The Sportsman's Holy Days of Autumn

Long before the arrival of Thanksgiving in late November, sportsmen and women of the North Country will offer thanks, as autumn ushers in the high holy days of outdoor recreation.

Recent weather is increasingly turning Fall-like. The first frost has already browned the ferns as spotty patches of autumn colors appear along lakes shores and river banks. The hills arent painted red yet, but it wont be long now.

Within a week, children will gather along the roadsides awaiting a bus that promises to collect and deposit them at school. This single event will signal the official end of the summer season in most households. School children carrying great packs, loaded with books, always serves as a reminder to order a few extra cords of wood.

Although summer doesnt technically end until Sept. 23, the cooler weather, brilliant fall colors and diminishing tourist traffic provides evidence that the season is fading. The changing of the season is readily apparent to most Adirondackers. Daily, the morning fog grows thicker over area lakes as silky ribbons of white snake through the valleys to highlight the course of rivers and streams.

The intermittent din of geese honking is commonly overhead as Flying Vs wing their way south. Blasts of cold, morning air serve as a harbinger of the cooler weather soon to follow.

Highways are noticeably less congested and the sidewalks are tread once again, by mostly familiar faces. Adirondack woods and waters are again primarily the domain of locals. The will remain that way until the crowds reappear on Columbus Day weekend.

As the waters cool, fish will start feeding again. Birds will be of major interest, as the hunting seasons will open for geese. Soon after, seasons for pheasant, ruffed grouse and woodcock will follow in kind.

Bow hunters now begin their daily ritual of practicing and bird dogs will itch for the chance to go afield. Tree stands will be placed in likely locations and game cameras will sprout from trees like oddly misshaped shelf brackens. All indications are that Fall is approaching sooner than later and for the outdoorsman this can lead to a season of true indecision. Early bow season opens on Sept. 27, for those possessing last years unfilled tag. Regular bow season for whitetails opens on Oct. 1.

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