In The Mindful Carnivore (Pegasus Books, 2012), Tovar Cerulli traces the evolution of his dietary philosophy from veganism to hunting. As a boy, Cerulli spent his summers fishing for trout and hunting bullfrogs. While still in high school, he began to experiment with vegetarianism. By the age of twenty he was a vegan. A decade later, in the face of declining health, he returned to omnivory and within a few years found himself heading into the woods, rifle in hand.
Through his personal quest, Cerulli bridges these disparate worldviews and questions moral certainties. Are fishing and hunting barbaric, murderous anachronisms? Or can they be respectful ways for humans to connect with nature (and their food)? How harmless is vegetarianism? Can hunters and vegetarians be motivated by similar values and instincts? » Continue Reading.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has received about 1,200 letters, e-mails, and online comments from people who object to a plan to permit more hunting and trapping of bobcats. Only about 300 people wrote to support the plan.
That works out to 80 percent in opposition, 20 percent in favor. If this were an election, it would be a landslide. But when it comes to public policy, the majority does not always win. DEC will review the comments and may make some changes, but I doubt it will abandon the plan altogether, despite the pleas of animal-rights advocates. The department is expected to finalize the plan later this spring or in the summer. » Continue Reading.
Hunters are invited to submit recommendations for the dates of the Fall 2012 duck hunting seasons to regional Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced. DEC will evaluate the task force recommendations in setting waterfowl seasons, which must comply with federal rules.
DEC is soliciting recommendations for the Fall 2012 hunting seasons, including opening and closing dates, split seasons and a special hunting weekend for youths. The recommended dates must be within federal guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). For Fall 2012, DEC expects the USFWS to allow a 60-day duck season, split into no more than two segments per zone, opening no earlier than September 22, 2012, and closing no later than January 27, 2013. » Continue Reading.
New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) supports industries that generate approximately $40 billion annually for the State’s economy and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to a recent analysis.
The report, prepared by The Trust for Public Land (a national conservation organization) in collaboration with the New York Environmental Leaders Group, concludes that the EPF generates jobs, supports local economies, and elevates property values. The analysis also concludes that for every $1 invested to protect lands under EPF, $7 in economic benefits is returned to New York through “natural goods and services,” such as filtering air and water of pollutants, and flood control. » Continue Reading.
Hunters in New York State harvested more than 228,350 deer and 1,250 bears during the 2011 hunting seasons the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The deer take nearly matched the 2010 deer take while a new record was set for the bear harvest in southern New York.
The 2011 deer take varied less than one percent from the 2010 take statewide. In 2011, hunters took slightly more than 118,350 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and just over 110,000 adult male deer (bucks). In the northern zone, the buck take (about 15,900) was essentially unchanged from 2010, though the antlerless harvest (about 10,900) was down about 13 percent from last year. » Continue Reading.
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.
Like many others in the Adirondacks, I grew up with venison incorporated into many meals. In sausage form, we had it prepared with peppers, the ground version made meat sauce for spaghetti, steaks were cooked on the grill no matter the time of year, and various cubed cuts made kebobs, sauerbraten and various stews. As a child, I can remember trading half of my daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich for half of a friend’s venison sandwich.
As I slipped into adulthood and urban living, I found that many of my friends weren’t sold on the idea of eating game of any sort – even found the idea foreign. While at that point, I realized that I didn’t know anyone in these circles who had grown up with family members that hunted, I also realized that part of the reason my family enjoyed so much venison throughout the year was because of the positive impact it had on the weekly grocery bill. » Continue Reading.
The 2011 hunting season tied 2009 for New York State’s safest year of hunting on record based on the number of hunting-related shooting incidents, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Wednesday.
“New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters thanks largely to more than 60 years of dedicated efforts of 3,000 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “All first-time hunters are required to attend a comprehensive hunter safety course of a minimum of 10 hours taught by DEC’s highly-trained instructors. Their hard work is paying off.” » Continue Reading.
The St. Lawrence Valley Primitive Snowshoe Biathlon, organized by the Fort La Présentation Association and Forsyth’s Rifles and hosted by the Massena Rod & Gun Club, will be held March 3-4, 2012.
“In our primitive biathlon, competitors on snowshoes run or walk a measured course,” said Fred Hanss, an event organizer. “They must load and fire two shots from a muzzle-loading firearm at five targets set at well-spaced stations and throw an axe at the sixth station.” Two of the three classes reflect the organizers’ mission to educate the public about the colonial and early American history of the St. Lawrence River Valley. In the first two classes, competitors using smoothbore muskets or rifles (flintlock or caplock) must cover the course on wooden snowshoes. In the third category, participants with in-line rifles may wear wooden or modern snowshoes.
The advance registration fee is $20. Registration on the day of the event is $25. After paying the initial registration fee, a re-entry fee of $5.00 will be charged each time that a participant runs the course.
Within the competitive classes, there are men’s, ladies’, and youth divisions. Awards will be presented to the top three participants in each division at a ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
“To add to the fun, a blanket shoot will be held and door prizes will be available Saturday and Sunday,” Mr. Hanss said. “Net proceeds from the primitive biathlon will go to the Fort La Présentation Association for the construction of an Interpretive Center and the reconstruction of historic Fort de la Présentation on Ogdensburg’s Lighthouse Point.”
Participants are encouraged to wear historic clothes covering 1750 to 1812. Fort de la Présentation was one of a handful of French colonial forts in New York State. Forsyth’s Rifles from Ogdensburg re-enacts a U.S. Army regiment posted in Northern New York during the War of 1812. From the French and Indian War period, they portray a unit of French marines. Registration form and rules are at www.fort1749.org.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed a five-year plan for managing bobcats that aims to “provide sustainable use and enjoyment of bobcat by the public.”
How would the department achieve this goal? By allowing the public to kill more bobcats.
I suspect that many people do not agree that the best way to enjoy bobcats is to shoot or trap them. Maybe DEC suspects this, too. In a press release this week, the department buries the news. After boilerplate quotes from DEC officials and a list of the plan’s goals, the press release states: “The plan includes proposals to greatly simplify hunting and trapping season dates by making them consistent throughout much of the state as well as establishing new hunting and trapping opportunities in central and western New York.” » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today.
Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. » Continue Reading.
There’s a great deal weighing on people’s minds this early November, starting with how they’ll get through another Adirondack winter, keep their family healthy, and earn a living. Some are wondering if they’ll be elected on Tuesday, others confused about who they’re going to vote for. One town supervisor I spoke with in July informed me that four of his town’s five rural post offices would be shuttered in 2012, and asked me if the fate of local post offices concerned me. I said it did.
My Adirondack Wild colleague Dan Plumley and his neighbors lost their Keene Valley local post office this year. I do recall a citizen campaign waged decades ago to keep the only small post office in Hallowell, Maine – near where I was born. It succeeded. Hope is always a crucial part of any early November day. Some lose their immediate November worries and thoughts in the fall hunt, or adventure. My conservation mentor Paul Schaefer was in hunting camp this time of the year, beginning in 1931 when as a 23-year old he first guided the Cataract Club into the Siamese wilderness until the mid 1980s when his bad knee finally gave out on him. Often, Paul and other members of the Cataract Club would climb Cataract Mountain which stretches for miles above the East Branch of the Sacandaga River valley in Bakers Mills. That’s not the mountain’s designated name. On maps it is Eleventh Mountain.
Paul wrote in his book Adirondack Cabin Country (Syracuse University Press, 1993) that “Half a century ago a number of us who hunted that mountain and were enthralled by its magnificence, decided to give it a more fitting name. ‘Cataract Mountain’ it has been, and it is for us, U.S. Geological Survey maps notwithstanding. Five crystal streams tumble off the thickly forested peak that stretches 3, 249 feet in elevation. Some of the cataracts that form are spectacular.”
This past weekend I bushwacked up Cataract Mountain with my friend Herb. I think we were going to find something, not to lose our thoughts or troubles, relatively light as those may be – perhaps to find a coyote standing tall on that peak, yipping and yelping and looking out on their wild domain. Despite the slow, tough climb around boulders, birch, beech and balsam thickets, Herb said he was determined to summit.
When we finally reached one of the mountain’s five summits, we rested and looked out at the valley of the East Branch of the Sacandaga glimmering 900 feet below us, Rt. 8 winding to its left. We gazed on Black, Harrington and other mountains in the blue distance. Suddenly Herb exclaimed, jumped up and found coyote scat not 20 feet from where we were eating our lunch. Look, Herb said, a coyote did survey his domain from this very spot! As had Paul Schaefer, many times.
Paul writes in Adirondack Cabin Country: “There are numerous spots where I can stand on a rocky ledge above the precipitous forested slopes dropping off to the valley far below and experience a solitude so wonderful that it causes emotions I can not describe…Here on Cataract Mountain – protected by the ‘forever wild’ covenant – the work of the Divine Artist is all about us, from the lichens clinging to the bare rocks to the hawk wheeling in the sky far above.”
It was true. The rock, lichen, ferns, shining, soaking moss had a luminous intensity during Herb’s and my adventure. We checked our watch. Fleeting thoughts of home and of gathering darkness found its crevice and latched on. We’d better go. Picking our way down the steep slope, we reached the trail in good shape as the sun was setting, pleased with ourselves. A mile away on the other side of the mountain, the Cataract Club was settling into their camp, now in its 80th fall season. As for their quarry, the sagacious white-tailed deer, it was long gone – like that coyote.
Photos: Above, Paul Schaefer at his Adirondack cabin below Cataract Mountain; Below, Herb at the summit of Cataract, or Eleventh Mountain.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that it has adopted a five-year deer management plan. The final plan, which has been revised based on public comment on a previously released draft version, is now available online.
“White-tailed deer are an important and valued natural resource for New Yorkers,” Commissioner Joe Martens said. “DEC’s new deer management plan provides strategic direction for our staff over the next five years and will help us focus our efforts where they can best meet the biological and social demands associated with deer. This plan emphasizes the importance of hunting for deer management, and we are particularly excited to create new opportunities for young deer hunters,” Martens said. “We are also cognizant of the significant ecological impacts associated with deer, and we are eager to more fully bring our knowledge of these impacts into the population management process.” » Continue Reading.
It can be heard at almost anytime, but especially after sunset. On calm evenings from the late summer throughout autumn, the high-pitched yelping cry of the eastern coyote occasionally echoes across the landscape as this resourceful predator moves under the cover of darkness. While the coyote is known to make its tormented-sounding bark during any season, there are times when it is more vocal and fall is one of those periods. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy:
There is a rich history and tradition of hunting in the Adirondack Park. With over two and a half million acres of public land it is not hard to find access to the wildlife habitat of choice. Keep in mind these five points and you will have a safe experience.
* Assume every gun is loaded
* Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction
* Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
* Be sure of your target and beyond
* Wear Hunter Orange
The effectiveness of fluorescent orange safety clothing speaks for itself. Look at the results: Over the past ten years, 15 New York State big game hunters have been mistaken for deer or bear and killed, and every one of these victims was from that small minority of hunters who did not wear hunter orange. But not even one person who was wearing hunter orange was mistaken for game and killed.
Hunting is safe and getting safer. The hunting injury rate (injuries per 100,000 hunters) has been cut more than 67% over the past 35 years, even while the number of hunters grew and hunting land decreased. The safest year ever was 2003, with only 32 injuries. People who hunt are careful. There are nearly 700,000 hunters in New York. Only one in 14,000 causes an accident, so 99.99 percent of hunters don’t cause firearms injuries.
Be physically fit for a safer and more enjoyable hunting season. Every hunting season is marred by a rash of heart attacks. In fact, heart attacks take a higher toll than careless hunting practices. Hunting is more fun and a lot safer when you’re not tired and out of breath. Physical fitness will enable you to cover more ground when hunting, get your game out of the woods easier, and avoid clumsiness and dangerous lapses of concentration and caution that accompany exhaustion. Fitness makes you a better shot, too.
This guest essay was contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy. Their goal is to provide public education about the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easements with an emphasis on how to safely enjoy, share, and protect these unique lands. To learn more about AFPEP visit www.adirondackoutdoors.org.
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