A few winters back, there was a doe who frequented our compost heap. The garden fence around it proved an inadequate barrier, as she simply hopped over it to nosh on the rotting shards of jack-o-lanterns and the latest veggie scraps tossed atop the pile. Not far from the garden sits an old orchard, and we’d also spot her there, scratching with sharp hooves to get to the long-frozen, shriveled fruit beneath the snow.
Watching deer forage for whatever bits of food they can find through the cold months of winter, I can understand why some people feel an urge to feed them. Only supplemental feeding isn’t helpful at all to deer. Instead, it’s detrimental to their digestive health, and it pulls them away from safer, more nutritious food sources. » Continue Reading.
Hundreds of years ago, haunting bugle-like calls echoed through these hills and valleys. The sounds were made by bull elk to attract mates and fend off rivals.
Elk in the Northeast? Yes, elk were once the most widely distributed of North American hoofed mammals. Millions roamed over much of the U.S. and Canada. Adaptable to a variety of habitats, elk were found in the Adirondacks, and in most ecosystems except the tundra, deserts, and the Gulf Coast. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that New York State white-tailed deer hunters have been reporting more success in 2018 than last year through the end of the regular big game season.
Through December 16, hunters reported taking approximately 14 percent more deer in the Northern Zone and 11 percent more deer in the Southern Zone, compared to the same period in 2017. Reports from the Southern Zone and Northern Zone are up more than 26 percent and 33 percent from 2016 numbers, respectively, indicating an increase in harvest over the past three hunting seasons. » Continue Reading.
DEC Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Maxwell Nocols has reported that on November 21st he received a report of hunters trespassing, firing two shots and killing an antlerless deer on private property in the town of Schroon.
ECO Nicols said he arrived to find numerous footprints entering the woods off Letsonville Road and crossing two separate posted properties. ECO Matt Lacroix with K-9 Diesel were contacted to assist with the investigation. » Continue Reading.
Deer hunters, like professional athletes, are always looking for an edge – it’s the nature of the pursuit. And so we’re susceptible to superstition, alluring gadgets, marketing campaigns. A classic genre that combines all three of those elements is the moon table – a chart that tells you when the best hunting days are based on the moon phase. These charts were a sporting magazine staple in the early days. In the print world they have largely gone the way of the Marlboro Man, but you can now buy an app which uses the moon to tell you when to take your hunting vacation.
Whether deer movement is affected by moonlight is an intriguing question. But because it’s hard to isolate the moon from all the other phenomena that affect deer behavior, I can’t imagine how you’d go about proving or disproving any particular theory. Scientists have conducted radio-collar studies with small groups of deer trying to gain insight, but the samples were so small, and the data ambiguous enough, that there’s not a lot to take from it. » Continue Reading.
New York State Environmental Conservation Officer Sean Dewey reported he received a call on the evening of October 31, 2018 by someone saying a subject had just shot a deer from the road in Horicon, Warren County.
ECO Dewey reported that upon his arrival at the scene, he identified the suspect after interviewing nearby homeowners. Dewey and ECO Maxwell Nicols, reported the deer was shot with a rifle from the defendant’s pickup truck using a spotlight. » Continue Reading.
Hunters in New York State killed an estimated 203,427 deer during the 2017-18 hunting seasons according to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
According to DEC’s report the 2017 estimated deer take included 95,623 antlerless deer and 107,804 antlered bucks, an estimated five percent fewer deer than the previous year. Statewide, this represents a 10-percent decline in antlerless harvest and a buck harvest nearly identical to 2016. Hunters in the Northern Zone took 25,351 deer, including 18,074 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, hunters took 178,076 deer, including 89,730 adult bucks. » Continue Reading.
Legislation to lower the minimum age of big game hunters to 12 has passed the New York State Senate and is now before the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.
The conservative leaning New York State Conservation Council has been leading a push to lower the big game hunting age. The New York State Department of Conservation’s current five-year deer management plan recommends the minimum age for big game hunting with a firearm be lowered to 12. These hunters would be required to be accompanied by a parent or permitted adult. » Continue Reading.
Hunters have been more successful at killing deer around New York State, but less successful at hunting bear in the Northern Region through the first several weeks of big game seasons in 2017 than last year, according to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
DEC says that early reports from New York hunters through Dec. 3, show approximately 18 percent more deer were killed in the Northern Zone and 14 percent more deer in the Southern Zone compared to the same period in 2016.
Many of us are familiar with the guilt of hitting an animal while driving. The way that its body weight seems to travel through the frame of the car is difficult to forget.
But the fact remains that we have places to be and even a few well-intentioned road signs cannot slow us down. In our ceaseless efforts to connect our world, we don’t always consider the ways that our road network has fragmented the animal habitats it paves over.
The unpleasant task of shoveling the battered carrion from our roadways falls to local highway departments. But what exactly happens to the bodies from there? I reached out to representatives from a few local county highway departments and it turns out their methods vary, but most are taken to landfills or compost bins. Scavengers remove many of these animals before road crews have a chance to clear the roads, a valuable but underappreciated ecosystem service provided by crows, ravens, foxes, and the like.
A study published in the New Zealand Journal of Zoology found that seasonal peaks in road kill for specific species was dependent upon breeding periods and dispersal. Deer and moose are particularly vulnerable to vehicle collisions during their fall mating seasons, according to a representative for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Disseminating information on these predictable changes in animal behavior provides some aid, but the number of incidents remains troubling. This suggests that accommodating for animal behavior could be more effective than attempting to educate human drivers. » Continue Reading.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that hunters in New York State killed an estimated 213,061 deer during the 2016-17 hunting seasons, an estimated five percent increase over 2015-16 levels.
The 2016 deer take included 106,055 antlerless deer and 107,006 antlered bucks. According to DEC, this represents a 7.5-percent increase in bucks killed from 2015 statewide, reflecting modest population growth following the losses experienced during the harsh winter of 2014-15. Antlerless harvest was similar to 2015 (a 2.6-percent increase), as managers sought increased antlerless harvests in certain parts of the state and reduced harvests in others. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has unveiled new regulations concerning deer and bear hunting.
These regulations increase opportunities for hunters 14 and 15 years old to kill black bears, reduce antler-less kills in the western Adirondacks, clarify when special season tags may be used by bow and muzzleloader hunters, and more.
The new bear hunting regulation now includes the taking of bears in the youth firearms hunt over Columbus Day weekend that was previously a deer-only event. » 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.
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.
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 Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.