Visitors from overseas, including these hikers from Germany, are often surprised by the vast expanse of land encompassed within the Adirondack Park.
Hunters must be respected, and respectful, since public lands are very limited. In fact, most hunters lease the lands they hunt, and typically, they function as game managers. In fact, if a parcel is less than 150 acres, a landowner who wants the right to hunt there, must compete with other hunters in bidding process.
Leases can cost upwards of $10,000 per year, for about 500 acres, and they require hunters to provide a game management plan, which is reviewed and approved by local officials. If the hunter does a good job of managing the land and the wildlife, the lease is usually extended.
My guests explained that German hunters are expected to memorize a wide array of game laws. They must be able to identify nearly every species of animal in the forest, as well as its sex and age.
Shooting skills must be precise, and they must also know how to develop appropriate wildlife management plans. German hunters are also required to practice elaborate hunting traditions, such as singing the proper song to honor the death of a prized stag, or offering a prayer to St. Hubert.
After explaining the intricate process of becoming a hunter in Germany, my guests were surprised to learn that St. Hubert is also honored in the states.
St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters. He is also considered the patron saint for archers, forest workers, furriers and trappers, hunters and huntsmen as well as hunting as a profession.
He is commonly mentioned in the Adirondacks, and his name adorns churches from Tahawus to Keene Valley to Raquette Lake and beyond.
Saint Hubert, also know as the "Apostle of the Ardennes" was born in was born in 635 and died in 727.
According to legend, he was a renowned hunter and an accomplished poacher, who eventually repented his unsportsmanlike-like ways after observing a crucifix glowing between the antlers of a stag.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.