Too hot to handle
New York could use a hard frost, and soon. It’s been an extremely warm autumn thus far, with temperatures running 10 or 15 degrees higher than average. Even where I reside in the Southeastern Adirondacks, we’re just on the tail end of a two-week run where temperatures have been in the 70s during the day. There’s a bit of a cool-down in the forecast, but it’s not significant.
Deer hunting has been tough. Since the early archery season opened in late September, and on through the Columbus Day youth hunting weekend, deer just haven’t been moving. They’ve got their winter coats on, don’t have to travel far for food or water, and thus are sitting tight during the day and mostly moving at night.
I mentored a young hunter one morning during the youth hunt and after a few hours of sitting with no action we opted to do some scouting and still-hunting. I wanted to set up a few small pushes to my mentee, but couldn’t find anyone to participate, and sweat their tails off in the process.
Our quarry, meanwhile, has bigger problems due to the warm weather. As we’ll be reporting in the Oct. 29 issue of New York Outdoor News, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is plaguing whitetails beyond southeastern New York, making its way west and north, even up into the St. Lawrence Valley. Vermont, too, is seeing an outbreak in EHD cases as far north as Rutland County, in the vicinity of New York’s Champlain Valley.
The only cure, and it’s not in sight, is a frost, particularly a hard one. Last year’s EDH outbreak didn’t quell until around Halloween when some cold weather finally arrived, bringing snow to the Adirondacks and frost to the rest of New York, ending the EHD outbreak by killing the midges that carry it and pass it on to defenseless deer.
As for hunting in the heat, it’s never been something this writer has enjoyed. Here in the Northern Zone we are on the eve of the early muzzleloading season. Our crew typically gets together and makes a few deer drives. But sweating profusely while running up and down mountains doesn’t sound all that appealing right now.
Some crisp, fall air sure would be welcome, and we may be seeing more sixties than seventies in parts of the state in the coming week. But for the time being the only thing that might be crisp, is the dry, warm leaves that crunch under foot as we make our way through the woods. Something’s gotta give!