(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