With the exception of the bowhunting-only areas in Westchester and Suffolk counties, the deer hunting season in New York state has ended.
For me, in spite of not launching an arrow or pulling the trigger on my .308 Savage while aimed at a whitetail, it was a good season. I had several chances and opted to wait — my choice — but no venison. I enjoyed myself every time I walked into the deer woods, especially with a good friend each afternoon in a new place to hunt in Saratoga County. Wait ’till next year!
Let’s take a look at some hunter successes I recently received for my final Buck Tales of 2012.
Last April at the New York State 4-H Shooting Sports annual banquet, Carlton Stephens of Ballston Spa won a .270-caliber Savage Model 110 in the gun auction. It did its job this year in southern Owego County. Carlton was sitting in his tree stand when he saw the buck coming through the hemlocks, following a doe. At 30 yards, the buck offered a good shot, and the Savage dropped the eight-pointer where it stood.
But that wasn’t the only deer to go down on that property this year. Carlton’s son, Craig of Long Island, shot a doe from a ground blind on opening day with a .308, and that same day, John Carlton of Owego shot a six-pointer with his Thompson Center Pro Hunter .50-caliber muzzleloader while on watch.
Canajoharie hunter Bruce Caska has been hunting since the bow season opened in October without any luck, but apparently, the new Thompson Center .50-caliber muzzleloader he purchased from Gary Shineman at Lock, Stock and Barrel in Palatine Bridge did the trick. Late one afternoon, the day before the end of the Southern Zone muzzleloading season, Bruce hurried out to his ground blind near his home to hunt. On his way, he spooked two does and wasn’t confident he would see anything more. Just before quitting time, he saw a large-bodied deer making its way toward him. “Something must have spooked him,” he said because the buck ran up the hill and right into Bruce’s .50-caliber bullet. The big eight-pointer dressed out at 194 pounds. Earlier in the season, Ted Caska, Bruce’s son, bagged a nice seven-pointer in the same area.
After six seasons of hunting with his father and uncle, Daniel MacCracken of Glenville finally scored, and it was a good score, downing an eight-pointer that dressed at 145 pounds. Nicholas MacCracken, his cousin, actually saw the buck moving toward Dan and texted him to let him know the deer was coming his way. Thirteen days later, in the same Saratoga County deer woods, Nicholas shot an eight-pointer that dressed at 190 pounds. Neither dad scored, but both were very happy for their sons.
If anyone tells you Adirondack whitetail bucks aren’t what they use to be, suggest they check out Dan Ladd’s www.adkhunter.com website. Here’s some info on just a few trophy bucks you’ll find there, and wait until you see the photos.
Let’s begin with Alan Brown, who hunted in Hamilton County near his house and took an early muzzleloading season 10-pointer that dressed out at 242 pounds and green-scored 147 inches. That’s a lot of bone! Then there’s the 10-pointer taken by 15-year-old Andrew Caron of Franklin County that carried a 24.5-inch spread. His dad, Randy, took a big eight-pointer the same day. Corinth hunter Jarrett DuMoulin took a 180-pound, nine-pointer in the Lake George area, and Jeff Czajkowski of Saratoga Springs took a 145-pound, 10-pointer in the Saratoga Springs area. Lindsey and Harry Ziegler of Ft. Ann took a six- and an eight-pointer, respectively, in Saratoga County.
Another lady with a gun, Chantal Couture of Wilton, was one of three watchers in the Warren County deer woods sitting against the same tree where Dan Ladd had killed a nice buck a decade ago, and history repeated itself. Ten years later, a big eight-pointer with a 17-inch spread came by, and she took him with her muzzleloader.
GOOD KNIFE STORY
Two years ago, I gave Tim Guy, who lives in Glens Falls and is director of Allegany County’s Good Guys Hunting Club, a Frost Cutlery H&R original folding knife for hunting. He didn’t use it until this year, but this deer season, it got a lot of use. Apparently, he became the chief “deer field dresser,” because he actually dressed out 32 of the 42 deer taken from this 5,000-plus-acre area.
He told me that after the 30th deer, he lost the knife and for the next three days, there were no deer shot, but that evening, the knife was found and the next day, two club members shot deer, that Tim and the Frost knife dressed. The knife is now a club legend, and its work isn’t over.
I only hope that next year, a few of the deer it dresses will be mine. (www.frostcutlery.com).