 (see below) and it’s looking like it’s going to be a warm one. With that, it will be paramount to get in the woods early and also be ready for some afternoon hunts. Otherwise, it will be tough to get deer moving. Yet another strategy might be to set up around water. This hunter will be out with a 15-year-old on Sunday (he has to work on Saturday). On the New York Outdoor News website, we have a poll on the youth hunt that sadly shows that more than half of the experienced hunters out there who would like to mentor a kid this weekend, can’t find one. For now, let’s enjoy the weekend and the fact that in most of New York, and all of the Adirondacks, 12- and 13-year-olds can take part (but only 14- and 15-year-olds can shoot a bear, silly!). But looking ahead, we have our work cut out for us in terms of getting more kids to participate in this hunt, or at least matching mentor to mentee. I’ve said it before, New York seriously needs an R3 coordinator and full-fledged R3 program. We’ll get there, but only if we the sportsmen get behind it and demand it. Shoot straight kids!
(9/22) Archery Countdown: As I write this, it’s less than a week before the Northern Zone archery season begins on Monday, Sept. 27. Right now the daytime temps are looking a little warm for early next week but the mornings and evenings should be cooler. Looks like another solid acorn crop in parts of the Adirondacks and we’re hearing of some beechnuts too. What we haven’t heard is how bear hunters are doing (yet) but the season has only been open a few days. A scattered beechnut and/or acorn crop will surely make the bruins are to find and could do the same for deer. I’ve seen quite a shift since the apples have started drying up and acorns are coming on in other parts of the area. Happens every year! Good luck out there on Monday and be safe.
Rest in Peace, Cousin Ed Ladd (1966-2021)
May the bucks in Heaven be big and plentiful
2020 Hunting Blog
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! Often when visibility is limited, holographic sights are of great help. They are wide-field of view and provide faster target acquisition. Websites related to hunting (such as riflescopescenter.com Holo Sights for AR ) could offer more information regarding rifles and holo sights.
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.