Hunting the far side
Recently, while driving through the Wilmington Notch, I noticed a couple of guys wading across the Trophy Trout section of the West Branch of the Ausable River.
It seemed unusual to anyone on the river without a flyrod in hand, especially when considering that stretch of river remains open to fishing all year round.
I got a closer look as they reached the far bank and I realized they were carrying rifles.
Obviously, the hunters were headed off to hunt the other side of the river, which surprisingly is not so commonly practiced in a region laced with with a multitude of lake, rivers, streams and ponds.
They were wading over to the far side of the river to hunt their own deer, to where most others don’t bother to go. It’s likely they enjoyed a wide swath of territory that is lightly hunted and the deer aren’t pressured.
The advantages are significant. With fewer hunters there is less pressure, and deer are likely to be less wary.
I know many hunters who use boats or canoes to access their hunting camps. It is a traditional component of the Adirondack culture, where guideboats and canoes have long provided lightweight, portable transportation, primarily on the lakes and ponds.
It makes it a whole lot easier to haul in camp supplies, and to haul out game, both of which travel more efficiently in the bottom of a boat than on on your shoulders.
It’s also easier to transport a 200-pound deer in the bottom of a boat, than it is to drag it for miles.
One the primary benefits of hunting areas that are boat access only is the distinct lack of competition. Locating such a place can be pretty simple, and it can usually be accomplished while enjoying a bit of spring trout fishing.
The possibilities for finding a place all to yourself are seemingly endless. While there are many camps located along major rivers such as the Hudson, the Schroon, the Grasse and the Raquette; there are still thousands of miles of lesser rivers and streams that are rarely prospected by hunters.
Over the years, I’ve floated the Boquet River during the hunting season several times, and though I saw deer, I never had the opportunity to take a shot.
River corridors also create convection currents, which helps dissipate human scent. As water flows downstream, air currents flow upstream which makes it easier to fool a deer’s nose.
Sandy riverbanks also capture evidence of tracks, stream crossings and runways, which provide hunters with a potential location for a stand.
Yet, the most distinct advantage is likly the lack of competition. Fewer hunters means less pressure. Deer are likely to be less wary, and the chances of encountering other hunters is diminished if you travel over to the “Far Side.”
Archery in schools program hits bullseye
Recently, the the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) and the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) announced the two organizations would be launching a “NASP IBO 3D Challenge” at next year’s NASP Nationals.
The wildly, successful program recently established a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of archers in a single location at last years at the National Archery in the Schools National Championships..
For archery enthusiasts, the opportunity for youth to participate in IBO 3D competitions will allow to more kids to get involved in the sport of the archery.
For several years there has been growing interest among the NASP leadership and the IBO to provide students with a 3D venue for national competitions.
Recently, the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) and the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) announced they will launch the “NASP® IBO 3D Challenge” at next year’s NASP® National Tournament which draws over 10,000 young archers to participate in the annual event.
While the bullseye tournaments have proven popular, the 3D Tournaments are wildly entertaining, as participants target full size, foam animal replicas (3D targets).
According to NASP National Director Roy Grimes, “NASP® has no intention of modifying its wildly successful bull’s eye tournament competitions.” The bullseye format is currently practiced in more than 12,000 NASP® schools across 10 countries by nearly 2.5 million students per year.
However, the IBO 3D competitions are considered a more entertaining venue as archers take aim at full size replicas of bear, deer, coyote and other game animals.
According to Grimes, “In every survey conducted among NASP® students over the past 12 years, kids tell us they just want to have as much fun as possible in archery,” says Grimes. “They report that shooting arrows is the most fun but practicing and competing with their new archery friends is also important. A majority of students (56 percent) also advise they want to know more about bowhunting.
An online survey of students involved in the National Archery in the Schools Program conducted by the Easton Foundations in 2012 indicated nearly nine of ten participants enjoy the program and almost half have their own bows.
- Of the 1236 survey participants, 46 percent (569) presently own archery equipment, with 44 percent (198) indicating they purchased the equipment prior to taking part in NASP and 56 percent (251) saying they purchased bows after beginning NASP.
- A total of 18 percent (200) of those completing the survey indicated they have purchased a hunting license.
- Given a choice, a total of 88 percent of those surveyed said the either “liked” or “loved” shooting archery in NASP.
- Further, one-quarter (25 percent) of those surveyed said they have visited a local archery club in addition to taking part in NASP at school, and 97 percent of those who have visited a club or archery range have returned.
And now, with the expansion of NASP competition into 3D targets, watch for those numbers to keep on growing well into the future. Growing, just like archery’s bottom line.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.