It is only fitting I begin this year’s Buck Tales with a story about an Adirondack Mountain deer hunt.
It begins with Jim Bubb of Mechanicville joining several of his hunting buddies for their traditional Northern Zone opening deer hunt in the Forked Lake area of Hamilton County. Jim’s day began very early, paddling a canoe across the lake to reach the base of the mountain he planned to hunt. It was an area he’d hunted before and where knew he had a chance of getting a big buck.
He headed up and over one of the mountains in the wet, windy snow, and at about 11 a.m. reached an area with fresh tracks and scrapes and began his sneak-and-peek adventure. He hadn’t gone far when he got a quick glimpse of a deer when it jumped up, but he saw enough of it to know it was the one he was after.
After several hours of tracking, Jim thought he knew where the buck was headed and decided to cross over the creek and circle around and try to get in front of it, which he did. What he didn’t see was the buck lying down about 40 yards from him until it jumped up. He missed with the first shot, but the second round from his 30.06 was on target.
I’m sure when that buck went down, there was a very big smile on this face, and his “Yes” echoed all over the mountain when he stood over this huge eight-pointer. But now the hard part — he was at least three miles from the canoe.
He radioed his friends and told them he had taken a buck and would be on his way back. It was after 2 p.m. before he finished dressing out the deer and started the long drag back. He knew the shortest way out was to follow the creek, but he thought about the heavy brush he had to encounter.
When he looked at his GPS at about 5 p.m., he realized he was still several miles from the canoe. It was then that he decided to lessen the weight, de-boned the deer and very carefully caped it, because this buck was going to be mounted. Now, with over 100 pounds in his backpack, his rifle and flashlight in one hand and the head and cape in the other, he started out again.
It was dark by then and radio contact with his friends became very spotty, and it was then that his friends notified the rangers. Not long after, rangers finally made some spotty radio contact with Jim. They continued to try to get better radio contact and were about to start a search when Jim reached the trail and was able to tell them he was fine and on his way out.
I don’t know how many stops to rest Jim made, but I’m sure when he reached the canoe and rangers sometime after midnight, they looked very good to him.
Back at the camp, the measuring tape came out and his big eight-pointer raw scored at 134.25 inches, which included four inches around the bases of the antlers and a 21.25 inch inside spread. It weighed well over 200 pounds. Congratulations, Jim. If you want to see photos of Jim’s deer go to http://fishguydblog.blogspot.com/
The guys at Camp No Buck in Indian Lake also downed a big buck last weekend in the Adirondack deer woods. Art Thivierge of Schuylerville was one of the drivers when a buck was jumped by another
driver, pushing it right to Art. One shot at 50 yards with his .270 ended the hunt and rewarded him with a 200-plus-pound 10-pointer.
Fourteen-year-old Lewis Zalar and his dad, Dominick, of Stillwater were hunting in Saratoga County Columbus Day weekend, just a few days after the young hunter had successfully completed his New York state 4H Shooting Sports Hunter Safety Program. On the first day, he saw, but could not get a shot at, a nice six-pointer. He saw it again the second day and tried to cut it off, but again the buck eluded him, and while dad was watching for the six-pointer, Lewis saw a spike horn and yelled: “Dad, look at this one,” and dad laughingly
responded, “Shoot him.” And that’s exactly what he did, taking him down with just one shot from his Ruger American 7mm08 rifle. Congratulations, Lewis.
First bucks are always special, especially when taken with a bow, and it’s even more special when a dad gets a chance to be with the hunter when he does it.
Fifteen-year-old Nick DeGraff of Glenville was hunting with his dad, Doug, on a small, secluded parcel of woods in Schenectady County where they had several blinds set up. Nick was the first to see the deer, a four-pointer feeding its way down the wood line on the opposite side of the field. Light was fading fast, something spooked the buck and it headed across the field right toward the young hunter. At 36 yards, the buck turned broadside and Nick watched his arrow pierce the deer, which disappeared into the woods.
According to Doug, both he and his son experienced quite a breathtaking adrenaline rush with the hit, and another when they recovered the buck about 50 yards away. Congratulations, Nick.
In answer to several questions I received about adults accompanying 14- to 15-year-olds deer hunting, you must be close enough to talk without the aid of phone or radio, and need to be able to see each other at all times. Also, junior hunters must stay on the ground and cannot use an elevated tree stand.
You can find the entire Junior Hunter mentoring program regulations on pages 38 and 39 of the “New York Hunting & Trapping 2013-14 Official Guide to Laws
Readers of deer hunting magazines know the state of Ohio will always be in there somewhere
because it produces big bucks, and four of our local hunters will attest to that.
Recently, Dave Allen of Mayfield, George Albert of Rotterdam, Bob Lawrence Sr. of Wilton and Bob Lawrence Jr. Granville drove nine hours to Brushy Forks Outfitters in Newark, Ohio, for an early whitetail bowhunt. On arrival, their two guides, Brian Dawes and Zack Lemon, told them they’d been watching two big bucks for weeks, which I’m sure got their adrenaline boiling.
I know George’s was pumping because while the others rested from the ride, he went hunting. Two hours after he climbed into his tree stand, he arrowed an 11-pointer that tipped the scales at 240 pounds and scored 152.6 inches.
The very next morning, Dave Allen was only in his stand for 90 minutes when he shot a 10-pointer that scored 153 inches and weighed 240 pounds. Both of these bucks will make the Pope & Young Club’s record book, which is a national registry of bowhunters’ trophies.
This sounds like a place I’ll have to check out for testing my crossbow. You can see for yourself at www.brushyforkoutfitterscom.
If you’re a shooter and/or hunter, I don’t have to tell you buying ammunition is very difficult, and has been for the past several years.
I don’t know exactly why, but I do know there has been hoarding and great demands on the ammunition manufacturers. I’m sure politics is involved, but I don’t feel qualified enough to go there. I also know the biggest shortages are in .22 and 9mm calibers, and that many of the big ammo manufacturers are working 24/7 trying to keep up with the demand.
The cost of ammunition, however, is definitely getting out of hand. I looked at ammo cost on Gunbroker.com and found .22 ammo going for 10 cents a round, 9mm for 35 cents a round and someone was selling 500 rounds of .223 Hornady ammo for $1 a round. Doesn’t sound like there’ll be a lot of plinking anymore.
However, it could get worse. Recently, the Doe Run Company in Haeculaneum, Mo., a primary and only lead smelter company in the U.S. announced it will cease operations Dec. 31.
The closure was based on EPA requirements that would cost the company $65 million to correct. I believe their closure will also have an effect on our ammunition shortage. The lead bullion this company produces is sold to lead product producers, which include ammunition manufacturers of components such as projectiles.
So when they close, where will the country get lead? The U.S. used to be number three in lead production. Will we now have to rely on China and Australia, who are one-two? Do we really want to rely on them for our “bullets?”