Saturday, December 14, 2013

Muzzleloading Season: One Last Shot

Muzzleloading Season in the adirondacksNew York’s northern zone regular firearm season came to an end this past Sunday, but that doesn’t mean it’s over for diehards here in the Adirondacks. There is a one week slot of traditional muzzleloader hunting in designated zones that gives hunters another chance to harvest a whitetail before the long winter.

Although it’s going to be cold and snowy, I’ll venture out this weekend. In the winter months deer herd-up. They congregate together for safety and warmth and often when you find one, there are several others around. That’s a perfect scenario for hunters. Although it may sound like shooting fish in a barrel, deer are very smart and can still be very hard to catch. The bucks are in the finally stages of the breeding season. I have seen does being bred by male deer well into the month of December and this late season can be an excellent chance to harvest a mature whitetail.

December is also a great time to hunt small game like grouse and rabbit. I’ve seen many over the last few weeks while harvesting timber. They are plentiful and, if cooked right, are fine table fare. As soon as deer season ends, I’ll be taking my two Labrador retrievers to the woods. Even though they are not great hunting dogs, they love the chance to just get out and run.

The recent cold weather has also given sportsman a chance to get on the ice early this year. I have seen anglers ice-fishing on Lake Harris in Newcomb and the ice is becoming safer by the day. We haven’t seen this much ice this early in many years, so good luck everyone, but be careful on the ice.


Jason Richards

Jason Richards is a fifth generation logger and an Adirondack Guide who lives in Newcomb with his wife and two sons.

He is an experienced outdoorsman with a a passion for hunting and fishing, who has hiked, paddled, and camped in the Adirondack backcountry his whole life.

Jason also owns and operates Jason Richards Logging and Land Management.




10 Responses

  1. Smitty says:

    While I appreciate all the news about land use classifications and the like, it’s nice to see some reports in the Adirondack Almanack that have to do with the more traditional pursuits. I hope Jason continues his occasional reports on hunting in the Adirondacks, and maybe some on fishing too.

  2. Chuck Samul says:

    Jason,
    your srticle does not mention the dates of the muzzle-loading season – it does show in the map – but it would be more clear if you had set it out in the text.

    i too like to take my dog into the winter woods – but since a friend of mine who was out hunting was mistaken for a deer and shot (he lost a leg but is alive) i have been cautious about going out during big game season. too easy for someone to mistake a large brown dog for a doe.

    hope you had good luck pursuing antlers!

    chuck

  3. Paul says:

    It seems like it would be simpler to just open the whole Norther Zone for the later season. The impacts would probably be minimal on the herd. Most Adirondack hunters go home empty handed anyway.

    • John Warren John Warren says:

      “Most Adirondack hunters go home empty handed anyway.”

      I think you mean, “most people who hunt in the Adirondacks with me go home empty handed.”

      • Paul says:

        Yes, good point. This fall I actually went home with my hands full. But stats show that most folks go home empty handed. Even where the hunting is good.

        • John Warren John Warren says:

          You mean home to your home outside the Adirondacks. Adirondack hunters have no trouble getting their deer every year.

          • Paul says:

            John, No I kept that deer in my home in the Adirondacks and gave some of it to my family that live year round up there. I have deer down here like flies. It doesn’t take much to get one down here. Lots more fun up there.

            look at the deer take stats. If you listen to most Adirondacks hunters it is a challenge to bring a deer home. Jason, what do you think?

            I think that Tom Kalinoski said it well in an article he wrote for the Almanack earlier this fall:

            “Part of the reason may be that the maturing forests that cover so much of the Central Adirondacks have led to such a reduction in the deer herd there that only the most dedicated backwoods sportsmen ever seek this type of challenge.”

            The steady deer take numbers we see are probably due to the increase in deer on the periphery of the park. The areas that allow this later season.

    • TiSentinel65 says:

      Although I enjoy any opportunity to hunt, I believe the late muzzleloading season should be limited to bucks only. Ever since the season was opened to allow antlerless harvest in the select Adirondack WMUs the population has been pushed down. Combine this with a heavy predator population, unchecked poaching and we are one severe winter from a disaster. Shoot the mothers…. there will be no others.