Adirondack Guide Smith Brett Lawrence passed away on Thursday, June 30, every bit as much an icon of Keene, NY as Giant Mountain, Noonmark Diner, and the old red barn at the bottom of Spruce Hill (at the junction of routes 73 and 9N).
His full white beard and his red truck from which he flew the American flag gave Brett presence. He was also one of the last visages of an era that stretches back to the early days of the 19th century, and of a family that for four generations made their living as a guide and caretaker. » Continue Reading.
The 2016 New York State Legislative regular session has ended.
According to a statement issued by the New York State Conservation Council, “the 2016 session ended with very little legislation of concern to the sportsmen reaching the floor of both houses of the legislature for an actual vote.” The Conservation Council recently highlighted the following Adirondack related bills in an e-mail sent to the organization’s supporters. » Continue Reading.
The Ranger’s brother Charlie did most of the horseshoeing and set many a shoe. Uncle Charlie was a little harsh. He expected obedience and may not have believed in ”horse lib,” but he could make and train a horse.
Nellie and Topsy were young horses Papa bought from his brother Wilber, who had a mare name Mabel and had raised these colts, a beautiful pair. Prince was a lovely horse Papa liked very much. We were a large family, and many times cash was not plentiful. Papa would get his supplies on credit at the Frank Thissell store in the village of Bakers Mills. Papa wanted to get the bill paid and made some arrangement for paying them $100 and the horse Prince. » Continue Reading.
For the past 50 years the New York State Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) Region 6 has been gathering a team of volunteers and staff to collect data on the resident Canada Geese population. According to Regional Habitat Manager Christopher J. Balk, the data collected helps manage the flock and provide pertinent information to tailor bag limits during hunting season. This June 30, 8 am – 2 pm, is another opportunity to corral and handle some geese.
“The volunteers get to reach over the top of the enclosure and help hand the goose to a staff member,” says Balk. “We are usually banding at least 400-500 geese at this event and use the information to primarily report on the bird’s location at two points of time.”
These geese are resident, not migratory, Canada Geese so the distance between their wintering and summering habitat is usually only a few hundred miles. Hunters report the band numbers when they harvest the birds in the fall. The data allows Balk and his colleagues to track to see if a flock is intermingling or not, track growth and movements of the resident population and and to establish annual hunting regulations. » Continue Reading.
Just about everyone who saw the Walt Disney classic “Bambi” shed a tear, or at least stifled the urge to lacrimate (that’s cry in Scrabble-ese). Even if I had known of the devastating effects deer have on forest regeneration, not to mention crops, landscapes and gardens, it still would have been a trauma for my five-year old self when Bambi’s mother got killed. (Oops—spoiler alert there, sorry.) But how might the movie have ended if they had all lived happily ever after? » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers are asking residents, seasonal residents and visitors in the town of Horicon, Warren County to be alert for any signs or clues of the whereabouts of a hunter from Troy, NY who went missing this past November.
Thomas Messick was last seen on Sunday, November 15, 2015 a short distance off Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake, NY. Despite a massive two-month-long search effort by Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police, State Police and several other state and county agencies with hundreds of volunteers, no sign of Mr. Messick or any of his belongings have been located. » Continue Reading.
At a recent meeting I attended with other sportsmen, outdoor advocates and various environmental professionals, the topic of balance among the concerns of our lands and forests, wildlife, and people was being discussed.
From the perspective of the New York State Conservation Council, there is nearly a complete loss of balance on state lands in the Adirondacks because of an overbearing philosophy within the forest preserve, the forever wild philosophy, and wilderness and wild forest classifications. Thus the carrying capacity for song birds, wild game and other species in the Adirondacks is severely lacking. » Continue Reading.
According to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation deer hunting summary report, hunters killed an estimated 202,973 whitetail deer during the 2015-16 hunting seasons, approximately 15% less than the prior year.
The 2015 deer take included an estimated 103,401 antlerless deer and 99,572 antlered bucks. Statewide, this represents a 20.5% decline in antlerless deer harvest and an 8.3% decline in buck harvest from 2014. Over half of the bucks killed in 2015 were aged 2.5 years and older, continuing a shift towards older bucks in the hunt. » Continue Reading.
New York bear hunters killed 1,715 black bears during the 2015 hunting seasons, the second largest bear harvest on record in New York, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Only the 2003 harvest (1,863) surpassed the 2015 year’s take.
In the Northern Zone, a total of 583 bears were killed, 27 percent above the recent five-year average. Based primarily on cyclers of food availability, bear harvest in the Northern Zone tends to alternate between strong harvests during the early season one year followed by strong harvests during the regular season the next, according to DEC wildlife biologists. This year, hunters were more successful during the regular season, taking 253 bears, whereas 183 bears were taken during the early season.
Legislation is now pending in the New York State Legislature to lower the minimum age for big game hunting to 12. Assembly bill A8358 sponsored by Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) and companion Senate bill S5434 sponsored by Joseph Griffo (R-Rome) are currently pending in their respective houses’ Environmental Conservation Committees.
The New York State Conservation Council (NYSCC), a sportmans and gun rights advocacy group, has been advocating for the change. Currently, the “junior hunter mentoring program” allows youths ages 14 and 15 to hunt big game with a firearm while accompanied and supervised by an adult. » Continue Reading.
The 2015 New York hunting season proved to be one of the safest on record and yielded the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality since the 1950s according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC’s 2015 Hunting Safety Statistics report highlighted a total of only 23 hunting incidents, the third lowest number on record, with 10 incidents self-inflicted and 13 two-party incidents.
This is the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality in New York since record-keeping on hunting statistics began in the mid 1950s. 2015 also continued the trend of declining incidents with New York’s hunting-related shooting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) declining almost 80 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to four incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame has announced that it has inducted eight new members, including two posthumously.
The NYSOHOF is an organization dedicated to honoring those individuals who have spent many years preserving outdoor heritage, working for conservation, or enhancing outdoor sports for future generations. » Continue Reading.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has downgraded the search for an 82-year-old hunter who went missing in the Lake George Wild Forest on November 15.
Thomas Messick, a Troy resident, was last seen a short distance from Lily Pond Road in Warren County. When he failed to rendezvous with his hunting party in the afternoon, his fellow hunters searched but failed to find him. In subsequent weeks, hundreds of DEC personnel and volunteers combed the woods. In the first ten days, more than 10,000 man-hours were spent on the search.
DEC says the department and its partners have exhausted all reasonable efforts to find Messick and so is downgrading its efforts to a “limited continuous search.” » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting public comment on proposed regulation changes that would allow the use of large bore air rifles to hunt big game beginning in the fall 2016 hunting seasons.
DEC will accept written public comment on the proposed rule changes through February 8, 2016. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.