The tracking snow is mostly gone after the all-night rain and the water is running in my little brook. I did get the blower out for the second storm and shortly after I jumped on to my skis and went around the loop out back just because I could. The Forest Rangers had a couple difficult rescues in Lewis County, working in more than four feet of snow. Working with the local snow groomer breaking trail, they completed both rescues. I saw a new rig that I hadn’t seen before, a truck on snow tracks which might come in handy in other situations in snow country. Some other hikers got off the trails in the High Peaks in the snowstorm and they were luckily found [in good health] not far from the trails. Hikers and hunters should check the weather before going out and maybe wait for a better day, rather than risking their lives and the lives of the rescuers.
For the last ten days I’ve been checking Pine Marten traps, and got my limit of six in three checks of my traps. They were everywhere I went to set traps. [They were] looking for food, as one of their main sources of food, the beechnuts, weren’t there this fall. Using my secret formula (and a little essence of skunk for an attractor) they were not much of a challenge this fall. Last year with all the beechnuts, you could hardly get one to come to set. I did get two at three different locations, and certainly didn’t hurt the population as there were still tracks in all areas when I was pulling traps.
I trapped them for several years going to different spots in the area each year, and this year they were wherever I went. I checked other areas and saw tracks there [as well]. The colors of the fur on these members of the weasel family always amaze me, as no two look the same. I did get five males and one female. The males have bigger territories than females, and that’s why you normally catch more males than females. There is only about an inch or two difference in size in the adults of each sex. Most were caught in pole-set Conibear traps, with only a couple sprung traps [within] the ten days. That could have been red squirrels or flying squirrels, as they also come to these sets.
The Old Forge Library announced that there are now two electric car charging stations in the back right corner of the parking lot. These will operate even when the power is out, as they will be run by the library generator. [This is] a nice addition for the town of Old Forge. There is also a charging station at the rest area in Eagle Bay. With this on-and-off weather pattern, there have been some super red sunrises and sunsets. Those red sunrises mean a storm is coming. [It typically isn’t] too long after it fades into black rain or snow clouds [that] some kind of storm soon [follows.] Red sun at night, sailors’ delight, and red sun in the morning, sailors take warning. These sunrises and sunsets made for good photo opportunities. I [captured] one sunrise from the upstairs window and missed the super sunset one night, as the whole western sky was a fire red.
This is the last week of Big Game season here in the Adirondacks. I’ve heard it has been a safe one, so let’s keep it that way by using hunter safety guidelines. Treat every gun as if it was loaded, keep the barrel of the gun pointed in a safe direction, identify your target and what is beyond [it], never use your gun scope to identify a target (use binoculars,) and wear [a] hunter orange hat or vest (as required). The numbers of Evening Grosbeaks have gone down some, but I still had over fifty today [November 28]. I’ve banded forty-five, and some of mine have either gone further south looking for some wild food as well as using feeders. One did get a good finger nip as it was leaving my hand out the window…and tried to take my finger in flight with her. I did have over one hundred of them for a few days. They should be called “Morning Grosbeaks” as they are here at daylight and [aren’t] here much in the afternoon or evening.
Talk about name changes, I’ve heard they want to change the name of Squaw Lake in the Moose River Wild Forest. I think it should be called Osprey Lake. There was a pair of Ospreys nesting here when I came in 1966. [They were] one of only two pair nesting in this area (the other was at Shallow Lake.) The ones (or their offspring) have nested successfully at Squaw [Lake] every year since (and again this year.) I haven’t heard anything about Indian Lake, which is just down the road. It is a road, not a trail. If they are going to count the mileage, let’s make it a road again…which it is.
A search on Cascade Ridge in two feet of snow, but that’s another story. See ya.
Photo at top: Sunrise at Eight Acre Wood. Photo by Gary Lee.
It is disheartening to learn that people still enjoy trapping
our wild animals. Why? Because you can?
I wish all such creatures were protected from this sport.
Indeed, they have outlawed all furbearer trapping in California, and we should follow suit.
You reap what you sow….In California a few days ago.
Yeah, let’s make California our go-to state for wildlife (and political) advice. They always have such sound ideas.
Hunting and trapping was, up until the late 1800″s, a necessity to provide for your family and survive. It became a “sport” by the wealthy who had the time and money to hunt for sport since the late 1800s. It is now practiced by most for sport. Some do suppliment their families food supply and some still, for survival. No animal or human should be hunted for sport. The definition of sport is to compete and entertain. Killing of a living creature does not fall into that catagory. The Romans did it in the colluseum, Animal and humans as sport. Hunting to feed your family is the only reason one should hunt. Never for sport. And also who wants to see, In the Adirondack Almanac, photos of dead beautiful wild creatures who most likely suffered and died at the hands of a man trapping for sport. I thought most of these posts were vetted for content. I am dissapointed by the publishing of the such.
Why would you or anyone want to kill Pine Martens? Horrible.
I agree completely with Joe’s and Joy’s previous comments. Fortunately my local newspaper has ceased publishing photos of hunted and trapped animals, no doubt because the general public finds them distasteful for a variety of reasons. Since fur prices are way down, there’s no legitimate reason to continue the cruel pastime of trapping. BTW, “conibear” traps do not always kill instantly as I have been witness to a neighbor’s intolerance of any small wild critters that venture onto his property. Very cruel.
My father used to trap during the great depression as his rural family was in survival mode. He lamented to me several times that he thought it was the cruelest thing he had ever done. To his credit it was apparent that he did not do it for sport. I still have his thin skin/fur stretching board. He’d be happy to know that it will never be used again and that his 160 acres now is part of our 1,000 acre conservation easement. (the critters are happy too)!
That should be Habitatman (with a B) on previous message but more importantly I want to make clear that I have a great deal of respect for the writings and conservation work of Mr. Lee particularly re. his efforts with bird banding etc. I did feel the necessity to voice my opinion re. trapping.
–and to reply to Mr. West, We have been vegetarians in our household for many years for environmental and ethical reasons.—but I still do have two ancient leather jackets and a pair of old leather hikers.
Is this liberal publication web site finally being true to liberalism? You know, accepting of all kinds?
One can only hope.
I don’t trap and never will, but to each their own.
Beautiful pic of the sky.
Would be interested to see any documentation to support your claim that pine martens eat acorns. Recreational trapping is cruel, non-selective and totally unnecessary and should be banned.
It is interesting to read the comments of those that know nothing about hunting and trapping, but want to ban them. As a 50 year Adirondack trapper and deer hunter I am not ashamed for what I do. I have helped write regulations to provide the most humane methods of harvesting these animals.I do believe that God gave man the dominion to man over the animals, for their use, but not abuse.
I wish these people would direct their attention to the true evils of the world, such as abortion, child abuse, and “recreational drugs.
I wonder how many of these writers are vegetarians, how many eat meat,or wear leather. I have met Gary Lee and know him to be a good man and conservationist. I hope catches his limit of pine marten every year.
I am interested to know what your list of evil “recreational drugs” would be.
As a socially immature 12 year old, with a love of the outdoors and longing to be 14 and hunt rabbits & partridge, and then 16 – deer. But I could trap. It disciplined me to be out of the house early because the state said I had to check my traps every day and couldn’t be late for school. A seldomly used muskrat pelt stretcher on my cellar wall reminds me of my fondest February memory – the ‘rats must have been runnin’ on that sunny, above freezing morning with the scent of musk in the air. This was sixty years ago – before social media/high-tech shaming was invented. …. And I know of Gary Lee as a respectful wildlife proponent. I look forward to his unedited weekly column on Adirondack Almanack.
Very disheartening to read that Gary Lee 1) kills pine martins…for what, their fur… really?!! and 2) uses a barbaric conibear trap. Sadly, he’s totally lost my respect.
I really enjoy Gary Lee’s writing for the Adk Almanack.
I look forward to hearing his response to these comments. As someone not very familiar with hunting culture, I thought this piece left out an important bit of information – Why do people hunt pine martens? Are they a nuisance? Are you planning on eating them,or making a hat out of the skins? Last fall we went for a walk around Black Pond and a little Pine Marten whose fur had already turned a surprising white appeared to be playing a game with us. He or she darted just ahead of us, ducking under logs and then appearing again just up the trail. It followed us all the way around the pond. I didn’t even know what this animal was till I came home and googled it.
Market price for Pine Martin fur is around $30 each depending on color/quality of fur. Mr. Lee could make around $180 for the six he trapped and processed.https://www.trappingtoday.com/2021-2022-fur-prices-trapping-todays-fur-market-forecast/#:~:text=Marten%20prices%20vary%20substantially%20based,in%20price%20for%20the%20rest.
The “marten” you observed was likely a weasel/ermine which is much smaller and vary their fur color based on season. I have not known martens to change color. That isn’t to say it wasn’t albinistic or leucistic (genetic variants).
What you saw was an ermine,a weasel that turns white in the winter.Pine Martens do not turn color.
I’m no snowflake, I might even consider myself a tough guy but this sickens me.
I am friends with two former trappers who in their youth trapped and both stopped because of the brutality of trapping and the emotional strain it put on their mental health. The suffering of the wildlife was too much for them to justify their acts of cruelty. They both still hunt deer for their freezer meat to feed their growing family. They have great respect for the animals they kill and understand they have no dominion over the wild creatures of this earth.They both understand the scarfice the animal has made in order for man to survive. Not until we mastered the firearm did we have the upper hand over the wild animals. When the native americans faced down a bear or moose with just a bow and arrow it was not a certainty who would have dominion over whom.
Enjoy your articles Gary. Nice looking fur.
I always thought the Adirondacks had the room for all people from all walks of life with differing opinions, values and traditions. The cancel culture displayed in these comments is sad. Instead of engaging Gary in dialogue to gain understanding, the commenters chose to denigrate his pastime. Maybe try accepting that your values are just that, your values. They do not apply to everyone no matter how much you type.
Maybe ask to walk along with a trapper for a week to gain a greater understanding before the keyboard warrior comes out. We have a great park because of diversity, not in spite of it.
William, I appreciate your thinking.As you said, “The cancel culture displayed in these comments is sad”. There are so many things in life that I disagree with, yet I would fight for those folks rights to practice them. I, for one, am tired of people trying to shove their thinking and values down my throat.
Trapping and hunting are legal pastimes enjoyed by many and I feel no need to defend myself or Gary. I am proud to be a trapper and believe I know far more about nature and respect for the animals I hunt. People do not realize that animals do not just lay down and die when it is time. Mother nature is very cruel in the wild.Living in a Walt Disney world of fantasy is very far from realistic.
I’m with you both, William and Alan. I totally support both of your comments.
Alan G. West says: “I do believe that God gave man the dominion to man over the animals…”
> Yep, and is why I believe our founders had the smarts to take religion out of the political sphere (not that we’re adhering to that anymore), as those founders knew the quackery which came out of organized religion. God says, “Kill all ye animals as ye wish dysfunctional humans, have ye way with them.” Or. “Have ye way with the Earth, chop it into pieces as ye see fit so as to satiate your human needs, so as to build your castles and find glee and security in the things ye possess…..” Right Alan?
The problem with this ‘God says’ theme is that, well….. look around! Look at where we are! The violence against nature, our fellow humans….no coincidence. I am reminded of a Chief Standing Bear quote:
“A man’s heart away from nature becomes hard; lack of respect for growing, living things soon leads to a lack of respect for humans too.”
We most certainly don’t seem to be improving ourselves and look at how long ‘God’ has been around. Indeed we seem to be more and more hellbent on the destruction of others and of this our only home we know Earth. Not ‘we’ as in all of us I stress! If the answer is God then when does utopia begin? When does the violence end? When does the accepted ‘man’s dominion over all but himself’ come to a culminating point? When there’s nothing left?
I may have sent this bit prior, I forget, but even so, this quote is very fitting for this theme. It was said by Carl Jung in his book ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ 1961
“Nature seemed, like myself, to have been set aside by God as non-divine, although created by Him as an expression of himself. Nothing could persuade me that “in the image of God” applied only to man. In fact it seemed to me that the high mountains, the rivers, lakes, trees, flowers and animals far better exemplified the essence of God than men with their ridiculous clothes, their meanness, vanity, mendacity, and abhorrent egotism.”
And last, but not least….. Nobody can prove God exist (Nobody!), yet it can be proven the damage our stinking thinking continues to produce.
Violence against nature? Please explain what that has to do with lawful trapping or hunting. You do realize Chief Standing Bear probably trapped, all the plains Indian tribes did….he certainly hunted. Was it violence against nature then or just now in present day? It could be argued that a trapper, (regardless whether from the past or present day) has greatest of respect for growing, living things and their heart is more connected to nature than most.
I believe Charlie meant “violence against Nature” in a broader sense, not just animals.
Editing Charlies’ posts again Boreas?? Maybe he could run them past you BEFORE he posts them. You know, like they did at Twitter.
The pine marten! What a beautiful species! But aren’t they all beautiful! I’ve only seen one. I was in the woods with my recently deceased brother Greg, on the east side of Rt. 30 in Blue Mountain Lake, between Durant Road and Rt. 28, or Joyce’s ‘Ol Station’ store. I was up from Tampa visiting which must have been thirty years ago. Them woods have changed somewhat since then, or parcels of them have changed anyway, as is evidenced by the new homes along that stretch of road, and the carved roads leading part-ways through them. Nothing ever stays the same though there was a time!
Well anyway, I recall Greg and I in them woods just snooping around for the sake of it, just to be ‘in the woods.’ Greg knew those Blue Mountain Lake woods quite- well as he was always in them, either with his rifle or his camera, or both. Instead of the trail to get to the Rock Pond bridge, Greg would sometimes foot-it through the woods in back of mom and dad’s house on Durant Road to get to it, ‘just to be in the woods.’ I recall doing the same but once or twice myself when I was a teenager. My grandfather Robert G. was the same, always in them woods…..the fruit never falls far from the tree!
While in them woods with my brother Greg on the east side of Rt. 30 some many blue moons ago, I saw a small furry weasel-like animal shooting up the trunk of a tree. For all I knew it may have well been a weasel, but Greg knew better, he said, “That’s a pine marten!” The first and last time I have seen one….alive anyway.
Joe Kozlina says: “No animal or human should be hunted for sport.”
We’re gonna do what we’re gonna do which doesn’t make us all bad people, but I was quite surprised to learn that Gary kills pine martens considering all of his narratives revealing his big heart for the animal-kind, his sympathy for the preservation of other lifeforms, ie., loons, etc. Me! I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night were I out trapping or killing any animal. I just don’t have it in me! And if it came to life or limb were I threatened by a wild animal in the woods, i’d immediately seek ways to get out of that situation without doing the creature harm, which could possibly cost me my own life but my nature is what it is. I’d have to be presented with the scenario to know for sure on this but there it is.
Now if it came to a human threatening life or limb regards me, that’s a whole new ballgame! My immediate reaction would be to survive, to not allow death to overwhelm me due to idiocy, and if a gun were at hand….it would be him not me! In a heartbeat!
“Violence against nature? Please explain what that has to do with lawful trapping or hunting.”
> Whether lawful or not, trapping or hunting is a form of violence William! Self-explanatory. Violence is violence. Killing another human in self-defense is lawful, yet it is still a form of violence. It was lawful to spray DDT over the landscape at one time and look at all of the death, the violence, which came from that.
“It could be argued that a trapper, (regardless whether from the past or present day) has greatest of respect for growing, living things and their heart is more connected to nature than most.”
> There is a large air of truism to this in some compassionate regard in some individuals I do not dispute, which is fine but…..there most certainly is a contradiction in this thinking also, an inconsistency in principles.
“You do realize Chief Standing Bear probably trapped, all the plains Indian tribes did….he certainly hunted.”
But of course William! I have notta thing against hunting generally speaking, but back in them days it was more necessary than it is nowadays. Back in them days they knew the true definition of survival and they utilized their skill. Nowadays! I mean look at all of the meat we mass produce, or contain in an area just to kill at some future date so as to go on the market….chickens, cows, pigs. We grow them up just to kill them! Mass slaughter! Of course we have to pay for that slaughtered meat, but why not? We pay for everything else we like or need! We pay for cable tv, we pay to be spectators at sporting events, we pay for this and that. Why not for the food we put on our plates? Small change compared to all else, and necessary!
There’s no need to kill wild animals anymore if you really look at it, as all’s we have to do is go to a store, produce a plastic card, or paper money, and wallah…. sustenance secured. Now them poor folk in the backwoods, in their dilapidated shacks….that’s a different story. That’s like going back to those Standing Bear days, it’s about survival, taking a deer here, taking a deer there, so as to put food on the table, so mum and pop and the little ones can eat. There’s nothing wrong with that. But trapping animals for fur! It’s uncalled for as we don’t need fur anymore to keep us warm as it was in those pioneer days. We have polyester!
I appreciate and respect your thoughts. As an avid hunter and trapper I do not view myself as violent…really not a violent bone in my body but I understand how you get there. We just disagree and that is ok. For you there is no need to take a wild animal, you get what you need from the store and that is cool…what I do is not for everyone and I would never impose my beliefs upon another. I am not in a dilapidated backwoods shack and certainly have means but I still choose to eat game and that is cool too. Again, it comes down to values, pastimes and traditions…we are diverse lot us humans….all not cut from the same cloth for sure. In the end, I will never tread on your values and would appreciate the same. Fwiw I have sweet coyote hat….warmest ever….but then again, I never saw a coyote shivering! Take care.
I enjoy reading Gary’s pieces, and I appreciate that he doesn’t shy away from controversy when sharing his perspectives. Various trapping practices may be questionable, but I think that unequivocally demonizing all trappers would be a mistake. (A large percentage of trapping in NY is essentially nuisance trapping, for example — done in places where humans have artificially tipped the ecological scales in favor of certain species.) Most importantly, the focus on trapping here can distract from issues that deserve far more attention. In the Adirondacks, overuse of trail networks and campsites, for example, is potentially far, far more disruptive and harmful to the balance ecosystems than furbearer trapping. And I would also argue that the perpetuation of that type of misuse and the attitudes that accompany it is far more unethical.
P.S. I like Gary’s reasoning and name suggestion for Squaw Lake. I’d like to think that Sabael Benedict would approve.
I am not a trapper but believe that there is no better way to learn about the environment than to trap. With that gained knowledge one becomes intimate with the needs of said environment.
Being part and parcel of nature increases one understanding and may be a step above being just merely a spectator, methinks.
Can we please hear more from the Adirondack outdoorswomen? I mean, this old white guy trapping thing just isn’t relevant or appealing to most people anymore. (And as usual, male voices are the loudest online, so they appear more popular than they actually are.)
Why not ask for more input from the FEMALE birders, wildlife photographers, guides, botanists, artists, crafters, 46ers, NPT through hikers, DEC wildlife biologists, etc. Let’s hear from the nonconsumptive wildlife and outdoor experts!
I agee with having female input.
JohnL says: “Editing Charlies’ posts again Boreas?? Maybe he could run them past you BEFORE he posts them. You know, like they did at Twitter.”
> Twitter! One-liners from invisible and anonymous beings. No rational or deep thought put into what you say! Just say it and send it off into cyberspace! Say what you wish even if it is a lie or derogatory against others whom you do not know. Freedom of speech…..even if what is said is said by Twits. It is no coincidence the definition which comes out of the terminology Twitter.
“I believe Charlie meant “violence against Nature” in a broader sense, not just animals.”
Violence against nature is self-defined and is exactly what I meant Boreas, and yes it extends to the broader sense as violence is violence. Until we come to terms with what violence really is we will never come to terms with it at all. Swatting and killing a bug is a form of violence! I appreciate you effort at administering justice to my wording, even if JohnL plays the antagonist which he has a right to do. I like his humor, which we could use more of.
William says: I appreciate and respect your thoughts….. We just disagree and that is ok. For you there is no need to take a wild animal, you get what you need from the store and that is cool…what I do is not for everyone and I would never impose my beliefs upon another….”
I appreciate and respect your thoughts too William. Thank you for sharing! So far as your ‘coyote hat!’ I’ve never heard of such! You’re different….which can’t be all that bad. I’d be lost without my wool (or polyester) hats in the winter, and how people can walk around with cotton sports caps on their heads all winter, even in biting-cold degrees is beyond me. It’s a wonder we never hear stories in the news, during winters, about frostbite detaching ears from those larger masses, aka noggins.
“Can we please hear more from the Adirondack outdoorswomen?”
What came to mind while reading the above was thus: I was in the woods one fall morning in Blue Mountain Lake, ten, fifteen years ago. Behind the cemetery. That’s where I went in, past Harvey Carr’s plot, past the old tool shed whose roof has had a breach for surely two decades by now. I remember that shed back in the early 70s. It has always been, to me, one of those things that never embodied common observations, ie…. “things always change.” Last time I was up that-a-ways, that shed was still standing, breached roof and all, to disprove that thinking. It was also an indicator of how unchanged Blue Mountain Lake had been for so long….up until recently. I know this may sound silly, but that shed was a place for me to go to get a sense of my youthful past. There are other places still, which produce the same.
Well anyway, there I went into them woods curious me just to go into them woods, no specific reason t’all. I like trees and I like woods, and being surrounded by them is pure joy to me; there is this sense of tranquility which comes over me which I get nowhere else. I was in them woods minding my own business just snooping around when at once I became aware of another presence in them…..it was a very attractive woman who was hunting with a bow if memory serves me correct. It may have been a gun too. With time loss of memory. Nonetheless, it was a woman, an attractive one at that, whose sport was hunting on that distant day. I will never forget. It was the last thing I would have ever expected when I walked into those woods.
My response! I looked at her, she looked at me from her distance, and I didn’t say a word. I gestured with my hands and facial expression ‘oops.’ She made some gestures herself, silently, and I turned around and walked back out of those woods to let her be at her sport. Mister nice guy me! Besides…she had a weapon and I knew, even back then, never mess with an attractive woman who has a weapon at hand! Especially when in you’re in the woods alone.
My family goes back generations of trappers, my great grandpa even trapped for the Hudson bay fur company. As native americans we had few opportunities for decent work, or even employment in the adirondacks.
Our family trapped and ate a lot of beaver, muskrat and racoons. i will never forget carrying backets and poles full of critters. I honestly hated seeing animals stuck in leg traps such as fox, Martins, ect. dispatching with a club or 22. The money was very good back 40 plus years ago. It was a way of life going back thousands of years for our family. it was food to eat, fur to wear, later it way money.
I never liked trapping but it was necessary as a kid, and i do not continue that tradition, i was rather sad to think of him trapping martins, as its more of a hobby than a livelyhood. I would rather see a Martin running around. The wildlife has become scarce and should be saved and enjoyed, not trapped. times change and that way of life is gone.
I worry more about the two-footed vermin in the cities and their slow spread outwards into our domain. the illegal drugs, Gangs are now here, crime, break ins….
Thoughtful post, Nathan, thank you
Trapping is a cruel and horrible practice and should be banned. Can’t we get beyond this miserable treatment of fellow creatures?
“Can’t we get beyond this miserable treatment of fellow creatures?”
Humans don’t care much about anything other than themselves – including other humans. Altruism didn’t get us where we are today. It is in our DNA.
8 billion and counting…
A set of Best Management Practices has been established for trapping. I, myself have been involved in writing laws for the most humane methods of trapping.
Animals die a far better death in my traps than what occurs in the wild.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion,although I strongly disagree.
I think boxing is wrong when two men get into a ring and beat each other to a point of injury, death or permanent injury, however I would fight for their right to do so.
It is a shame that some people choose to want to ban practices like hunting and trapping when their attention should be directed towards the true evils of the world such as child abuse, abortion, and a lot more.
As a proud trapper, I hang my head for no one, and not ashamed of what I do.
I dont get the comparison. Two men who choose to fight and knock each other out is their choice. These trapped animals have no choice in the matter. Who set these best management practices? Were people who don’t trap present to help with the writing of these laws? The death of animals and people in the wild has been going on since the beginning of time. Man does not determine which is humane or not when it comes to killing of wild creatures in the wild . Thats why it is called wildlife. It is not under mans control.
Abortion is a legally sanctioned medical procedure. Boxing is between two willing opponents. The animals have no choice in this “sport.”
The baby has no choice in that ‘medical procedure’ either. We can do this all night if you want.
Trapping is also a LEGALLY sanctioned practice.
As is medical testing on animals.
I was wondering, as a land owner inside the blue line, what would be the consensus of ALL landowners inside the blue line as to the furture of trapping?