Hunting is a way of life for many Adirondackers, and some spend their whole year gearing up for hunting season. Adrenaline and nervousness stream through their blood as the sun rises on opening day. Anticipation and excitement creep in. The whole year has led to this; the moment to finally get outdoors for a chance at the “big one." The vast Adirondack wilderness is comprised of millions of acres of land, brimming with plentiful wildlife and all of the opportunity a hunter has been waiting for.
Finding the perfect spot
At first, the Adirondack woods may feel overwhelmingly vast and endless. Millions of acres of dense forest and mountains make up the Adirondacks, and in some places the terrain can be difficult to maneuver. Choosing the ideal location is key to a successful hunt, so where should you go? The Adirondack Hub is filled with land ideal for hunting, and places like Boreas Pond Tract, Pharaoh Wilderness, and Hammond Pond Wilderness offer a wide range of options for hunting on state land. However, given the fact that it is state land, you must be careful of your surroundings, and mindful of other people who are out hunting. If you aren't familiar with the area and are in need of information to help you find your perfect hunting location, try downloading a hunting app such as OnX Hunt that provides information on public/private land, boundaries and maps, and landowner names.
If this is your first time hunting in the Adirondacks, don't be alarmed. The Adirondacks can be intimidating - consider hiring a guide! LaBar Guide Services out of Minerva offers many options to help make your hunting experience in the Adirondacks perfect. They are here to show you first hand the best do's and dont's of hunting in the Adirondacks. They will help you navigate and track deer and provide you with a vast knowledge of the land and its inhabitants - which in turn can increase your chances of your prize deer. You'll want to be well prepared as the ratio of land to deer is rather large, and you may have to put in a lot of work and travel a lot of miles if you want to be successful.
“I do not hunt for the joy of killing but for the joy of living, and the inexpressible pleasure of mingling my life however briefly, with that of a wild creature that I respect, admire and value.”- John Madson
Safety and Respect
WEAR ORANGE! When it comes to hunting safely wearing orange is the best option, whether it's a vest or even just a hat. Deer do not perceive colors the same way we do, so wearing orange looks muted to them and bright to other hunters. People often think wearing camouflage from head to toe is ideal for blending in, however when hunting on state land where other people are surely to be, wearing bright orange will help ensure your safety. Respect toward other hunters, the wilderness and wildlife is much appreciated by all, especially after waiting all year for the opportunity to get out in the woods!
Plan for Change
The universal suggestion for all hunters is to anticipate change. Success often depends on a hunter's ability to make adaptations and adjustments where necessary. In the Adirondacks there are 9 weeks of hunting; archery, muzzleloader, and rifle/regular firearm seasons. Each comes with different strategies. Hunting at the beginning of the season is drastically different than hunting towards the season's end. Be prepared to adapt and overcome! Early in the hunting season, deer are still moving and traveling, preparing for winter. Later during the season, the deer are slowing down and beginning to settle for the winter. Plan around the cold weather; the colder the better.
Often times there is no "right way" to hunt that will guarantee a successful outing. It's important to remember that your hunting skills and abilities will need to adapt to whatever the day brings. It's also important to remember to enjoy the hunt with friends and family, as these memories of being out in the woods will stay with you for the rest of your life. Prepare to set realistic expectations, the Adirondacks offers one of the most difficult areas to hunt in and yet poses a great challenge for hunters making the hunt all the more exciting. However, don't expect to come in right away and bag an amazing 8 to 10 point deer.
Now we can't sit here and give away all of the secrets on where to find the best hunt or harvest the biggest deer, that would be too easy and certainly not as fun. For that you're going to have to get down and dirty and find that perfect area and put the work in for yourself.
Wishing you an enjoyable and safe hunt in the Adirondack Hub!