This nice bull moose was recently discovered feeding along the banks of the Ausable River, in the late afternoon. Moose are currently paired as they approach the peak of their annual breeding. Both moose and moose calls have become a rather common occurrence across the Adirondacks in recent years.
Recent weather patterns have finally begun to exhibit a distinctly autumnal turn, the pace of life has begun to slow down, following a rather extended and tiresome, tourist season. The expected influx of leaf peppers will surely flood into the region over the next few weeks, just as the annual Big Game Hunting Season begins to unfold.
It is that time of year again, when sportsmen and women are challenged to decide what to do, as there are simply too many options with trout and salmon beginning the spawn, as whitetails and black bear are lurking in the forests and birds are migrating overhead.
It is a time that makes sportsmen and women smile as the woods begin to take on a fiery glow. It’s a time when we return to our roots and game animals become nervous.
Soon pickup trucks will again line the back roads and camo caps and buffalo plaid jackets will again be the primary fashion of the forest. Big Buck Contests will be the lottery of the day, and the question, “Didja git yur’s yet?” will serve as a common greeting, whether at church, the local Post Office or the grocery store.
Over the next few weeks, good friends will gather in old cabins to tell even older stories as part of a process of sharing a sporting tradition that spans generations. Time will slow down, darkness will come early and sleep will come easy. For outdoor enthusiasts, it simply can’t arrive soon enough.
Autumn is the time when a true freedom of the hills becomes most apparent. Although it represents but a small segment of the calendar year, the fall is a timeframe when the woods become a domain inhabited primarily by the locals. While the hikers, bikers and paddlers will still be out in force, the locals will continue to take to the woods in ever increasing numbers.
Rifles and packbaskets that have been handed down from father to son to grandson will be slung upon a new set of shoulders. These tools of the trade will travel along the well worn trails, and through the same swamps over which they have passed for generations.
Undeniably, the sporting life is the common glue that continues to bind the far netherlands of the park together. It is an undeniable heritage that links all of the user groups together in a shared passion for outdoor adventure.
Despite the park’s widely diverse interest groups, it is a common love of the land that continues to link all woodland wanderers with an historic lineage of hunters and gatherers.
We must learn to accept the fact that we share a common, predatory heredity, and despite our various woodland pursuits; we are all linked by a shared passion for the outdoor life, and the pleasures we enjoy while traveling to and through such wild lands.
It is a passion that remains at the very depths of our existence. We all carry this same genetic stew in our packs, and whether we decide to satisfy our innate craving for the hunt with a camera, a paddle or a .30-.30, Winchester, the fact remains, we remain indelibly linked by our shared love of the land.
It is interesting to note, that a common love of nature and our desire to recreate on wild lands is not just a fleeting preoccupation. Quite obviously, it has been around for over a century as is evident in the following passage taken from the Seventh Report of the Forest, Fish and Game Commission, New York, in 1902.
One hundred and ten years have passed since these words were first penned, but they ring as true today, as there were when first put to paper.
“The hills have also lost, to some extent, the health-giving qualities of the soft woods, with their fragrant germ-destroying odors, the efficacy of which in curing disease is universally admitted.
The air of this region is pure, clear, humid and at all times invigorating, forming one of the attractions and sources of pleasure to the tourist just from the heated, noisome atmosphere of an overcrowded city.
As soon as the sun lowers in the west the temperature drops, and be the day ever so hot, the evening is cool, and the atmosphere tonic. People from inland places who are suffering from insomnia, generally experience little or no trouble in obtaining refreshing sleep with its resultant health and strength.
The pursuit which takes us afield and gives us rest and exercise combined, and increases our resources by broadening our interest in nature, is not merely a pastime, but a recreation benefiting both mind and body, and better preparing us for our duties as citizens of the State.
No one would think of asserting that the value of
New York's game animals was to be reckoned in the terms of the bill-of-fare. A few thousand dollars would express their wealth to the butcher or restaurateur, but to the true sportsman they are an exhaustless mine of wealth.
A day with dog and gun, rod or rifle may bring small return from a pecuniary point of view, but who
can calculate the amount of physical good and pure enjoyment it has afforded?
Game bag and creel may, indeed, be empty, while our mind is full of stimulating experiences, all increasing our eagerness to take to the field again.
So the hunter of birds with opera glass and camera finds an even deeper pleasure in his excursions into their haunts and study of their ways; a pleasure for which no accounting of the value of birds to the State can ignore.”
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.