Heading home to the Southern Zone of New York for the Deer Archery Season
I'm really looking forward to the upcoming archery season for one simple reason: I'll be back on my home turf in the Southern Zone, where the archery season is a full-blown six or seven weeks and includes some real active whitetail time in early to even mid-November.
All I have to do now is get through this move back to the Southern Tier in one piece.
It's true: after 16 great years in the Adirondacks, we're coming home, back to farm country and the flatlands, back to some of my old deer- and turkey-hunting haunts in Tioga and Chemung counties, and my honey holes for walleye and smallmouths on the Chemung and Susquehanna rivers.
It's a move triggered primarily by Paula's hiring this spring to Trout Unlimited's national staff, a position that focuses on the Delaware River basin, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But it's also one we've been looking at for a few years now, knowing that we don't quite embrace winter up here anymore and that season starts a little early and ends a little late in the Adirondacks.
Thanks to the magic of technology, the move means very little to readers of New York Outdoor News. At some point you'll notice a different post office box and address, and a new phone number. That's about it.
Personally, the relocation means a different view outside my office window – a farm field instead of rugged forest. A different route to the post office and to Albany. Beyond that, the same two Labradors will be at my feet, the same keyboard will be pounded on daily, and the same issues and challenges facing hunters, anglers and trappers will continue to swirl.
In many respects, the move puts me in better contact with our readership base. Let's face it: it's a numbers game, and the population is greater across the Southern Tier than it is up north in the Adirondacks. So it will be easier to make the run out to western New York and down into the Catskills region and beyond. I'm already looking forward to spending a couple days at the huge sport show in Buffalo, a jaunt that's now easily handled. And the drive to Oak Orchard Creek is once again easily doable, and will be done this fall, even at the expense of missing a day or two in the deer woods. The fishery is that special on that Lake Ontario tributary.
So once the heavy lifting is done, it will be time to climb into a treestand on some of my longtime hunting spots on both sides of the New York-Pennsylvania border. I'm also looking forward to getting back in the bowhunting culture of the Southern Tier. Up north, it's essentially a two-week season, after which virtually everyone – except me – grabs a muzzleloader for that hugely popular weeklong offering.
I'll miss a lot up here. Lake Champlain. The Ausable River's West Branch, the North Branch of the Saranac, countless backcountry brook trout ponds and streams, the rugged Adirondack deer hunting challenge. And so many friends we've gained over the years.
But it's time to go home.
Don't tell the deer. Or the turkeys. Or the smallmouths. I want it to be a surprise.