Outdoor writers go on safari at Schroon Lake
As a native to New York’s Adirondacks, I often find myself being a stout promoter of the region. Therefore I was happy to play a role in bringing a bunch of outdoor media types to the Schroon Lake region for some turkey hunting, fishing and just plain fun.
The Schroon Lake area served as a perfect setting for the recently held New York State Outdoor Writers Association’s annual Spring Safari. This typically is a gathering of one or two dozen scribes and others connected to the outdoor industry where we sample the outdoor offerings – in this case, chicken wings – of the host region, and spend a little time mingling amongst ourselves. They are always a good time.
As a co-organizer of this event, I really expected fishing to be at the forefront. After all, there are dozens of trout ponds in the area. Some are vehicle accessible while others, such as those in the nearby Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, require some legwork. Top that off with the multi-tiered fishery that is Schroon Lake and the river that flows in and out of it, along with a number of other streams, and you get the idea. But it didn’t work out that way.
First, recent heavy rains had raised water levels beyond measure to the point where docks were not even in yet at local boat launches. Overflowing streambanks made visiting classic pools a bust. Anglers still made due, especially those who visited the trout ponds, where a few nice brown trout were netted.
What was a pleasant surprise coming into this event, as well as during it, was the turkey hunting. Randy Garrison, who owns Rowe’s Adirondack Cabins (NYSOWA’s base camp for the weekend) and is affiliated with the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce, hooked us up with uncle and nephew Marty and Wayne Welch, a couple of real turkey men.
If Marty and Wayne weren’t taking people out to their turkey haunts, they were pointing us in the right direction. One morning they helped work in a pair of gobblers, including one that went home in Ed Noonan’s truck.
Turkey hunting author and blogger Mike Joyner and I accepted their offer to challenge a big gobbler that had been proving rather deceptive. Mike, who was tagged out, wanted to do some calling so he and I spent the first morning in a blind. We heard a few gobbles, saw a few hens, and basically got wet despite the having the blind.
The following morning was a different story. We found ourselves within spitting distance of the roosted gobbler, only to have him fly down and take up with three hens. But Mike gave it his best shot for me. He fell back a ways, hoping to bring the big tom within my gun range, but it didn’t work out.
No worries. This was some of the most picturesque scenery I’ve ever turkey hunted in. Overall, we had a fabulous time in Schroon Lake where everyone made us feel welcome throughout the weekend. And I’ll have some fun trying to fill my second turkey tag.