Season Wrap-up: What’s been a strange deer season for many in the North Country has come to an end. Deer or no deer, we hope you enjoyed the season which featured a very warm first half and normal second half. After putting down a few bucks early on, and having a solid doe population in one of our hunting areas, our crew figured we’d have some bucks wandering in during the late season, but it didn’t happen. It certainly wasn’t for lack of effort and since we hunt mostly in the eastern Adirondacks we kept at it right on through the late muzzleloading season; seeing only does, which we pass on in our mountainous hunting areas. Not so in some of our lowland areas, however, and I was able to knock down a mature doe (right) with less than an hour left in the muzzleloading season. 

Now, other than a little Southern Zone hunting, it’s back to the norm as we wait for ice fishing season to get under way. We’ll be watching the snowfall as well, and pondering how it may effect an Adirondack deer population without a lot of natural food sources in the woods. This slow, but eventual start to winter, could be good thing. For now, we wish you a all a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, and thanks for dropping by! 

12/9 Final Shot Pt. II: Dang, ‘Hard to believe that after two weeks and two months of hunting with numerous implements, that deer season is in the North Country, or at least parts of it, is down to its final two days. The weekend is looking interesting, especially Saturday when we’ll be dealing with some cold and wind, Sunday is looking great. So, if you can, get out and enjoy it. I’ve been in the woods as much as possible this week. I can’t say there’s a “Second Rut” going on but there are some fresh rubs popping up, that’s a good sign. So, those of us in the Iron Sight Gang that will be breaking out the smoke-poles will still be concentrating on doe groups, which are likely around food sources such as ferns, which means we’ll be hunting the brush and lowland swamps along with a few of our classic drives. Good luck, and keep the photos coming. We’ll catch up on them soon.                    

12/2 Final Shot Pt. I: Dang, deer season goes by fast. But here we are with one weekend to go and it seems like in terms of decent hunting weather we’re just getting started. There’s a lot of unfilled tags out there and sadly, Saturday is not looking good, although some areas may luck out and get some snow out of this weather system it appears to be mostly rain heading our way. Meanwhile, we’re not hearing about a ton of buck sign, lately or this season at all. Hopefully a second rut is in the works in time for the late muzzleloading season (where applicable). Plenty of photos are rolling in and we’ll get caught up on the after the weekend. Meanwhile, we’ll be in the woods as much as possible.                                              Dan’l 

11/23 Happy Thanksgiving: My first hunting season was in 1979, and that year, on Thanksgiving Day, I joined the hunting party for the very first time. I have not missed a Thanksgiving Day hunt since. Even if it’s only for the morning. Some have been wet, many have been cold, a few have been solo and some have featured a very large group. All have been memorable in their own way, especially the few when Adirondack bucks have fallen. I hope you’ll partake in the heritage that is deer hunting on Thanksgiving and wish all a happy one. 

Meanwhile, the photos and stories are rolling in as a “better-late-than-never” phase of the deer season seems to be going down. It’s a lot like last year in that respect and perhaps for the final stretch of the Northern Zone rifle season, which closes Dec. 4, we’ll have some normal fall weather (albeit a wet weekend at times). Buck sign and activity, which picked up when things finally turned cold last week, has not been intense, nor has it waned. Unlike more densely populated areas (both people and whitetails) Adirondack bucks seem to go on the move, and stay on the move, during the late season. They’ve likely bred the does in their home range and wander in search of others. So if you’ve got does around, keep an eye on them as they’ll likely have some company during the home stretch of the season, which is going by way too quick! Good luck, and again, Happy Thanksgiving.                   

11/17 Snow Blind: Be careful what you wish for. Wednesday snow was a welcome commodity for many hunters, including some shown here who got out and tracked a buck. We also hunted in the wake of the storm, saw some deer and one of the crew had a missed opportunity. Up in the Northwestern Adirondacks, they could be getting much more snow than they want, which could surely slow down the hunting. As for the rest of us, what’s left of Wednesdays wet, heavy snow is now frozen and crunchy. That’s good news for groups making deer drives but tough for anyone trying to sneak up on a buck. But, you’ll hear ‘em coming. Lots of reports of bucks with does as the rut seems to have intensified over-night once the warm weather departed. Now is a great time to be in the woods so be sure to get out there when you can.      

11/10 Peak Weekend: It’s officially mid-November and the mid-point of the Northern Zone rifle season, yet we’re finally talking about cooler weather. Across New York, the change in temps and barometric pressure has kicked things up a notch in the deer world. And that should continue once tropical storm headed our way pulls out on Saturday. And it seems the change will be long-lasting, as next week we may even see some snow at higher elevations. There is no better time to be in the woods than mid-November so make the most of it if you can. Buck sign in the form of rubs and scrapes should turn on and calling should be effective as well. Mainly, if you’ve found some doe groups to key in on, it’s time to do just that as the bucks will be with them. Good luck out there, we’ve waited a long time for this.   

11/3 Another Warm One: Here we go again, another weekend of temps in the 60s, maybe even 70s, for the third weekend in a row. This one may be warmer than the previous two. While are group is having some luck, mainly because we’re literally kicking deer in the butt to get them moving, we’re practically hunting in shirtsleeves. In fact, this week, a few us went out in the boats and did some fishing. Why not. Buck sign is minimal, so if you’re finding rubs and scrapes, good for you. Tuesday morning (Election Day) looks to see a temp-drop, this could be one of the better hunting days so if you’re off this week, hit it. But don’t forget to vote!  Meanwhile, we have no choice but to stick with it and hunt when we can; and hope the weather breaks. Good luck!        

10/27 Heat Wave: Greetings hunters, it looks like another warm hunting weekend (and the week beyond) lies ahead, although not as warm as the opener. Still, hunting can be tough in warmer conditions, at least if you’re waiting for deer to move. If so, food and water sources might be the ticket. For the mobile hunter – like those of us who make drives – you’ve got to kick ‘em in the butt to get them moving. For our group, the early season is about hitting different places and finding doe groups for later in the season, but if we find a buck, we’ll go back after it. We’ll be in that mode this weekend and likely at least part of next. Then once the rut really kicks win we’ll be hitting the doe groups. We didn’t find much for buck sign last weekend – just one scrape and few rubs, but we did have some luck and hope you did too. Stay cool this weekend and good luck!      

10/21 Here We Go: Seven weekends will go by fast. Know that now and make the most of things as another Northern Zone big game rifle season commences. I’ve spent some time in the woods during the past weekend with no venison to show for it. The Iron Sight Gang had a couple of close calls during the weekend muzzleloading hunt and I was trying to coax a small buck into to range (out of the brush actually) on an evening hunt this week. We are seeing some deer, but not much for buck sign (one rub report, so far). And mast crops seem to be scarce. Brush on the other hand, is prevalent especially in the outer portions of the region and therefore affecting visibility. This first week looks to be unseasonably warm with some rain early in the week. We’ll have to practically step on them to get them to move, but it will be nice to be out there once again enjoying deer season. Good luck on the opener!

10/14 Crossbows & Smokepoles: Mid-October is finally here, something many of us have been waiting for. I’ve been out with the crossbow a few mornings this week with no luck. The sits have been short, as duty calls and other commitments are taking up my evenings. I can’t help but ask how many more hunters would take part in crossbow hunting in the Northern Zone if the season were longer, at least we had more time until the muzzleloading season opens. 

And that’s what’s happening this weekend. Across the Adirondacks, deer camps will come alive this weekend the “soft” opener of the Northern Zone deer season. Much changes now in terms of hunting pressure and participation. The woods might look pretty, but there’s lot of leaf cover and underbrush as only a few areas on the North Country have had  a frost. That could change during the week, but the weekend is looking quite warm with daytime temps in the 50s and 60s, location pending. Other than mornings and evenings, the deer might not be moving much, unless you make them. Hunting around water sources might also pay off. 

10/1 Greetings Hunters: October is here and so far it seems to be pretty quiet. We haven’t seen much in terms of hunting success so if you’re having some luck, let us know. Acorns seem to be spotty this year, and where they are they seem to have fallen early (that we know of). Tough year for apples too, so it you’ve got them consider yourself lucky. A warm trend is in place later this week followed by a cool-down for the annual youth deer hunting weekend. Good luck out there, check us out on Facebook and be sure to send a photo.