This trip my friend Kenny joined me for an exploration of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and some tracking of Adirondack Bucks. The area was once famous for its scattering of Adirondack Hunting Camps and excellent hunting opportunities. This all resulted from the forestry practices of the day that opened up large swathes of territory to fresh succulent successionary growth. The young developing forest provided prime food plots for deer and bear to browse and populate with offspring.
Today however, the forest has matured and thus closed in on the once abundant resources that animals browse on. As a result the area now supports a very low deer density. This fact has become a point of contention among hunters and loggers who love a working forest versus nature lovers who wish to see mature forests grow undisturbed. More simply the conundrum can be explained as conservation versus preservation of the resources. I find myself somewhere in the middle enjoying the challenge of the hunt in what feels like a truly wild place but also fully understanding that foresty would benefit those who participate in nature beyond admiring it as wallpaper. My fear would be that once you open up the constitutionally protected Adirondack Wilderness Forest Preserve surely it would be taken advantage of by the greedy hands of corporations, lobbyists and corrupt politicians long before the hunter ever benefits.
For me, the limited abundance of deer creates a challenging opportunity hunters enjoy. To bag a buck one must search for and follow tracks sometimes for hours and miles in the hopes of catching up to a rutting deer. Ideally, the buck will begin to slow down and feed at which point the hunter moves with incredible patience, one step here and there in an attempt to spot the deer before it realizes its been followed.
This being our first hunt we had no such luck and no shots fired but the excitement of the challenge and the territory being among the most beautiful natural areas that I’ve been able to experience have us wishing to return for a second and third chance.
Upon return my self-confidence will be on another level having previously had a chance to actually experience the landscaps beyond the lines of a topography map layed out on my living room table. My distance will likely double and my direction will be well considered starting off on recorded gps data that marked tracks n sign.
When the harvest happens the personal accomplishment will be a proud moment. I hope that ill be able to recognize where I started and feel a validation of effort and like Emerson know simply that “the reward of a thing well done is to have done it”.
I’ve been fascinated by the history of the area, old logging/hunting camps and reading and listening to the stories of great Adirondack hunters like Hal Blood, Joe Dinitto and the Benoits. The Robert Elinskas books, Benoit family videos, Big Buck Registry Podcast and this old article from Field and Stream sure has given me something to think about and skills to develop.