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Hunting returns

Plenty of deer spotted already, store owners say

October 24, 2010
By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

There seems to be plenty of enthusiasm for deer hunting in the area.

John Havlick, the owner of Frank's Gun & Tackle Shop in the town of Mayfield, said Wednesday he has had steady business so far this season. He said people who hunt and fish generally plan their finances so they can afford to hunt and fish during the year.

"It's like boating," Havlick said, as an example. "No matter how bad the economy gets, people who own a boat will make sure they have the ability to use the boat."

Article Photos

John Havlick, the owner of Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop in Gloversville, takes a closer look at a shotgun in his store on Wednesday.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney?Minor

Fulton County is partly in the Northern Zone and Southern Zone for deer hunting. In the Northern Zone, bowhunting ended Friday and the regular hunting season began Saturday. In the Southern Zone, bowhunting season opened Oct. 16. The regular hunting season will open Nov. 20.

"From what people tell me, they are seeing a lot of deer so far this year," Havlick said.

Dennis Francis, the owner of Bowhunters Plus in Amsterdam, said his business has actually doubled since last year.

"It's really rewarding to [have a successful hunt] with a bow," he said.

Francis also said hunters have been telling him they are seeing lots of deer.

"It's different than last year," he said.

Tough times

In 2009, 1,037 deer were harvested in Fulton County, according to information from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. In 2008, 1,209 were killed in the county.

In Hamilton County, 629 deer were killed in 2009, compared to 1,444 in 2008.

Havlick said a friend of his had managed to successfully hunt down a deer every year for 30 years. Last year, he said, was the first year his friend had not been able to get a deer.

The DEC website - - notes the deer harvest in part of Fulton and Hamilton counties was down significantly from the previous year. It noted several factors contributed to this.

"First, the buck take in 2008 was a record high, removing many bucks from the population, then a very harsh winter in 2008-09 further reduced deer numbers," the website said. "And finally, warm, dry weather during the hunting season made it difficult for hunters to harvest bucks."

Havlick noted that there are more bears and coyotes in the area, which reduce the number of deer available to hunters.

The website said the deer harvest also was down in another part of Fulton County last year. The number of deer killed by hunters is expected to pick up again this season, the website said, because the mild winter led to no significant deer losses.

In 2009, 1,331 deer were harvested in Montgomery County. That was an increase from 2008, when 1,013 deer were harvested.

The DEC website said different areas in Montgomery County may see a slight increase or decrease in the size of the deer harvest this season.

Across the state, the website said, the DEC is expecting a slight decrease in the size of the deer harvest for the 2010 season.

The deer harvest in Hamilton County may be helped by the reopening of a couple roads closed by budget cutbacks earlier this year.

Indian Lake Road and Otter Brook Road (between the Otter Brook Bridge and the Otter Brook Gate) in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest in the town of Inlet were reopened, former DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a news release issued Wednesday.

Two other roads - both in Warren County - also were reopened. The reopened roads, along with several others, were closed throughout the summer due to a lack of resources for the DEC to repair, maintain and patrol the roads and nearby recreational facilities, the release said.

"We are grateful for the help provided by local governments and other partners with the repair work and needed maintenance that enabled DEC to open these roads in time to accommodate hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts who provide an important economic boost to the Adirondack economies," Grannis said in the release. "Had it not been for the active engagement of our valuable local partners, we would not have been able to do this."

The highway departments from Hamilton County and the towns of Indian Lake and Inlet replaced culverts, filled holes and did road grading work to get Indian Lake Road and Otter Brook Road ready to open.

"Big game hunting brings much needed economic activity to Hamilton County during the fall," William Farber, supervisor from Morehouse and chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, said in the release. "We appreciate DEC's willingness to work with us to reopen the roads in the Moose River Plains. Commissioner Grannis deserves praise for his determination to open the roads despite the significant reduction in resources DEC has for maintaining roads and other recreational facilities in the Adirondacks."

Havlick and Francis said they would like to see more kids involved in hunting. Francis said there are grant available to school districts to help them set up archery programs, but many are not aware of it.

Havlick said many children, compared to years ago, sit at home playing videogames instead of hunting.

"Even if they are not successful, at least they are not sitting in front of a computer," he said.



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