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Hunting the far side | Notes from the North Woods

Hunting the far side

Recently, while driving through the Wilmington Notch, I noticed a couple of guys wading across the Trophy Trout section of the West Branch of the Ausable River.

It seemed unusual to anyone on the river without a flyrod in hand, especially when considering that stretch of river remains open to fishing all year round.

I got a closer look as they reached the far bank and I realized they were carrying rifles.

Obviously, the hunters were headed off to hunt the other side of the river, which surprisingly is not so commonly practiced in a region laced with with a multitude of lake, rivers, streams and ponds.

They were wading over to the far side of the river to hunt their own deer, to where most others don’t bother to go. It’s likely they enjoyed a wide swath of territory that is lightly hunted and the deer aren’t pressured.

The advantages are significant. With fewer hunters there is less pressure, and deer are likely to be less wary.

I know many hunters who use boats or canoes to access their hunting camps. It is a traditional component of the Adirondack culture, where guideboats and canoes have long provided lightweight, portable transportation, primarily on the lakes and ponds.

It makes it a whole lot easier to haul in camp supplies, and to haul out game, both of which travel more efficiently in the bottom of a boat than on on your shoulders.

It’s also easier to transport a 200-pound deer in the bottom of a boat, than it is to drag it for miles.

One the primary benefits of hunting areas that are boat access only is the distinct lack of competition. Locating such a place can be pretty simple, and it can usually be accomplished while enjoying a bit of spring trout fishing.

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

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