The regular big-game season is quickly coming to an end, and I’m still wondering just how good/bad it’s been.
I’ve reported on some very big bucks, but overall, have not heard as many buck or doe tales as last season. I’ve had two encounters, one buck, one doe, and have heard distant shots every time I’ve been in the deer woods — but not as many as last year. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the Department of Environmental Conservation reports on this year’s deer harvest.
My first story this week is about a good friend, Tim Guy of Glens Falls, and his family’s three generations of deer successes, two of which were first-time deer by young hunters. Tim and I are both members and founders of the Good Guys Hunting Club in Andover, Allegany County, where we’ve had very good success, and this year was no exception. Tim has been the president of the club since its inception 10 years ago. Since I didn’t get to camp until Monday, I’m not included in their successes, however, I hope while you’re reading this, I’m hanging a big one on our deer pole.
I believe between the bow and gun seasons this year and the utilization of regular Deer Management Permits (DMP) and Deer Management Assistance Permits (DMAP) given to our land owner, our gang has harvested 17 deer to date, six or seven of which were bucks. But this year was special because several of those kids who used to accompany us to the deer woods without guns/bows are now armed and taking their own deer. What took place in Allegany County this season is a perfect “passing the tradition on story.” Here’s what the Guy family did this year at the Good Guy Club.
Tim, the old-timer of the family, took two does, one with rifle, one with a .30-06 handgun. His stepbrother, Richard, took a spike horn and two does. Tim’s daughter, Micki, a Glens Falls firefighter, shot her first deer with a bow and arrow during the October bowhunting season, then followed up with two does using dad’s .30-06 rifle. All three of the adult hunters shot their deer from tree stands.
Tim’s grandsons, who hunted on the ground, both shot their first deer. Fourteen-year-old Dante shot his doe sitting under grandpa’s tree stand as did 13-year-old William, whose doe was driven to him by grandpa. But William used a bow and arrow for his first deer.
I found a few other young guns on adkhunter.com that downed some nice bucks. Jeremy Coons of Queensbury got his first buck, a nice four-pointer, in Hogtown hunting with the Hill Club gang. I noticed in the photo Jeremy was using one of the traditional North Country guns, a Savage Model 99 lever gun.
Also from the website, Saratoga Springs’ Konnor Kirchhoff shot a big Saratoga County 11-pointer that tipped the scales at 151 pounds, and 16-year-old Tecwyn Williams of Herkimer took a backyard eight-pointer that dressed out at 135 pounds. As a reminder, if you’d like to share a photo of your buck, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A little Tink’s No. 69 Doe-In-Rut buck lure, which has been around for decades, was the choice of Phil Colarusso Jr. of Malta for attracting his buck into range. He was sitting in a tree stand in Saratoga County when a buck came in on the run, nose down following the scent. At 85 yards, one shot from his Thompson Center Encore Pro .308 rewarded him with a nine-pointer that dressed out at 171 pounds.
I’ve always wanted to hunt in Ohio, and I’m now convinced I should after talking with Jack Douglas of Galway, who showed me photos and gave me the following buck tales from his trip there. There were six hunters who made the trip for the archery season and among them, they saw more than 60 bucks and returned with five. In addition to Jack, the group included his son, Jeff, of Galway, Ed Hunter of Providence, Jim Oaks of Providence, Armand Scatena of Ballston Spa and Ken Demming of Charlton.
They shot two nine-pointers, one eight-pointer and two seven-pointers. The biggest was the eight-pointer taken by Jeff Douglas with a PSE compound that scored 138 points. There were two missed shots and a number of passed up opportunities to wait for a bigger one.
In that “let ’em go for a bigger one” category, I’m one who is questioning the decision. Hunting in Albany County for the first time with some friends, I had two does walk about 150 yards off to my right of my ground blind and down the hill out of sight. About five minutes later, I saw a deer with its head in the tall grass taking the same path. Knowing it had to be a buck following the does, I raised my rifle, but he raised his head and disappeared before I could sight in on him. I saw a rack though. I knew they were headed to the dirt road and probably into the high grass field on the other side, so I took off on an angle to where I thought they would be, but they had already crossed and were feeding about 250 yards away. It was a little too far for my 20-gauge slug gun, so it was hands and knees from there for about 150 yards. All that work, and when I put him in the scope, I decided I didn’t want a four-pointer. As of this writing, I’m “deerless,” but still trying.
Here’s an interesting coyote/buck tale that’s a bit unusual. Adam Beecroft of Schaghticoke got to shoot twice on opening day in the Southern Zone. His first shot took down a nice coyote, but not long after from the same tree stand, his second shot rewarded him with a very nice eight-pointer. Adam’s dad, Dave, showed me trail cam photos of this same buck weeks before the season opened.
That same day, Gary Elliott of Troy and Gary Fiorillo of Gloversville each filled their DMP tags, and visiting hunter Rich Storms of South Dakota, dropped a spike horn at 250 yards with a 6PPC custom rifle. All this action happened in the same deer woods opening morning.
Speaking of coyotes, my good friend, Dave Rooney of Saratoga Springs, has spent at least 60-plus hours in the northern hills of Saratoga County since the season opened and has not yet pulled the trigger on a deer, but he recently took a pretty healthy female coyote at about 70 yards. He sent me a photo of the coyote, and a conservative estimate of its weight would be in the mid-40s, at least. He shot her with a Benelli R1 .30-06.
It’s hard to believe there are just three more days of the regular big- game season in the Northern Zone, which ends Saturday, and 11 days in the Southern Zone, which ends Dec. 9, but it’s not over yet. Bowhunters and muzzleloader hunters with this year’s tags can still hunt deer. In the Northern Zone, bowhunting and muzzleloading will be allowed Dec. 3-9 in Wildlife Management Units (WMU) 5A, 5G, 5J, 6A, 6C, 6G and 6H only.
In the Southern Zone, bowhunting will be allowed Dec. 10-18 in all WMUs except 9C, which is closed. Muzzleloader hunting will be allowed in all WMUs except 3S, 4J and 8C and 9C, which are closed. And during both these seasons, a deer of either sex may be taken with the exception of those WMUs with the antler restrictions (3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S and 4W). In these WMUs, a buck must have at least one antler with three or more points at least one inch long. The exception is for youth hunters ages 12-16 who are exempt from this regulation. As a point of interest, this is the only time bow and crossbow hunters are permitted to hunt together.
There are also late-season deer hunting opportunities in Westchester and Suffolk counties. For full details of all season dates and regulations, refer to your ““New York Hunting & Trapping 2012-13 Official Guide to Laws & Regulations,”” page 25.
From all the deer hunting reports and my own experiences this season, the rut was again a bit early. Perhaps the state should consider opening the firearms season in the Southern Zone a week or so earlier.