Georgia Pellegrini isn’t the typical image of a hunter. She was once more accustomed to martini on Wall Street than a back woods duck hunt, but after a stint at Wellesley and Harvard she enrolled in the French Culinary Institute and discovered a love for local, sustainable, farm to table cuisine that led her down an unexpected path.
While cooking with top chefs at Blue Hill at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, Pellegrini was sent outside to kill five turkeys for that night’s dinner. Suddenly face-to-face with the meat she was preparing, she says she was forced to reevaluate her relationship with food. The result is Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time (Da Capo Press, 2011). The book chronicles Pellegrini’s evolution from buying plastic-wrapped meat at a supermarket to killing a wild boar with a .22-250 caliber rifle, a journey, she says, toward understanding not only where our food comes from, but what kind of life it lived before it reached the table. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay from the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP).
The black bear is one of the most fascinating wildlife species in the Adirondacks. Residents and visitors are constantly introducing human food and garbage into the home of the black bear. Wild, non-habituated bears forage for foods such as berries, nuts, insects, and grasses.
These bears will not normally show an interest in our food unless they are first introduced to it through our careless behavior. If they cannot easily get to our food they will look elsewhere. When we store food and garbage poorly, bears are attracted to this easily accessible food rather than the natural foods they must work to acquire. » Continue Reading.
Yellow-Yellow, a shy black bear with a yellow tag on each ear, became famous in 2009 as the one bear in North America who could open a food canister specifically designed to baffle her kind. She’s still at large, still popping the occasional can, but a truce seems to have settled over the Adirondack High Peaks.
The 18-to-20-year-old bear came out of hibernation this spring and continues to roam near South Meadow, Klondike Notch and thereabouts, reports Ben Tabor, a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wildlife biologist. Tabor will discuss black bears in a free lecture at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks Information Center in Lake Placid. » Continue Reading.
Hunters killed just over 230,000 deer and more than 1,060 bears in the 2010 hunting season, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced. The deer take was up about 3% from 2009, bear numbers were similar to harvest levels of 2005-2007, down 25% from 2009. While overall population size plays a large role in harvest totals, annual variations in take are also strongly influenced by environmental factors that affect bear activity and hunting pressure such as natural food availability and snow fall according to DEC wildlife biologists. The 2010 deer take included approximately 123,100 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and just under 107,000 adult bucks. Deer harvests in the Northern Zone were very comparable to 2009, with adult buck take (approx. 16,100) essentially unchanged and antlerless take (approx. 12,500) only increasing about 3%. » Continue Reading.
Following two of the safest years in New York State hunting history, reports of hunting related shooting incidents received by DEC for 2010 were higher than average according to a draft report issued by the State’s Department of Conservation (DEC). There were 40 personal injury incidents, and four fatalities, three of which occurred during the deer season (one was self-inflicted). The fourth fatality was also self-inflicted and occurred during spring turkey season.
Although the total was higher than the average of 38 incidents over the previous decade, it was still well below the average of 66 incidents per year that occurred in the 1990s, and 137 incidents per year during the 1960s.
The number of hunters statewide is declining, but the hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) is falling faster than the number of hunters. During the 1960s, the incident rate was 19 incidents per 100,000 hunters. Since 2000, the incident rate is one-third of that, averaging 6.4 incidents per 100,000 hunters.
A New York State Museum scientist has collaborated with Smithsonian colleagues to make more than 202,000 wildlife photos available to the public for the first time through a new searchable website called Smithsonian Wild.
The new website allows the public to see exactly what scientists see in their research — photos of wildlife captured at close range. Three of the nine photo sets available on the site come from research in the Adirondacks and other locations, conducted by Dr. Roland Kays, the State Museum’s curator of mammals. The site operates off of a database that was created as part of Kays’ National Science Foundation funded research. » Continue Reading.
Hanging food is one of the greatest annoyances while camping in the backcountry of the Adirondacks. It requires finding a suitable tree, locating an adequate rock, tying a rope onto the rock and making multiple throws attempting to hang the rope on a specific branch in a precise location. At any stage in the process a number of things can wrong requiring starting the whole process all over again.
Unfortunately, not hanging one’s food can easily result in losing all your meals and ruining an entire trip. » Continue Reading.
Saying that the agency is responding to the growing number of conflicts between bears and people across New York State, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a new state regulation that prohibits the feeding of black bears.
Black bear numbers have increased significantly and bears have expanded their range in recent years according to wildlife experts at the DEC. One result, they say, has been an increase in the number of interactions between bears and people, often resulting from the intentional or incidental feeding of bears. There are now approximately 4,000 – 5,000 bears in New York’s northern bear range, primarily in the Adirondacks; the state record bear weighed over 700 pounds. » Continue Reading.
While we sit inside on these increasingly colder winter days, have you ever wondered; how do the wild creatures of the Adirondacks survive? From the smallest insect to the largest mammal each is adapted to survive the cold in very interesting ways.
The black bear, an icon of the Adirondack forest does not truly hibernate, but instead slumbers through the cold winter in a torpid or dormant state within a warm den. The difference between true hibernation and a torpid state is, in a torpid state the animal can still be easily awoken. » Continue Reading.
DEC is proposing changes to regulations that would extend the mandatory reporting period for a harvested deer, bear or wild turkey from 48 hours to 7 days. Many hunters hunt in remote areas that lack cell phone coverage or internet access or both, and they often stay in those locations for a week or more during the hunting season. According to the DEC, the purpose of these changes is to provide greater flexibility for reporting the harvest of these species, while continuing to mandate those reports to enable the accurate compilation of annual take. You can review the text of the proposed regulation online (under Part 180, Section 180.10 – Game Harvest Reporting at the bottom of the web page).
Also, find out how to submit comments, which will be accepted through October 4, 2010.
With all the unseasonably balmy weather we’ve had this month, and all the advanced blooming and migrations, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone that the bears are awake and searching for food. In fact, I’m surprised that the first signs of bear activity only appeared this weekend. Unfortunately, these signs were in my back yard, where the bear broke through the fence and ravaged two birdfeeder poles and something like seven bird feeders, not to mention my compost bin. Yes, the bears are awake. » Continue Reading.
Bear harvest numbers in 2009 were the second-highest ever recorded in New York State, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Last fall’s harvest was only exceeded by 2003’s record total.
Statewide, hunters took 1,487 black bears in 2009 – a 15 percent increase from the 1,295 taken in 2008. The 2009 increase is principally due to a strong surge in bear harvest in the Adirondack region, where the 814 bears taken in 2009 was a 40 percent increase over 2008. In 2003, 1,864 bears were harvested statewide. » Continue Reading.
One of the plants that make the Adirondacks special is the blueberry, which likes to grow in, or alongside, a variety of wetlands. I recall one of the highlights of summer camp was when the nature counselor made her blueberry fritters. Campers and counselors alike would flock to her nature room as the rumor of fritters spread like wildfire. Her “Live off the Land” camping trips were never complete without blueberry fritters for breakfast. But blueberries aren’t just special to people; lots of wildlife benefit from the fingertip-sized fruits, not least among them birds and bears. Not all blueberry fanciers are after the fruits, though. The blueberry stem gall wasp (Hemadas nubilipennis) is more interested in the stems of the plant. Highbush, lowbush, the variety probably doesn’t matter, not when reproduction is on the line. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy gets a lot of attention when it completes a landscape-scale protection deal like the 161,000-acre Finch Pruyn purchase, or when it buys a place with a hallowed name like Follensby Pond.
But for decades it has also been working among the little farms and forests of the Champlain Valley with a larger picture in mind. “The goal is to provide safe passage for species—a way for a moose, say, to go from the Adirondacks to Vermont with little risk of being struck by a car, or a salmon to make it far enough upstream to spawn without being blocked by a dry culvert,” Michael Carr, executive director of the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, said in a press release Monday. “Where are the most important habitat linkages and how do we work do we protect them? To date, we’ve raised several hundred thousand dollars in grants for this initiative in the Champlain Valley, which is a critical piece of a larger effort.” » Continue Reading.
There I was, cruising the VIC’s Sucker Brook Trail in search of spring wildflowers (translation: staring at the ground as I walked along), when to my left I heard a rustle of vegetation. “Ruffed grouse,” I thought, and turned my head, anticipating the explosion of wings as the bird made a hasty retreat towards the treetops. What I saw, however, was no ruffed grouse. It was black, it was furry, and it was galloping away from me a high speed.
My next thought was “someone’s black lab is loose.” Then it dawned on me: this was no lab, it was a bear. A small bear, probably a yearling, but a bear nonetheless. What I saw was the typical view I have of bears in the Adirondacks: the south end of the animal as it’s headed north. If I’m lucky, I’ll see the face before the animal turns tail. And this is how bears are – they fear people. Many people fear bears as well, but unlike the bear, people really have little reason to be afraid of these normally placid animals. » Continue Reading.
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