Author and outdoor journalist Dan Ladd of West Fort Ann, Washington County, has recently released his latest book, Well Seasoned in the Adirondacks: People, Places and Pastimes of Northern New York. The book is a collection of articles and essays, many that have appeared in Ladd’s weekly outdoors column in The Chronicle newspaper of Glens Falls. The book also includes a collection of Laddʼs personal photos.
“Many of my friends in the writing industry, especially those at The Chronicle have suggested I do a book like this,” said Ladd. “In fact, I would encourage any outdoor writer who is regularly published, or has been, to share their experiences and adventures with their readers.” Well Seasoned in the Adirondacks is organized by the four seasons of the year. Winter features a story on vintage snowmobile restoration as well as others on ice, fishing, small game hunting, skiing and snowshoeing. The Spring and Summer chapters feature everything from fishing, camping and hiking to paddling, including a story about a historic Adirondack canoe trip. The Autumn section is dedicated primarily to hunting and features several of the authorʼs relatives who had an influence on his hunting interest. » Continue Reading.
Although the eastern cougar (a.ka. puma, panther, catamount) has been on the endangered species list since 1973, its existence has long been questioned (especially here in the Adirondacks). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a formal review of the available information and, in a report issued today, concludes the eastern cougar is extinct and recommends the subspecies be removed from the endangered species list.
New York State paid its last bounty on a mountain lion killed in Hamilton County in 1894; just over 150 state and county mountain lion bounties were paid between 1860 and 1894. Before he died in 1849, professional hunter Thomas Meacham is believed to have killed 77 mountain lions. Despite their being already nearly extinct, New York State established a mountain lion bounty in 1871 and over the next eleven years 46 mountain loin bounties were claimed. Adirondack mountain lion sightings reported to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation increased markedly in about 1980, jumping from 5 in the 1960s and 9 in the 1970s, to 44 in the 1980s. Some 90 sightings were reported in the 1990s. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced a new state law that allows for the one-time transfer of lifetime hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses under certain circumstances. Previously, lifetime licenses could not be transferred to another individual, regardless of the situation.
Under the new law, lifetime sporting licenses may be transferred to a qualifying relative if the lifetime license holder passes away within one year of purchase of the license or if the license holder passes away while in active United States military duty during a time of war. “Hunters, anglers, and trappers take their pursuits very seriously,” said Acting Commissioner Joseph Martens, and “this is a way for them to pass on a family tradition.”
The new law became effective January 15, 2011 and stipulates that lifetime licenses may be transferred if the person to whom the license was issued dies within one year of the issuance of the license, the person to whom the license is to be transferred is a legal New York State resident and would otherwise be eligible to purchase the license, and the person to whom the license is to be transferred is a parent, sibling, child or spouse of the license holder.
Application for transfer of the lifetime license must be made within three years of the issuance of the license, except in the case of lifetime license holders that die while serving in the active United States military, naval, or air services during a period of war.
Lifetime license transfer requests must be made by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Due to the effective date of the new law, for non-military-related transfer requests, lifetime licenses must have been issued on or after January 15, 2008, with a three month grace period for transfer applications.
For more information on requests and copies of supporting documents for applying for Lifetime License Transfer call DEC’s License Sales Unit at 518-402-8843.
In mid-October 2010, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Wildlife Pathology Unit, which is responsible for diagnosing and monitoring causes of sickness and death in New York State’s animals, has confirmed brain worm infections in six of 18 moose examined in 2009-2010. Those moose were found in Clinton, Essex, Oneida, Rensselaer, and Saratoga Counties.
The most recent moose examined, a two and a half year old male moose exhibiting abnormal behavior in the Town of Steuben, Oneida County, was lying down in a cow pasture and appeared blind; it could not stand when prodded by a DEC Biologist. The moose was subsequently euthanized and submitted to the Wildlife Pathology Unit for necropsy (animal autopsy) where it was diagnosed with brain worm infection [review the case report online]. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the opening of the application period for its cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program. This program enhances pheasant hunting opportunities through a partnership with DEC, sportsmen and sportswomen, 4-H youth, and landowners who are interested in rearing and releasing pheasants. Applications must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 15, 2011.
Pheasants are a popular game bird since first successfully introduced to New York State in 1892 on Gardiner’s Island. A later release in 1903 on the Wadsworth estate, near Geneseo, truly established this Asian immigrant and helped popularize pheasant hunting in New York. Populations peaked in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the “heyday” of the ringneck pheasant. Today, wild pheasants are difficult to find. Most wild pheasants are found in the Lake Plains of western New York. » Continue Reading.
Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) ECO Steven Bartoszewski, based in Jefferson County (Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 6), was awarded the New York State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Officer of the Year Award for spearheading a youth turkey hunt in the Watertown area during this past April’s youth turkey hunting weekend.
At the New York State Chapter of the NWTF’s annual dinner in January, in Waterloo, he was presented a plaque and wild turkey print and “recognition that he embodies the spirit of an ECO who loves his work, is an accomplished turkey hunter himself, is a great organizer, gets involved with the local organized sportsmen’s groups and inspires youth,” according to a DEC statement. ECO Bartoszewski developed an idea for having a youth turkey hunt and ran with it from conception to implementation the statement said which noted that he worked with fellow officers, landowners, the Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of Jefferson County and The Watertown Sportsmen’s Club and the youths themselves. Regional Law Enforcement Captain Stephen Pierson said “Everyone involved in this event was impressed with Bartoszewski’s abilities and desire to promote youth turkey hunting. He has had a positive impact with the youths involved, other officers, hunters and the public.”
For the 2010 youth turkey hunt, Bartoszewski enlisted the assistance of three other conservation officers who are also turkey hunters to serve as mentors for the young hunters. Through a raffle organized by the Federation, eight young hunters were selected to participate. They were instructed in the appropriate rules and regulations and allowed to target practice during the weekend prior to the youth turkey hunt. The youngsters also were introduced to host farmers, who graciously allowed them to hunt on their property. The following weekend, four of the young hunters took turkeys.
Bartoszewski continues to promote youth hunting events and is currently busy with planning this year’s activities. This spring’s youth turkey hunt is April 23 and 24, 2011.
Photo: ECO Bartoszewski holding print and plaque and Bret Eccleston, President of the NYS Chapter NWTF.
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.
The Warren County 4-H Shooting Sports program will be conducting an archery program on Thursday, February 3, 10, and 17th at 6pm, location TBA. Children 9 years and over will learn all fundamental safety steps for handling a bow. Bows, arrows, tabs, arm guards, and targets will be provided for this event.
As with all NYS 4-H Shooting Sports programs, Warren County instructors are either State or nationally certified in their area of discipline. Safety is always the primary focus of the program. All participants must be registered 4-H members to participate for insurance purposes. There is a $5.00 fee for non-members which includes a membership in Warren County 4-H. Class is limited to 18. Pre-register by calling 623-3291 or 668-4881. Photo: Dunham’s Bay 4-H Shooting Line, recurve bows.
My ski trip to Bum Pond, with my daughter Martha, was made possible by the state’s purchase of nearly fifteen thousand acres from the Whitney family in 1997.
Thanks to this latest land deal, the public will have the opportunity to enjoy new ski trails in coming winters.
The Nature Conservancy bought all 161,000 acres owned by Finch, Pruyn in 2007. Last year, it sold eighty-nine thousand acres to ATP Timberland Invest. On December 30, the state announced that it would pay $30 million for easements on the ATP lands. » Continue Reading.
A “Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day” will be on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 in Albany. An event held earlier this year included 24 vendors from around the state and nearly 3,000 supporters. National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO & Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will join outdoor enthusiasts from across the state at the event, which is focused on the Second Amendment and shooting sports.
“Due to the overwhelming success of the January 2010 event we have decided to make this celebration of our Second Amendment rights a yearly gathering,” event organizer Brian M. Kolb, the State Assembly’s Republican Minority Leader from Canandaigua, said in a press release, “Our goal is to highlight the rich tradition of outdoor activities in the lives of New York’s residents and our economy, and offer hunters, sportsmen and outdoor recreation enthusiasts from around the state an opportunity to meet with their legislators to discuss the legislative and policy issues affecting them.” Kolb noted that LaPierre will give the keynote address again this year. Additionally, the slate of speakers is expected to include Tom King, President of NYSRPA; James A. Rabbia, Plant Manager for Remington Arms; Stephen Aldstadt, President of S.C.O.P.E.; and William Schwerd, Executive Director of New York State 4-H Shooting Sports.
“Hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation are essential to New York’s economy, contributing over $6 billion every year” Kolb’s statement says. “It has always been important to me that sportsmen and women have the opportunity to network with colleagues and meet with their legislators to discuss the important role of ‘Heritage Sports’ and other outdoor activities.”
Vendors scheduled to showcase their products and services include NYSRPA, S.C.O.P.E., the West Albany Rod and Gun Club, the Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of Ulster County, New York State 4-H Shooting Sports, New York Houndsmen Conservation Association, Outdoor Writers Association, Safari Club International, Conservation Alliance of New York, National Wild Turkey Federation, Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education, Inc., Remington Arms, New York State Trappers Association, Harvest Sun Charters, Livingston County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs, Springville Field and Spring Club, New East Coast Arms Collectors, Savage Arms and Columbia Greene Friends of the NRA, and others.
To RSVP or for more details about the event, e-mail Kolb at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (518) 455-5073, or look for “Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day” on Facebook.
A major operation to crack down on illegal deer poaching across New York State has led to charges against 137 individuals for more than 250 offenses, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced. Last year, a similar six week crack-down netted 300 charges against 107 individuals. Most of this year’s charges, 124 misdemeanors and violations, were filed in the Adirondack Park and surrounding North Country.
This year’s initiative, dubbed “Operation Dark Night,” focused on the illegal taking of deer by use of artificial light, known as “deer jacking.” This involves nighttime wildlife crimes where poachers shine a spotlight on a deer feeding in fields to “freeze” the animal long enough to shoot it – killing deer when they are most vulnerable. Typically, deer jacking occurs in remote rural areas, late at night. Due to these late hours and secluded areas, there are few, if any, witnesses to this crime. » Continue Reading.
When I was wet behind the ears, in an Adirondack sort of way, Paul Schaefer took me to the sturdy cabin at the edge of the wilderness that he had built sometime in the early 1960s in the Town of Johnsburg. Paul had located his cabin, named Beaver House, on high ground with a distant view of Crane Mountain, but in the shadow of Eleventh or Cataract Mountain which lay in silhouette immediately to our west. It was November and somewhere below Eleventh Mountain in the gathering gloom of a wilderness afternoon lay a hunting camp populated with men who Paul had recruited into the Cataract Hunting Club years earlier. In fact, the original club members, including fathers and grandfathers of the current generation, dated to around 1931 when Paul hired a teamster to take them in by horse and wagon. In 1987 they were still going in that way courtesy of local teamster Earl Allen. By 1987, the knees of the 78 year-old conservationist and hunter Paul Schaefer no longer supported his tall frame on the several mile tramp over rough terrain to reach the Cataract Club’s camp on Diamond Brook. So Paul did the next best thing. He sat in Beaver House before a roaring fire talking about the history of the region, its people, conservation history, hunting experiences, and the Siamese Wilderness he knew so well.
A light rain was falling outside, but the light was fading much faster. I was really getting comfortable in the warmth of that room, listening to Paul, when out of the blue he said: “now, Dave, reach into the pocket of my jacket and take out the piece of paper.” I gave him the paper. “I need you to hike into the wilderness and hand over this camping permit to the boys in camp. If the ranger shows up and they don’t have this permit, they could be in a lot of trouble. So, you’d do me and them a big favor by hiking in there.” My heart jumped. I had never been into hunt camp before. “How do I reach their camp, Paul?” Paul gestured with his big right hand, his head cocked, emphasizing. “Go down the trail here to the junction, and then follow the wagon trail west, keeping the mountain always on your left. A mile in, you’ll reach the height of land. Stop right there. A tall red spruce stands ahead on a rise. Don’t go past it. Bear left, keep the mountain on that side and follow the stream down another mile. You can’t miss it. And tell the boys I may try to go in there tomorrow, but I’m not promising.” He gave me a rain slicker and a flashlight, and a hearty “You’ll be back in no time.” With the camping permit in my pocket, my heart pounding, but my voice full of confidence, I headed out the cabin door. The rain was falling steadily, and afternoon light had all but faded as I tried to determine if I had reached the height of land. I had gone up and down. Height of land seemed a frustrating matter of impression in these big woods. Trying to keep the mountain in sight I veered left and trusted to luck. I suddenly realized my jeans were soaked through. Trudging on, the trees were noticeably larger, including red spruce. How could horses drag a wagon full of gear all the way back here, I remember asking myself. But I was on a mission for Paul. Stumbling on and on down the rough wagon trail, crossing innumerable small streams, I finally smelled wood smoke. Excited, I went uphill into some balsam and spruce, following my nose. In the gloom below, the long tent appeared. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I had made it. I heard muffled laughter. Then my mouth dropped. In the glow of my flashlight, a huge antlered deer hung from a pole. I found the tent entrance, pulled the tent flaps open and walked in. I remember the hissing of those kerosene lamps. All conversation ceased, as ten hunters looked up at me from the chow they were eating on a long table. “Gosh, Dave,” someone said, “you look kind of wet. What can we do you for”? “Guys, Paul sent me in with your camping permit.” At that, I reached into my jeans and out came the paper, dripping wet. Nobody said a word. Bill broke the silence. “Give this to me straight. Paul sent you in here tonight to give us that?” I nodded. The tent erupted in roars of laughter. Dave got up and gave me something warm to drink and a place by the stove. The good natured kidding went on for a while. I felt a whole lot better about life and a bit dryer, and with new found confidence headed back to the cabin. I did leave that permit. The cabin lights were like a port in a storm as Paul welcomed me back with that enormous handshake, and a plate of food. “Take a seat and tell me how the boys are doing.” As I ate, I knew that I had passed some test that mattered to Paul, the first of many to come.
Photos: Cataract Club members Dave Conde, Bill Townsend and Doug Miller (l-r) at Beaver House before heading into camp; Beaver House, the cabin Paul Schaefer built near the Siamese Ponds Wilderness.
After writing about the illegally cut trees on Cat Mountain, which were neither dead nor down, I started thinking about other rule violations I have observed in the backcountry. One such rule violation I have frequently noticed is the storage of personal property on forest preserve in the Adirondacks.
The storage of personal property can usually be found in one of two different situations. It is either in small amounts scattered around lean-tos or in much more substantial quantities in wild and remote area where few will ever stumble upon these hidden caches. And although some of this property is probably abandoned, the majority appears to be in at least seasonal use. » Continue Reading.
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