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On Why I Love Hunting the Big Woods

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November 29, 2011

On Why I Love Hunting the Big Woods

By David Hurteau

I’ll tell you why I love hunting New York’s Adirondacks: The place, although decidedly not full of deer, is full of secrets--stuff that happens, in anonymous black swamps or on wide-open beech ridges--that nobody knows a thing about.

I, however, know where a basket-rack 8-pointer beds. On the rim of a mountaintop flat, where tropical storm Irene silently leveled a column of black oaks, he came jogging out of the shadows, out of the north-slope hemlocks on a line and onto the bright flat of leafless oaks; he banked right, J-hooked, peed and curled up under a blowdown’s crown.

He’s probably there now.

I know this because I saw him. I cut his tracks recently after a light fall of snow. Nothing huge—but the toes were rounded, the gait wide, and there were drag marks between the prints. I followed them through the hemlocks, on a line and into the oaks. Where they banked right, I glassed into the blowdowns maybe 50 yards ahead, and I watched him stand up. For a second, probably less, we stared at each other before I went for my gun.

I didn’t get him. Didn’t even get a shot off before he bailed over the rim.

That’s fine. I know his secret.

 

Comments (14)

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from ADKHunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

thats pretty cool im glad to see that new yorks getting some recognition

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

It's cool to find his secret spot.

I found a buck's secret spot almost the same way in a large section of NH woods.

Only problem was that he went and got himself a new secret place!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Neat story Dave. Hope you get him tomorrow.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

And that is what separates hunters from the guys with guns who park randomly into a forrest and pick a stump to sit on for 8 hours and claim there is no deer.

The first rule of deer hunting a forrest: No deer tracks, No deer; No buck rubs, no buck.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

It's always nice when you can learn from the deer first hand. It's even nicer, now that you know how to put the ambush on him.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Creek Chub wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I grew up in Ohio and have always taken the amount of deer for granted. I hunted the White Mountains on NH this year and hiked 4 days and only saw one set of tracks.

Void of deer, but not of spooky awesomeness.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

You know guys, I may hunt him again or I may not. Either way, I got what I was after.
On the farmland around here, I'm usually looking for a challenge, some fun, and meat in the freezer. But in the Adirondacks, I think I'm more out to see if the big, mysterious woods will give up one of its secrets--something no one else is privy to. I bet I'm the only person on Earth that knows where that buck beds. It's almost like possessing him--without having to drag him out.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

You have described what some folks call "intrinsic value". I feel that way about black bears in these old hills. I got no real desire to get one, but I need to know they are there.
You better keep that bucks location to yourself or someones going to go after him.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I hear you about the bears, Douglas.
As for my buck, they are welcome to him. I got what I wanted.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shazam wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Glad to read this... I see stories on here about people hunting for "a big enough buck"
Up here, I see tracks often enough but the deer are spooky. I am still looking for any deer at all during the season. Tracks, a game cam pic here and there and lots of big dark woods. When the nearest road is ten klicks out and the visibility is 50' (at best) you can really feel it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from The White Slug wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I mostly hunt the Catskills and I have been going in way deep the last couple of years. We don't usually get to hunt more than a few days because of strange things like work and family. This ain't no baited ranch. Hence we don't score often, but that is besides the point. It is getting off your rear end, eschewing nonsensical TV, video games, "smartphones" and texting to name a few. It is called living a three dimensional life. This weekend I found a beautiful stand of Hemlocks in a gully - mysterious and enchanted compared to its more open and brown surroundings. Some springs upwell to form several converging streams in the deep green. The spot would produce deer in colder weather. I can see this place in my mind now as I while away the day in a dank, dark cubicle - far from where I wish to be.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from nhwhitetail wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

To Creek Chub
But when you get one here in NH you earn it. No bait sites used by me, have gone couple of years without but still love the hunt. I have shot 100#s and 200#s and worked for all. Can't say I ever picked and chose a shooter while they fed at the feeder.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nate05 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Great story, reminds me of hunting the State Game Lands in SW PA. There is nothing like taking a "walk" through the big woods finding and exploring new places with just enough deer running around to keep you hopes up. This is something you can't get when you sit stand all day. Harvisting a deer just caps of the experience and is an added bonus; well until you have to drag it out over mountains and valleys to where you parked.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from coydogger wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

It's your deer Dave. More than likely you are not just the only person to know where it beds, you are probably the only person who has ever been to that spot. If you are like me, you don't see many deer in the Daks, but I never see anyone elses footprints but mine in the vast wilderness either. Once you spot or track a deer, he's all yours. He will be there next year God willing, as long as it's smart enough, or tall enough, not to starve in a deeer yard this winter.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

You know guys, I may hunt him again or I may not. Either way, I got what I was after.
On the farmland around here, I'm usually looking for a challenge, some fun, and meat in the freezer. But in the Adirondacks, I think I'm more out to see if the big, mysterious woods will give up one of its secrets--something no one else is privy to. I bet I'm the only person on Earth that knows where that buck beds. It's almost like possessing him--without having to drag him out.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from The White Slug wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I mostly hunt the Catskills and I have been going in way deep the last couple of years. We don't usually get to hunt more than a few days because of strange things like work and family. This ain't no baited ranch. Hence we don't score often, but that is besides the point. It is getting off your rear end, eschewing nonsensical TV, video games, "smartphones" and texting to name a few. It is called living a three dimensional life. This weekend I found a beautiful stand of Hemlocks in a gully - mysterious and enchanted compared to its more open and brown surroundings. Some springs upwell to form several converging streams in the deep green. The spot would produce deer in colder weather. I can see this place in my mind now as I while away the day in a dank, dark cubicle - far from where I wish to be.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ADKHunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

thats pretty cool im glad to see that new yorks getting some recognition

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Creek Chub wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I grew up in Ohio and have always taken the amount of deer for granted. I hunted the White Mountains on NH this year and hiked 4 days and only saw one set of tracks.

Void of deer, but not of spooky awesomeness.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I hear you about the bears, Douglas.
As for my buck, they are welcome to him. I got what I wanted.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nhwhitetail wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

To Creek Chub
But when you get one here in NH you earn it. No bait sites used by me, have gone couple of years without but still love the hunt. I have shot 100#s and 200#s and worked for all. Can't say I ever picked and chose a shooter while they fed at the feeder.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nate05 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Great story, reminds me of hunting the State Game Lands in SW PA. There is nothing like taking a "walk" through the big woods finding and exploring new places with just enough deer running around to keep you hopes up. This is something you can't get when you sit stand all day. Harvisting a deer just caps of the experience and is an added bonus; well until you have to drag it out over mountains and valleys to where you parked.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from coydogger wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

It's your deer Dave. More than likely you are not just the only person to know where it beds, you are probably the only person who has ever been to that spot. If you are like me, you don't see many deer in the Daks, but I never see anyone elses footprints but mine in the vast wilderness either. Once you spot or track a deer, he's all yours. He will be there next year God willing, as long as it's smart enough, or tall enough, not to starve in a deeer yard this winter.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

It's cool to find his secret spot.

I found a buck's secret spot almost the same way in a large section of NH woods.

Only problem was that he went and got himself a new secret place!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Neat story Dave. Hope you get him tomorrow.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

And that is what separates hunters from the guys with guns who park randomly into a forrest and pick a stump to sit on for 8 hours and claim there is no deer.

The first rule of deer hunting a forrest: No deer tracks, No deer; No buck rubs, no buck.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

It's always nice when you can learn from the deer first hand. It's even nicer, now that you know how to put the ambush on him.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

You have described what some folks call "intrinsic value". I feel that way about black bears in these old hills. I got no real desire to get one, but I need to know they are there.
You better keep that bucks location to yourself or someones going to go after him.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shazam wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Glad to read this... I see stories on here about people hunting for "a big enough buck"
Up here, I see tracks often enough but the deer are spooky. I am still looking for any deer at all during the season. Tracks, a game cam pic here and there and lots of big dark woods. When the nearest road is ten klicks out and the visibility is 50' (at best) you can really feel it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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