Sunday, November 24, 2013

Temporary State Land Hunting Camps

Adk AlmThe New York Department of Environmental Conservation has a program that allows individuals to apply for a permit to establish a temporary hunting camp on state land.  They’re a great opportunity for those of us who don’t own a large parcel of land, and a good way to avoid paying for a hunting lease. It does however, require some extra effort.  When I’m looking for a good hunting camp location, I consider a few important things.

Once I locate an area I want to hunt, access is key. I take some time and scout the ground. I usually take a spring fishing trip or hike and do this. Spring is a good time because the foliage is not on the trees and that makes it easier to spot old buck sign from the year before.

I typically look for lands that have a younger stand of trees. Younger forests usually have more food for deer than an older growth forest and state lands do vary in stand types.  Some areas were private lands which have only recently been added to the Forest Preserve. Areas that have been logged will contain old roads which make it easier to navigate, but for me water is the best way to access remote hunting areas.  Moving supplies by boat is much easier than packing them in. It’s also much easier to float a two-hundred pound whitetail in a boat than it is to drag it over rough ground.

I’m fortunate to have a group of close friends that enjoy the outdoor sports I do. This season we set up what I call an outpost camp, in Long Lake in northern Hamilton County. It requires a two mile paddle for access, in what is nine times out of ten very windy conditions. Although this seems a little over the top, we have our reasons. My friend Robbie says “it’s like going on vacation every weekend.” Even though we miss our families, we still manage to have a good time and do a little hunting.

With the weather this time of year being unpredictable comfort is very important. Sometimes we make a camp out of a small portable tarp-style car port.  We furnish it with all the amenities, including  a homemade woodstove, some cots and a small folding table to eat, play cards and reminisce of past hunting experiences somewhere deep in the backcountry. It’s very comfortable and a place you looked forward going to at the end of a long day of hunting.  Night time always brings good food and a beer or two and tales of what we saw, heard, or found on our hunt that day. We have yet to be successful this season in tagging a trophy whitetail, though it’s more about the hunt than the trophy for me. But it sure would be nice.

This weekend is our last trip to this particular outpost camp.  The weather forecast is calling for snow and night time temperatures in the single digits. As some of the local lakes have already had a thin cover of ice the past few nights, hopefully our access isn’t iced over. Wish me luck.


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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.

16 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Jason, did you get “iced in” there over the weekend? It must have been brutal in that camp this weekend. It was pretty “brutal” in the permanent one I was in. I have never experienced snow coming down as fast as it was on Saturday evening and the 20 degree drop in temperature overnight with the wind was amazing. I hope you all made it out safely.

  2. Eric Backer says:

    It’s a great feeling to come back to a stoked wall tent fire and relax after a day of hunting whitetails.

  3. Paul K says:

    I’m not a hunter, but the experience sounds like a great time…, nothing like pancakes cooked over an open fire. good luck

    • Paul says:

      I am surprised that more non-hunters don’t take advantage of this. As a hunter I must admit I am glad they don’t, but I wonder why hunters seem like the only ones motivated enough to do this. You could have a fishing camp, or a bird watching camp? Why not? More than half the time I am just bird watching when I am hunting anyway!

      • Paul K says:

        i know that deer hunting season is a great time to be outdoors camping and what not, but also dangerous for hunter and non hunter alike, so give the hunter his space and time, i’ll just go camping before and after the season

        • Paul says:

          Fair enough. But we don’t mind having you out there! You can also get a permit to put up one of these camps anytime of the year. I don’t think they discriminate against non-hunters. At least I hope they don’t.

      • Alan Senbaugh says:

        The DEC doesn’t give out month(s) long camping permits except during Big game season. I tried to get one for 5 Ponds a couple years ago and was denied by the ranger. He said the exemption for a long permit is big game season only.

  4. Richard Carlson says:

    As far as I know – this “program” is not available any other time of the year – only during hunting season.

    • Paul says:

      I checked this out. You are right that only during the big game season can you get a permit to camp for more than 14 consecutive days in the same spot. But you could still set up a camp (even a canvas one with a platform and anything else you want to hump in) for two weeks with a simple camping permit from the DEC. So two weeks isn’t bad for something like fishing camp or some other activity.

  5. Dorothea W. says:

    wonder if this applies to the Catskill Forest Preserve also.

  6. Eric Backer says:

    All this talk makes me want to go camping in my wall tent. Make some grub on the coleman stove and sit around the fire and tell stories about the ones that got away from us. It’s a good time of year.

    God Bless the USA.

  7. Ron Vanselow says:

    Great post, Jason. I wish you luck. As a former NYSDEC AFA, I can tell you that lots of folks used to leave stuff stashed to make the next year’s camp easier to set up. Even to the point of burying their stuff in 55 gallon drums. You just had to remember where you buried it all. Sometimes the only evidence one would see is the stacks of pre-cut fire wood stacked nearby.

  8. Mike says:

    Jason thanks for this blog, it’s really quite interesting. And inspirational. I’ve read your previous blogs recently and enjoyed them but did not comment on them. I’m impressed given that you live in Newcomb and could easily drive to and from some good hunting areas you still go through the trouble to paddle in and set up a camp for a couple weeks! We (my hunting buddies and I) hunt out of a permanent camp in Newcomb and have toyed with the idea of doing something similar…
    So how does one go about applying for one of these permits?

  9. TiSentinel65 says:

    It is good to hear that some people are still getting out deep into the wilderness with a spike camp for the tried and true tradition of hunting the elusive Adirondack whitetail. I can appreciate what you do, but have had the luxury of hunting out of an old permanent structure complete with deer mice and a leaky roof. It is good you have dedicated friends that share your vision of hunting the Adirondacks the way it has been done for years. Good luck for the rest of the season and keep the articles coming.

  10. 2adirondack says:

    Where do you apply for these permits? Not seeing anything on DEC web site. I only have 1 acre surrounded by Mennonite farms. Nice people, but they kill everything, even the spots, all yr round. DEC just walks away from 25 deer hanging in their barn.(?) }:( I have 2 boys who love the outdoors camping/hiking/hunting/fishing. It would make for a special hunting trip before I get too old to do so.
    If you have any info Thanks.

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