Temperatures of 15 degrees below, prompted a field of frost flowers to form on the surface of Moody Pond, in Saranac Lake.
In the woods
While the exact numbers have yet to be crunched, it appears the overall deer take in the Northern Zone for the recent big game hunting season, is going to be down about 10 percent from average, according to informed sources.
In the Northern Zone, the early season was rather slow, but the reported take seemed to spike around Thanksgiving, as bucks were in the heat of the rut.
Anecdotally, hunters did not report seeing a lot of bucks, but according to Bud Piserchia at North Country Taxidermy in Keene, “It was an excellent year for horns, and we had a lot of really, nice racks brought in.”
Although Ward Lumber Company reported their annual buck contest had a record number of entries, it appears that many of the other local contests were down considerably from their average.
On the ice
Following the recent deep-freeze, safe ice has finally set up on many local waters. But please, always drill a few test holes before venturing out, especially around inlets, outlets or channels where there is a known current.
As shanties begin to sprout on the local ice, anglers should be aware of New York’s current angling regulations, which also affect the “hardwater angling community.” Bait fish must be purchased from an authorized dealer, and a signed and dated receipt must be carried with the bait. These restrictions are intended to prevent the spread of invasive species such as alewives, from local waters.
An important recent revision, which was enacted in the summer of 2011, now permits anglers to utilize up to three rods at once. I’ve discovered it is difficult to troll three rods from a canoe, however on waters where ice fishing is permitted, anglers may now use three jigging rods, in addition to the usual five tip-ups, (where permitted, of course). Please note, the new “three rods regulation” does not apply for ice fishing on Lake Champlain.
The NYSDEC is asking the public to report any sightings of whitetail deer that appear to be acting sick, odd or abnormal. The department is only interested in investigating deer that appear to have died from an unknown cause. They are not looking to investigate deer that have obviously been killed by a vehicle.
The department is currently seeking information from the public following the discovery of a distressed whitetail deer in the town of Thurman, Warren County that was afflicted with an uncommon bacterial disease. Although the bacterial disease does not appear to affect humans, the DEC is seeking public input to determine the prevalence of the disease among the state’s deer herd.
The unusual bacterial affliction, which has been found in several other states, appears to disorient the animals, so that “they act kind of odd.” An affected deer may exhibit a swollen neck, head or brisket, which is often accompanied by excessive drooling, nasal discharge or respiratory distress.
Since 2002, biologists in several other states, including Georgia, Michigan and Idaho have been discovered whitetails with signs of a similar bacterial disease, which appears to cause an unusual swelling around the head, neck and muzzle.
The NYSDEC advises people not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts abnormally. Sightings of sick, dying or dead deer should be reported to the nearest DEC regional office or an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger.
Several years ago, the DEC successfully addressed a potential outbreak of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the state’s whitetail herd. Although the CWD outbreak appeared to be the result of farm raised deer, it resulted in an emergency ban that continues to prohibit the supplemental feeding of deer statewide. It remains a point of contention to this day.
Survivor, without the cash
I recently received a note from an old friend, asking if I was interested in joining a team he was assembling in order to compete in a new “made for TV” adventure race.
His offer presented some intriguing prospects, especially considering the million-dollar prize recently awarded to Willsboro’s Sophie Clarke, for capturing the “Survivor” title. Clarke was an outstanding high school athlete and is obviously, as a medical student, a bit of a brainiac.
To be honest, my recent, competitive experience has largely involved racing from a warm car, into a warm house, before the thermometer dropped a digit lower than the current,18F below. He sent me this notice, “Are You Unbreakable?”
“The producers of The Ultimate Fighter and the creators of the Spartan Death Race are seeking tough-minded, physically fit men and women to take on the ultimate adventure race for a brand new show on a major cable network.
UNBREAKABLE is a new TV series that will give a select group of competitors the chance to take on even bigger and wilder, physical and mental challenges.
It will be you, a backpack and a ticking clock! — Three days to conquer an outdoor obstacle course packed with barriers to climb at night, trenches to swim during the day and brain-teasing puzzles striking when you least expect them.
This is not your average competition show! Your only prize is the exhilaration of the race and the opportunity to show America that you are the toughest adventure racer in the country. If you win, you will have earned the right to be called “UNBREAKABLE.”
“Wait a minute,” I thought, “There's no prize money, no parades, no hoopla? The producers want me to risk my neck, life and limb simply for the right to be called “UNBREAKABLE?” As North Country folks know all too well, nearly any body part is considered breakable at 18F below. I think I’m going to pass on this one.
However, for those folks up to the challenge, the show’s producers are currently seeking tough-minded, physically fit men and women to compete in the new show, which will air on a major cable network.
There are no registration fees. To apply, email your name, location, phone number, a recent photo and a brief explanation of why you can take on the "UNBREAKABLE" challenge toUnbreakableCasting@gmail.com or call 818-478-4570 with questions.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at email@example.com.