Northern Zoners hope for early snow cover

Ray Brook, N.Y. – Northern Zone deer hunters may get just what
they want in the first week of the firearms season – snow.

Portions of the Adirondacks, notably the higher elevations, were
expected to receive at least some snow Oct. 21-22, providing the
conditions that bring scores of hunters into the woods with the
hope of cutting a buck track.

The opening weekend of the Northern Zone firearms (Oct. 18-19)
was reportedly a good one, DEC officials indicated.

“The weather was good; it was a little crunchy out
there,”_DEC_Region 5 wildlife biologist Ed Reed said of the opening
weekend conditions – cool and dry. “But it looks pretty good. There
were quite a few deer taken, and some nice ones were seen during
our meat locker checks.”

Unlike the Southern Zone firearms opener where virtually all
deer hunters head afield and much of the total take occurs on
Opening Day, the Northern Zone season typically starts out
slow.

“The real action starts later in November,”_Reed said, noting
that whitetail rutting activity continues to build during the
Northern Zone season, which ends Dec. 7.

Snow plays a major factor in bringing out hunters who favor the
tracking opportunities offered by the white stuff, and hunters were
expected to have snow in at least portions of the Northern Zone
early in the season.

“It’s a long season,” said Richard Chapman of Chapman’s Sports
in Hammond (St. Lawrence County). “But there were lots of people
out hunting on the opening weekend, and there were definitely some
deer killed. I haven’t talked to a lot of people but we haven’t
heard of anything big yet.”

DEC_Region 6 wildlife biologist Jim Farquhar said the opening
weekend of the firearms season showed a “pretty strong” take.

“Pretty comparable to last year, which was up from some of the
slower seasons we had a few years ago,”_Farquhar said. “I spoke
with a couple of Lewis County processors who do a pretty high
volume of deer, and they said the muzzleloader take was off a bit,
but deer were coming in after the opening weekend of the firearms
season and they were back on track.”

Farquhar said indications are a week of warm weather kept deer
movement to a minimum and led to what will likely total out to a
lower harvest during the weeklong muzzleloader season.

The best news on the opening weekend was no news at all: early
indications were that no hunting accidents occurred, although a
Warren County hunter on Oct. 22 accidentally shot himself in the
foot with his .270 rifle while hunting in Johnsburg.

Northern Zone deer hunters last year took 31,797 whitetails,
including 19,498 bucks. Of that number, 15,186 bucks were harvested
during the firearms season. The rest were killed during the popular
weeklong muzzleloader season which precedes the firearms opener,
the archery season, and on Deer Management Assistance Program and
Deer Management Permits.

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