Dan Ladd

Of mud and maple sap: rites of spring

For the year-round outdoorsman, there are two times of the year that can be the toughest to get through: the holiday season, and the first few weeks of spring. At year’s end, once deer season is over, it’s often hurry up and wait for the snow to fall and/or the ice to thicken so we can move on to the…

Wild moose chase: Taking a census from the air

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently issued a press release announcing that mid-winter aerial surveys of the Adirondack moose population had been completed. But there was still some work to be done as DEC biologists wanted to get a better peek this winter at the number of moose calves, especially in relation to a handful of cow…

First steps in woodlands management

I consider myself very fortunate to be a property owner. Twenty-two acres might not seem like much to some, but it is a world of its own to others. For me, it is a place I’ve trampled nearly my entire life and part of a bigger piece of ground that has been in the family since the 19th Century. The…

Always sad to see deer season end

Some hunters are ready for deer season to end, but I’m seldom one of them. Especially this year, when the weather interrupted numerous hunting plans. It was a crazy deer season where the weather was concerned, starting from the beginning. I hunt primarily in the Northern Zone, and our early archery and muzzleloading seasons featured plenty of rainy days, including…

In praise of small game hunting

I remember my first days of small game hunting like it was yesterday. Being born in mid-November, I had to wait until my 14th birthday, which was the minimum hunting age at the time, before I could buy my first hunting license. It was a Friday and we had a half-day at school, and afterward, my older brother Tim and…

Don’t put away those fishing rods

The meteorological summer is over, and the autumnal equinox lies ahead. That means the average sportsman is likely preparing for hunting season, or perhaps even enjoying some early-season goose or gray squirrel hunting and anticipating the opening a number of other seasons (bear, grouse, archery deer, waterfowl and turkeys) in the weeks ahead. Versatile sportsmen, meaning those who hunt, fish…

Practice now for upcoming deer season

I can’t tell you how many deer hunters I know who never touch their deer rifles, or any firearm for that matter, until just prior to deer season. For many it doesn’t seem to be a big deal, but for others it can be the difference between a hit and a miss. I’m actually surprised you don’t hear about more…

Sportsmen estate planning: accepting the inevitable

It’s been a tough summer in terms of losing friends and family. We in New York’s outdoor writing (and reading) community continue to mourn the losses of our friends and colleagues Will Elliott and Ron Kolodziej, who both recently passed. And the passings of a family member as well as the friend of a friend have taught me a lesson…

Safety first during summer boating season

There are more boats – big and small – on the water these days than ever, and owners of all types need to learn to co-exist. The smaller boat always has the right-of-way, and motor-boaters need to keep an eye out for paddlers and fishermen.It’s mid-summer and boating in vessels of all sizes is at its zenith. As someone who…

A different kind of bear season

Bears quickly learn how to acquire food, and in some cases that means intimidating humans or even destroying property, including vehicles.The early black bear hunting seasons in New York are still a couple months away. However, summer ushers in a bear season of its own, where it’s the bears that are doing the hunting – for food. This can be…

Going back to your turkey-hunting roots: longbeards in the big woods

Every turkey hunter dreams of a textbook spring gobbler hunt. And when they do occasionally happen (for some it’s more occasional than others) we’re on top of the world. When you pull one off on a woodland or a mountain gobbler, it’s even more rewarding. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about hunting timberland gobblers, and the often-advised technique is…