The Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce rolled out the red carpet for the 15 members of the New York State Outdoor Writers Safari 2019. It was good old North Country hospitality.
These springtime events are all fun -- and very little business. We all met last Thursday and stayed at Randy Garrison’s Rowe’s Adirondack Cabins.
After settling in, the fun began with all of us visiting six of the restaurants in the village to taste and judge who had the best wings. We spent 20 to 30 minutes tasting and rating their wings. We would then rate them from 1 to 4 and move on to the next restaurant. I have to admit that I was quite full when I swallowed that last wing. And frankly, I liked them all. The next day, they announced that it was a very close race and the winner was DeCesare’s Pizza. I have never had so many wings!
As usual on our breakout evening, we gather and talk hunting, fishing and hiking – no business. However, one problem for the fishing and especially the turkey hunters is that we stay up too late. We turned off our lights at midnight. As one of the turkey hunters, I was up at 3 a.m. Friday and in full camo by 3:30 and headed to meet our guides at their vehicles.
This year’s turkey hunters were Steve George of Gloversville, Steve Zahurak of Schenectady, Dan Ladd of Fort Ann and Mike Joyner of McGraw, joined by our guides Marty and Wayne Welch, both locals. I was in Steve George's truck and we followed the guides. It was still pouring. However, all hunters headed into the woods/fields except one – me. I chose to sit in the truck and wait for the rain to stop and listen to the raindrops on the roof of the comfortable and dry truck.
The rain never stopped until that afternoon. They did see a few toms but were unable to get them in range. (I was still hoping to get my Adirondack tom the next day.) As for those who fished, they did well.
That afternoon when the rain stopped, we visited the old Frontier Town. We were greeted by several DEC members, who have been working on converting the site into a state campground, equestrian campground and two-day use areas called the (Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area). It's on approximately 90 acres of land owned by the town of North Hudson and Essex County. The last and only time I visited Frontier Town I was 5 years old holding my mother’s hand.
DEC is going operate the facility according to the terms of a conservation easement. It is designed to be in harmony with the topography and natural features of the site. For a full look at the project, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/112046.html.
DAWN OF A NEW DAY
Now on Saturday morning -- with no rain -- Steven went out with Wayne, and I was with Marty. We visited several very good areas where both guides got responses to their calling but no turkeys came in. Time to look elsewhere.
We hadn’t driven too far when Marty said “There’s one” and quickly pulled the truck to the side of the road. He saw a tom in a small grass field just over a ledge that bordered a stream. Quickly Wayne and Marty directed us to several trees about 40 yards apart facing the ledge where the tom disappeared. And then the calling of our two guides began. It wasn’t too long before I saw a red head peeking over the ledge.
It wasn’t long after that he came up into the field. He was facing me and I shouldered my shotgun. I could not see if he was bearded but, when he turned, I saw it was small and lowered my gun. For the next minute or so I watched, listened and sighted in on him three times and thought “Not a big beard.”
And then I remembered what a friend of mine said: “You can’t eat the beard!"And this was my last time to get my Adirondack turkey. He saw me as I raised the gun for the fourth time and he went airborne. But he wasn’t as fast as my No. 5 pellets. I got my Adirondack tom. Thank you Wayne and Marty!
Now Steve, who was sitting off to my left, told me later that he didn’t know why I wasn’t shooting sooner. Back at the cabins, the other turkey hunters talked of seeing turkeys but not getting the opportunity to get a shot. Thus, I was the only one who had shot a turkey. It was time for a little fun, so I made sure that I asked all of my fellow writers who hunted if they needed any help on how to bag an Adirondack turkey. I cannot tell you what their responses were.
That afternoon we were invited to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park and Camp Ground in North Hudson. We were greeted by Mike Lenhard, who after feeding us took us on a tour of this camp/resort. It didn’t take me long before I knew that my wife and I would be making a trip to Yogi Bear’s park with our grandchildren. Go to www.adirondacksjellystone.com to learn more.
On behalf of the New York Outdoor Writers Association, I would like to thank the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce members for their outstanding North Country hospitality. I’ll be back!