Hunting seasons are opening all over the New York/New England area, with bow season in New Hampshire and Connecticut already open. Are you an early season hunter? If you are, chances are your scouting is about done and your blind or stand placement is decided. If you are a procrastinator, you are still waiting. The problem is, is the land you want to hunt still available to you? Forget baseball, football and soccer (soccer?), get away from your TV and get out and about. Getting your hunting season planned, your area checked and your gear lined up is a lot of fun (tell your wife its good exercise).
A lot of real estate changed hands last year. Many times the new owners frown on hunting. Finding out who owns the property you wish to hunt and personally introducing yourself to them often will secure your use. Don't be one of the hunters that just trudge off onto somebody's property because you did not see a posted sign. We all need to work together to keep our image to non-hunters as good as possible.
Okay, I’m off my soap box. But honestly, do you know all the public land available to be hunted within a couple hours of where you live? We are blessed by having an abundance of public lands, in New York and New England. The trouble is that there are few publications available that detail them all. The answer is pretty simple. Call or email the DNR of the state you want to find out about and have them send you the info. They are more than happy to do it. When you get it and find the area you want, call the Game Warden (Conservation Officer, Encon Officer, Fish Cop or whatever their title is) and ask their advice in narrowing down the area. I do this every time I am planning to hunt new areas. This saves an enormous amount of time, not to mention gasoline, in getting hunting plans arranged. Deb Waller, NY-DNR, was nice enough to send me two different state lands open to hunting, with topo map and directions. These lands are in no publication to my knowledge. Thanks for the venison, Deb!
Every state has a hunting/fishing/ recreation web site, which is how I search for info from New Mexico to Maine. If you do not have a computer, drop in on a buddy who has one. I found one such tidbit and emailed an inquiry about it. I was waiting for a return email on this dynamite big-buck area that is supposed to open for rifle season for this year only. Unfortunately, the deadline for this month's column came first. But, you will hear about it in November's column.
It is not too late for archery buys. You will see late season and closeout sales popping up at all the major sporting goods stores about Halloween. For next year, watch the sale flyers and papers for archery sales in late July and August. Many of these are really good. For example, I picked up a $75 hang-on tree stand for $29.95 at a large sporting goods store in my area. The store is part of a chain, with over 100 stores in our reader area. Their rifle and muzzle loader sale will be coming out soon, so watch the ads in your Sunday paper. It is possible to find a deal on a long gun now, but you really half to look. You folks on a budget need to put a few dollars away and read my December column for some ways to get a once-in-a-lifetime deal on used archery equipment, rifles, shotguns and muzzle loaders.
Lastly, here is a system that works very well for many sportsmen I know. Start a list of the seasons you will be hunting this year. Use a separate sheet for each. For each season, categorize what equipment and supplies you will need. Next, list all equipment, on that list, which you already have. When you are done, you should see some duplicates, i.e., hunting knife. That's okay. If you do this faithfully, you will not have to make any unnecessary trips to the sporting goods store on opening morning. Now you can concentrate on the hunt.. Even the renowned TV host Jim Zumbo showed up for a hunt in Alaska, but forgot his ammo! Boy, he was not happy about the price for his 300 Ultra Mag ammo up there. That quick checklist can save a hunt.
If you folks have any questions, concerns or comments about this column, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to me at email@example.com . I will be getting an OM email address soon. Remember, enjoy the outdoors, just do it cheaply.