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  • montcalm
    replied
    Originally posted by EagleCrag View Post
    A few comments. Coyotes were not native to NY. Also, many of the hunting methods employed when the Adirondacks were being explored/settled would be illegal and considered unethical today. It's my understanding that using dogs to run deer was common and they would often run the deer into lakes (Long Lake for one) where the guide and client would row or paddle up to the deer and shoot it at close range in the water. Jacklighting deer was also a common practice. I'm sure there were woodsmen that knew the woods and would track and use methods more ethical by today's standards but I suspect many of the deer on those meatpoles were taken by other means.
    Interesting - didn't know about the coyotes, but I'd assume wolves were native and the coyotes are filling part of that niche.


    I very much suspected your second comments were true and that there were not the regulations such as there are today. That doesn't mean it's fact, but I'd put in the highly likely bin.

    Also, regarding my original question, I think part of the answer is really that our deer population down south is highly inflated. I heard a number (from someone concerned with seedling regeneration) that it's about 10x what it should be in the Finger Lakes. Not 100% sure that's true, or what that's figured on. But a number of sources say this, and encourage hunting to reduce the population and help reduce deer browse.
    Last edited by montcalm; 01-06-2022, 08:51 PM.

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  • EagleCrag
    replied
    A few comments. Coyotes were not native to NY. Also, many of the hunting methods employed when the Adirondacks were being explored/settled would be illegal and considered unethical today. It's my understanding that using dogs to run deer was common and they would often run the deer into lakes (Long Lake for one) where the guide and client would row or paddle up to the deer and shoot it at close range in the water. Jacklighting deer was also a common practice. I'm sure there were woodsmen that knew the woods and would track and use methods more ethical by today's standards but I suspect many of the deer on those meatpoles were taken by other means.

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  • montcalm
    replied
    Oddly enough, 4 hours west of you, we had an epic Gypsy Moth year.

    I don't think it was a particularly good mast year for us, Gypsy moths aside - so many oaks here many didn't get bothered at all.

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  • Buckladd
    replied
    Originally posted by montcalm View Post
    Not this year. It was really weird as far as oaks were concerned, at least in our haunts. One area we hunt in northern Warren County got hit hard by gypsy moths. There were some acorns, but mostly at lower elevations and they got cleaned up fast. That, combined with the infestation gave the woods a very gray look, and little deer sign in places that are normally consistent.

    In northern Washington County, I finally found a good crop of fresh acorns around mid-November. But for some reason there was very little deer sign around them. There were buck scrapes and rubs, at that time, but you'd think you'd find droppings, beds, etc.. But very little. I found that to be strange. We only got three Northern Zone bucks this year (and missed a couple too), and we really worked for them. But, that's the ups and downs of deer hunting in a place like these mountains

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  • DSettahr
    replied
    Originally posted by montcalm View Post
    Maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong here, but just another historical bit of evidence I recall is that Verplanck Colvin burned many summits in the west/central Adirondacks for survey. Most of those summits remain bare today. From this I'd conclude they were absent of fire for more than a couple centuries, maybe millennia, prior to him razing them to have been entirely forested. When I look at the eastern part of the Adirondacks, where we know there have been a number of natural fires in the past century, we see them taking out small mountain tops, and we also see repopulation with red pine and oak, or paper birch.

    If natives were burning the western parts of the park, that aren't as prone to natural fire, it was a very small scale.

    Just some food for thought...
    This is mainly speculation: I would assume that Colvin's fires were quite probably of a higher heat/intensity than a natural fire typically would be. Since the goal was to create a summit working space with good visibility, I'd also assume that they cut down larger trees prior to starting the fire- so there'd be a lot more slash on the ground to feed the flames.

    A higher intensity fire would be much more disruptive to the soil ecosystem, which in turn would set things back a lot more in terms of overall successional dynamics.

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  • montcalm
    replied
    Where you find oaks, you'll find the deer!


    And lots of other critters too. This in the east near Schroon Lake.

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  • montcalm
    replied
    Nice, thanks Buck!

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  • Buckladd
    replied
    Originally posted by montcalm View Post
    Would you guys mind divulging some of your tactics for hunting up north?

    We make deer drives that average half to three quarters of a mile. Mostly state land with some access through private. We may have 5 hunters one day, 10 another.

    Also, do you not have doe tags up north? Or do you prefer to fill those elsewhere and just go for buck?

    We do not shoot does in the heart of our ADK haunts, there just aren't that many deer. We do shoot some closer to home during the muzzleloading and archery season, but only in areas with higher deer populations.

    Also a bit curious about getting a deer back out of wilderness. I'd assume that has some bearing on what you're willing to spend a bullet on.

    The Benoit method works good, which is a stick tied to the antlers and two guys drag with the buck's shoulders off the ground. Glenn's Deer Drag works good too.

    I've only talked to a few people who hunt on leases, and they use 4 wheelers, and have lots of logging roads to access. I'm more interested in those who are hunting the forest preserve and don't have that luxury.
    There are leases out there, they're all different. But the Forest Preserve is free, and vast!

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  • montcalm
    replied
    Maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong here, but just another historical bit of evidence I recall is that Verplanck Colvin burned many summits in the west/central Adirondacks for survey. Most of those summits remain bare today. From this I'd conclude they were absent of fire for more than a couple centuries, maybe millennia, prior to him razing them to have been entirely forested. When I look at the eastern part of the Adirondacks, where we know there have been a number of natural fires in the past century, we see them taking out small mountain tops, and we also see repopulation with red pine and oak, or paper birch.

    If natives were burning the western parts of the park, that aren't as prone to natural fire, it was a very small scale.

    Just some food for thought...
    Last edited by montcalm; 12-24-2021, 08:07 PM.

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  • montcalm
    replied
    Originally posted by mgc View Post
    The Native Americans understood the need to re-establish the forests and also what wild game relied upon for food. They regularly burned tracts of land, a practice that our current forests could also benefit from. Controlled burns are a very good forest management tool.
    I don't want to stifle this too much, because like the conversations we've had about beaver re-emergence in post-trapping era, I like to try to unravel what the heck things are "supposed" to be like without human intervention.

    Regarding natives burning the forests, that is a widely held belief but there really is almost no evidence to support it. At any rate, the forests would have burned sporadically due to lightning and drought. But I tend to guess that in the west, this was an exception rather than the rule, just because of precipitation levels. I tend to support my own hypothesis here in that red oak had not really significantly encroached into the park, even pre-European involvement. And areas of blowdown or burns that re-populated with white pine would not have been beneficial to the deer population.

    There's also the question, in my mind, as to the role more apex predators, such as lions and wolves played on the deer population prior to them being eradicated. Again, to me, this would tend toward lower, yet more robust population.

    Here's another area where I hear hunters in the south complain, and that has been the return of coyotes. Personally, I think it's a good sign, but certain individuals are hunting them to maintain their deer population. I've probably mentioned this before, but in areas of western/southern NY where I grew up, they were non-existent 25-30 years ago, but now when I'm outside at night down there I hear them almost non-stop.
    Last edited by montcalm; 12-24-2021, 11:18 AM.

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  • mgc
    replied
    The Native Americans understood the need to re-establish the forests and also what wild game relied upon for food. They regularly burned tracts of land, a practice that our current forests could also benefit from. Controlled burns are a very good forest management tool.

    Leave a comment:


  • montcalm
    replied
    So yeah, that's something I asked earlier: "more cleared land"...

    We're slowly getting to the real question. So if inflated deer population was an artifact of logging (and homesteading in a lesser sense), were there less deer per sq. mile in the region pre-European settlement, similar to what we see today?


    I kind of knew some answers to these questions as I've heard people who hunt up north complain about deer density, especially compared to the rest of the state. And I've heard them blame the "forest preserve". But really, aren't we reverting back to a more primitive population?

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  • St.Regis
    replied
    Forests weren't preserved. They were cut. And cutting the woods created good browse. And deer rely on browse....There isn't much browse in a lot of the mature forest preserve woods, at least not enough to sustain a lot of deer. Higher deer numbers are in the periphery, ag land/open areas, and places that are still logged.

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  • montcalm
    replied
    Thanks bob and mgc - great info.

    "Meatpole" - ha, I knew there was a term for those.

    Any idea why the population changed so much? I had another guess that maybe Beech Bark disease had some impact on that, but it seems there is still plenty of nut bearing Beech to support wildlife.

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  • bobadkhunter
    replied
    Montcalm, those old time Adk. pics you speak of with meatpoles full of bucks(such as the pics/stories in Robert J. Elinskas authored books) were during a time when Adk. deer population was significantly higher. Now with the approx. 1 deer per square mile pop., a hunter normally does not see alot of deer numbers wise throughout a deer season. I saw 10 while hunting(about 5 while sitting and 5 while still hunting) this past season, with these numbers a little higher than normal for myself. But with most Adk. deer hunters its not about the number of deer you see(sure its nice to see lots), its the adventure, seeing unexpected things(i could really go off on a tangent here with the unexpected), and that possibility of seeing and getting a chance at a real nice buck.

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