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The hunt is on

Notes from the North Woods

The Regular Big Game Hunting Season has finally begun across the Adirondacks, and as sportsmen and women return to the woods, it is important to note the role that hunters hold in the region’s vast outdoor heritage.

For many, the thrill of the hunt defines their Adirondack experience. But, the success of their hunt isn’t always measured by the size of a rack or the quantity of deer harvested. Rather, a hunt is gauged by the quality of the experience, and it often entails traveling off trails where few other hunters are likely to be encountered.

It is a process that permits them to go beyond their ordinary everyday existence, and return to a quieter, deeper, and older world. It is a world of excitement and tradition, where the freedom to roam is unhindered and the tie to our ancestors is evident.

Deer hunting typically requires equal portions of pre-season prep and in-season sweat. It is a pursuit defined by numerous close calls, a high degree of patience, and occasional second-guessing.

Most Adirondack hunters have experienced the unencumbered frustration of catching just a fleeting glimpse of the ghost of the woods. It is not uncommon to see more tails than racks, in the ‘dacks.

The process of the hunt offers plenty of time for exploration, and provides equal shares of challenge, hard work, stealth, boredom, and nature study. On occasion, the hunt also provides exhilaration for about one out of every seven hunters.

Whitetail deer are quite possibly the most-hunted animals on earth. They have been pursued across North America for as long as there have been records, and likely longer.

Deer hunting it he Adirondacks region reached its zenith in the 1950’s, when the logging industry was at its peak and much of the forestlands were in the early stages of re-growth. Conditions were ideal, with plenty of browse for the deer in the cut over forests, and the woods were more open. Proportionally, there were also a lot more hunters in the woods at the time, than there are today.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

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