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An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Deer season ends this weekend

This weekend is the end of both the northern zone and southern zone deer seasons. The season which started with much promise and anticipation six weeks ago is now down to a final few days with most of the hunters holding faint hopes and facing disappointment.
It is easy to get discouraged but there are enough examples of late season success to give everyone hope. Are there deer out there? Yes. Are they going to be easy to get? No. There are additional factors working against the hunter at the end of the season. The weather is colder. Deer have been pressured and are more wary. The rut is essentially over. There are far less hunters afield moving deer around.
We have to adjust if we want to be successful. Although some people will advise sitting in your usual tree stands for the end of the season, others see this as a waste of time. Deer have been pressured in many cases and will spend much of the day bedded in heavy cover. Your best bet is to watch food sources, especially those that adjoin areas of heavy cover.
Most of the deer, especially bucks, will feed during the night or just about dusk. You might consider watching in the heavy cover near food sources if you can. Hunt the fringes or thickets. Deer will frequently seek refuge in the most inhospitable areas such as tops of windfalls, patches of honeysuckle, multiflora rose or other nasty vegetation. If you have the stamina and the weather isn’t too extreme, you might consider staying in your stand all day. Even though the deer are unlikely to move much, they often get up and stir a bit at mid day when the weather is cold.
If you know that other hunters will be putting on a final push during the last weekend, consider the possible escape routes of deer and be on watch in these often thick areas. For most of the past couple weeks the hunting pressure has been light but in some cases there will be groups of hunters pushing the woods for the final opportunity of the season.
Consider still hunting the heavy cover where you think the bucks might be bedding. Although the current trend is to not disturb core or bedding areas, this is the last weekend so what do you have to lose? Deer will have all year to get over the fact of being disturbed and they will return to their old haunts soon enough when the season is over.
If you have several hunters, the best bet is to probably put some hunters on watch along the likely escape routes while others still hunt or slowly move through likely areas. Remember you want to nudge the deer towards the other hunters, not send them flying into the next zip code.
Dress warmly. You won’t be able to spend the entire day afield, much less sit still, if you are cold. Carry spare gloves, etc. so you won’t have to be moving or heading back to your vehicle when a deer finally does appear.
Good luck to everybody. Be safe and let us know of any interesting stories from the final weekend.
Remember Landowner: At any time of year, but especially now with the end of hunting season coming and the onset of the holiday season it is appropriate to remember the landowners who let you use their property with some gift. Some small gift will show your appreciation for them letting you hunt or fish on their property. It also helps mark you as a considerate and responsible sportsman and may go a long way towards getting permission to hunt or fish there again next year.
Deer Hides Wanted: For the deer hunters who have been successful and are wondering what to do with the hide, Jim Ward of Oneida Trap Supply is again buying hides. Call Jim at 363-2913 for information and hours.
Holiday Shopping: I have always stressed shopping locally whenever possible. Local merchants and craftsmen are the ones who support our community and deserve your support, especially at this time of year. Shop at your local sport shop, marina archery shop, or gun shop. In many cases you can buy directly from the craftsmen or producers. There is great quality and variety available and gifts to fit every budget.
If you are looking for an ultra light pack canoe that you can carry into the backcountry with one hand consider the canoes produced by Lake Placid Boatworks. Slipstream Watercraft is another Adirondack company that manufactures lightweight canoes and kayaks. If you are looking for a workhouse canoe, consider the Marathon boat company which makes the successor to the famous Grumman aluminum canoe. For paddles for your kayak or pack canoe, check out Fox paddles which makes quality paddles in the southern tier.
For the fisherman in your family there is the famous Cortland fly rods and fly lines. If you are looking for walleye rods or the new innovation of rods for Center Spin steelhead fishing, you can’t go wrong with Bart’s Rods which are made locally. Bass and walleye fishermen are certain to be pleased with jigs made by Billy Alexander ( based on his tournament winning experience. Northern King lures are another New York product and have long been a favorite of Lake Ontario anglers.
Shawn Fox of Camden ( makes great hand crafted turkey, duck, goose and locator calls. Lou Pulverenti is a local call maker noted for his excellent diaphragm or slate and pencil turkey calls under the Boss Tom label. Gary Campanie of Oneida has won numerous national awards for his decorative turkey calls which are also effective working calls. Quaker Boy Company is based in western New York and makes a variety of waterfowl, deer and turkey calls as well as hunting accessories.
For gun cleaning accessories, one of the bright stories of business success is Otis Technology in Lyons Falls. Despite the move of some of their other firearms production to Alabama, Remington guns - including the iconic model 870 shotgun - are still made in Ilion. Crosman BB guns and their newer air rifles are standards of quality that are made in western New York.
Havlick Snowshoes have changed ownership but they are resuming making a great product in nearby Mayfield. Peter Rickard Lures not only makes the lures popular with trappers and deer hunters, but has other related accessories.
A gift basked of seasonings and rubs from Iron Skillet ( makes a great addition to any kitchen. Dennis Dedek makes over 30 products locally that provide great flavor for a variety of fish and game dishes. Check Joe’s Jerky on Route 5 in Sherrill for great jerky, a variety of other foods and rubs and marinades that are great with venison. Consider gift baskets with excellent New York State wines, cheese, maple syrup or similar food items.
These ideas only scratch the surface but they are designed to make you think that there is a great variety of gifts for every budget. Help make it a special holiday season for everyone and do not lose sight of the real meaning of the holidays.
Make Your Opinions Known: There is still time to make comments on the Open Space Plan or the Adirondack Railroad. Among the Open Space Plans is a possibility to create a park from part of the former Seneca Army Depot to preserve military history and save the Seneca White Deer. Send comments to Open Space Conservation Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233. E-mail comments to Deadline is Dec. 17.
The Adirondack Railway Plan for operating railroad from Utica to Lake Placid would give tourists views of beautiful backcountry and provide access for sportsmen for camping, canoeing, fishing, hunting, etc. in remote areas. Indicate your support for the Adirondack Railroad operating all the way to Lake Placid by sending an e-mail to: by Dec. 15.


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