Last week, the organization, PROTECT the Adirondacks, announced that they plan to begin a program, entitled Cougar Watch, for developing a database of Mountain Lion sightings in and around the Park. For years, many reputable individuals have claimed to have glimpsed this large member of the cat family, which has led some people to wonder whether a small population of these highly adaptable predators currently exists within the boundaries of the Blue Line. With all the sightings entered into a publicly accessible database, it might be easier to draw some conclusions regarding the status of this reclusive feline in northern New York. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Whitetail Deer’
New York’s northern zone regular firearm season came to an end this past Sunday, but that doesn’t mean it’s over for diehards here in the Adirondacks. There is a one week slot of traditional muzzleloader hunting in designated zones that gives hunters another chance to harvest a whitetail before the long winter.
Although it’s going to be cold and snowy, I’ll venture out this weekend. In the winter months deer herd-up. They congregate together for safety and warmth and often when you find one, there are several others around. That’s a perfect scenario for hunters. Although it may sound like shooting fish in a barrel, deer are very smart and can still be very hard to catch. The bucks are in the finally stages of the breeding season. I have seen does being bred by male deer well into the month of December and this late season can be an excellent chance to harvest a mature whitetail. » Continue Reading.
Hard mast, the term used to refer to the nuts wild trees produce, is humbling this way. We know that, generally speaking, trees require a lot of energy to produce nuts, and so a tree won’t produce them every year. The books say every two or three years for beech nuts and three to seven years for oaks, but take it all with a grain of salt.
There are advantages, from a tree’s perspective, to being unpredictable. Abundant years followed by lean years keep seed predators in check. (Biologists call this predator satiation.) In a good year, the woods are flooded with nuts – more than any squirrel or mouse can eat. The next fall, when rodent populations are high thanks to all the easy living, the trees take the year off and the surplus rodents starve.
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The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has a program that allows individuals to apply for a permit to establish a temporary hunting camp on state land. They’re a great opportunity for those of us who don’t own a large parcel of land, and a good way to avoid paying for a hunting lease. It does however, require some extra effort. When I’m looking for a good hunting camp location, I consider a few important things.
Once I locate an area I want to hunt, access is key. I take some time and scout the ground. I usually take a spring fishing trip or hike and do this. Spring is a good time because the foliage is not on the trees and that makes it easier to spot old buck sign from the year before. » Continue Reading.
If I had to pick a single three-day period to hunt whitetail deer, the full moon in November would be it. November’s full moon is this Sunday the seventeenth. Many of my elders have talked about the November full moon – the hunters full moon – as the peak of the deer mating season. I myself have taken some of my best whitetails on this upcoming weekend and I’m eager to get another shot this year.
I’ve found that animals in their natural habitats generally tend to be more active during a full moon. I’ve found this true with mammals as well as fish. Becoming familiar with the moon phases and the role they play in deer hunting is sure to improve your chances. » Continue Reading.
Driven by a surge of hormones, the bucks, especially the largest and oldest males with their impressive rack of antlers, are now continuously on the move as they attempt to locate females nearing their estrous, or heat period. Rather than spend time resting or sleeping, bucks are on the go day and night in the days prior to, and immediately after, Veteran’s Day, as these individuals experience an innate urge to focus all their time and energy into spreading their genetic composition into the deer herd of that area. » Continue Reading.
It’s a good year for beechnuts and acorns. Beechnuts – the fruit of the American beech tree – are a small three-sided edible nut. Since they are high in protein and fat, they’re favored by Adirondack wildlife along with acorns, or oak nuts, the nut of the oak tree. Both are in the beech family (fagaceae) and play an important role in Adirondack forests. These natural nut crops, known as mast, are very plentiful this year.
Early this summer, while harvesting trees in Warren County, I could tell it was going to be a good year for beechnuts and acorns, as the canopies were full. As the beechnuts matured I often found myself enjoying their bounty – they make a nice snack in the middle of the woods. These crops are not always there for the deer, squirrels, bear and turkey, so I am sure they appreciate the extra snack as well. » Continue Reading.
Is a horn an antler and an antler a horn? For the low-down on high-level head gear. This week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze explores the fine points of horns and antlers.
The late summer and early fall weather has been ideal for exploring the Adirondack backcountry. The mostly sunny days and clear cool nights are near-perfect conditions for bushwhacking through remote and wild areas, regardless of the season. With the weather and my hording of vacation time this year, the stars seemed aligned for an interesting late season adventure.
Except for one tiny detail, it is hunting season. That time of the year when bullets and arrows fly, causing wildlife, in addition to a few hikers and bushwhackers, to flee for their lives. In my opinion, a hail of bullets and/or arrows whizzing by one’s head is uniquely qualified as the easiest way to ruin a backcountry trip.
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This is a day for strange wildlife stories.
First I read in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that hiker on the Northville-Placid Trail stabbed a bear that had been following her. The bear took off; she’s all right. Read the story here.
Then I read on the Times Union’s website that a bull moose had wandered into a backyard in Halfmoon, a suburb of Albany. State officials tranquilized the animal and planned to release it in the southern Adirondacks. Read the story here.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding New Yorkers to keep their distance and not to disturb newborn fawns or other young wildlife as many animals are in the peak season for giving birth.
It is not unusual to see a young bird crouched in the yard or a young rabbit in the flower garden, both apparently abandoned. Finding a fawn deer lying by itself is also fairly common. Many people assume that young wildlife found alone are helpless and need assistance for their survival, however, in nearly all cases this is a mistake and typically human interaction does more damage than good. Those that see a fawn or other newborn wildlife should enjoy their encounter but keep it brief, maintain some distance and do not attempt to touch the animal. » Continue Reading.
Winter is a hard time for wildlife. It brings deep cold, leafless terrain, and a shortage of food and water. Animals have few choices. Most songbirds abandon the region via a perilous migration to warmer climates. Other creatures hunker down in hibernation. But there are a number of species that remain active all winter.
This is no easy task. Mammals and birds must maintain their body heat by burning (metabolizing) their body fat – or perish. » Continue Reading.
Two program series set to begin this month in Newcomb and Keene offer events for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. The Adirondack Mountain Club’s 2013 Winter Lecture Series will take place at the High Peaks Information Center, while the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC), formerly the Newcomb VIC, will offer a variety of programs highlighting the role that sportsmen in the Adirondacks play in conservation and game management.
The AIC’s programs will begin on January 26, with a focus on white-tailed deer. Future AIC program topics will include trapping, and preparing, cooking and enjoying fresh game. This month’s program will be led by Jeremy Hurst, a certified wildlife biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Hurst specializes in managing New York state’s big-game populations.
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At the start of the New Year, the saying, “Out with the old…” may seem quite appropriate to male white-tailed deer residing in wilderness regions of the Adirondacks. As the calendar year comes to an end, bucks traditionally lose their antlers, making it nearly impossible to distinguish between the sexes when a small herd is noticed standing along the side of a road, or in a forest clearing. Some bucks may be observed supporting their characteristic boney headwear well into January or February, which reflects an abnormal ratio of bucks to does in that general area.
The primary purpose of a set of antlers is to serve as a weapon when confronting a rival buck prior to and during the rutting, or mating, season. Initially, a month or more before the first doe comes into heat, bucks half-heartedly spar with one another in an attempt to establish dominance. The testosterone level in the bucks increases with the shortening length of daylight and more frequent detection of female pheromones, which alerts the bucks to the does awakening reproductive state. This causes the level and intensity of the fighting between males to increase. » Continue Reading.
Traditionally, it is between November 4th and 18th when the peak of the rutting or breeding season for the white-tailed deer occurs in the Adirondacks. Bucks are continuously on the move during these two weeks as they attempt to locate any doe that is nearing her initial heat period.
Also, as bucks expand their search for females outside their regular area of travel, males must continue to regularly return to their home range in order to ensure that rivals do not intrude into their domain.
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