Another Adirondack deer season comes to a close
December 12 was my final day of hunting in New York’s Northern Zone. It was the last day of the late muzzleloading season, one of my favorites, and I spent part of it in the mountains with a few guys making small, slow drives to close out the season.
Unfortunately, I wound up getting sick that morning, thanks to a reaction to gluten (I have celiac disease) which put a damper on things and summed up, to a degree, how this year’s hunting season went. I can’t say it was a bad season. I tagged a fine 8-point Adirondack buck, saw two others in the course of the season and passed on a few antlerless opportunities, which in hindsight, I perhaps should’ve taken for my freezer’s sake.
Still, after nearly three months of hunting – dating back to the Sept. 27. Archery opener – it was sad to see it end and I feel like I left something in the woods.
This season started on a low note, for sure. My cousin Ed, who had been a big part of our hunting group – The Iron Sight Gang – was killed in a motocross accident over the summer. Those warm, early days in a tree stand during the archery season were full of reflection and wondering what the heart of our season would be like when we started roaming the mountains where we make deer drives.
COVID also threw a curve at us as a handful of our crew – some vaccinated, some not – came in contact with the virus and had to miss some of the best hunting of the season during the heart of the rut. So, our weekend hunting parties were different, like a football team with injuries.
Then there was the conditions. We were hunting in shirtsleeves for much of the early part of the season and experienced plenty of wet weather. Twice, we got soaked trying to hunt. On top of that, one of our areas got hit hard by this year’s gypsy moth infestation, which I believe hampered acorn production on the oak trees there.
Other than my buck and another we killed in the early part of the Northern Zone season, we were not seeing a lot deer, but things did improve later in the season when it finally turned colder. However, another issue we dealt with were misses and mishaps: firearms issues, muzzleloading caps not firing; it all happened to us this year. So in the end we can’t say we didn’t have our chances, we just didn’t make the most of them. However, we did close on a high note when one of our veteran hunters, Mike, shot a 7-pointer (see photo) with his grandson Max present on the season’s final day. That was pretty cool!
But again, as the season recently wrapped up I couldn’t help but feel like there was more to do and that things were just getting started. But, that’s deer hunting and you have to take the ebbs and flows it delivers. Who knows, maybe I’ll get out with the smoke-pole during the late Southern Zone season. Until then!