Tuesday, February 7th, 2023
Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

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Will the late season be great this year?

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To complain about the Northern Zone deer season this year, mainly in the Adirondacks, would be absurd as overall our group – the Iron Sight Gang – has a had a pretty good season. We started off on the right foot, taking a pair of decent bucks opening weekend and a few smaller ones since. Although as of this writing I haven’t punched my tag, I’ve enjoyed some fresh venison and there’s a few pounds in the freezer.

But as mentioned in the previous blog, this has been an unusual season, mainly because the entire first half featured unseasonal above-average temperatures. Because of that, one can’t help but wonder how this affected rutting activity, at least in northern New York where this type of weather is less common.

Our group has observed very little rutting activity this year, both in areas where we had success earlier in the season and others as well. We’re hearing similar reports from other hunters. Rubs and scrapes during early and mid-November seemed to be far less frequent than what we’re used to. There are places where every year I can count on finding plenty of rubs especially, but not this year for whatever reason.

On top of that, we’re just not seeing any bucks, yet are running into plenty of does. Granted, we took a few bucks out of the herd, but we’ve seen that type of scenario play out before. Generally, during the later part of the Northern Zone deer season – barring winter conditions, especially deep snow – if we’ve got does hanging around then keeping tabs on them eventually finds a buck in the mix, often a mature one. Adirondack bucks are known to wander but none have been wandering in to rendezvous with the ladies in our hunting areas thus far. It could still happen – and often has in the past – but time is starting to run out.

Despite the recent lack of success it’s been an enjoyable deer season spent with friends and family and we’re grateful for the successful hunts and the places where we’ve had them. It has gone by all too fast.

With that, I’m wondering if (hoping) a secondary rut is in the works. As of this writing, we’ve got one more weekend in the Northern Zone before the rifle season closes on Dec. 4. After that, there’s a week-long late muzzleloading season in all but the interior of the Adirondacks and Tug Hill regions that has been productive in the past. I look forward to finding out if that will be the case this year.

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