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The sporting season begins

Notes from the North Woods

The annual autumn migration that is responsible for taking young men, old men and increasingly, a large number of women into the deep woods of the Adirondacks is set to begin soon with the launch of the early bear season on Sept. 15. Following soon after this date is the early archery hunting season for whitetail deer, which begins on Sept. 27 for hunters using last season’s bow tags.

This mix of hunting seasons is soon to be followed by the muzzleloading season for whitetails which begins on Oct. 13, a week prior to the regular big game season which opens Oct. 20.

For bird hunters the ruffed grouse season begins on Sept. 20, followed by the pheasant season on Oct. 1, which follows the annual youth pheasant hunt scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 29-30. Crow season also begins on Oct. 1, as well as the woodcock season. Woodcock hunters must register with NYHIP at 1-888-427-5447.

For information on waterfowl seasons, including ducks and geese, please visit the NYSDEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife.

Those seeking smaller game such as squirrels have already been at it since the season began on Sept. 1. The coyote season begins on Oct. 1, about a month before the bobcat season begins on Oct. 25 and prior to weasel, skunk, opossum, fox and raccoon season kicks off on Nov. 1.

Tossed into the annual mix of hunting opportunities is the fall turkey season, which runs from Oct. 1-19.

Adirondack hunting in season

Hunters had been traveling to the Adirondack region for millenniums, prior to the arrival of Europeans on this continent. However, due to overhunting and improper game management, the region was once nearly devoid of certain game species at a crucial point in its history.

Shortly before the turn of the 20th century, species such as black bear, beaver, wolf, cougar and even whitetail deer were nearly extirpated from the Adirondacks, as a result of hunting practices that included hounding, jacklighting, bounty hunting, crusting and trapping.

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

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