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Reconsider Hunting Public Lands

Rochelle LeClaire | Mossy Oak ProStaff

Rochelle LeClaire New YorkNew York has a vast amount of farm lands and woods outside New York City, especially in the Adirondack Mountains. I live near the Adirondack Mountains, and we hunt near Plattsburgh. Plenty of deer live up here, but the vegetation is really thick and the terrain very mountainous. You may go weeks without seeing a deer, but when you see a buck, more than likely he’ll be a good one. 

I just got a new bow for this season, and it’s a Carbon Rose made by Bowtech Archery, and I shoot a 100 grain Dead Ringer Rampage Stiletto broadhead. So far this season, I haven’t filled a tag with this bow, but our New York bow season isn’t over yet. The blackpowder rifle I shoot is a CVA Wolf .50 caliber.

One of the reasons I believe our family has been so successful taking deer here in New York where the hunting pressure is so high is that we try and keep our properties as free from human odor as we possibly can. Besides doing everything we can to be scent-free when we hunt, we stay away from the places where we hunt during the offseason. 

My favorite Mossy Oak camo is Mossy Oak Break-Up Country. I just love the lifelike size of the different natural elements within the pattern - the leaves, trees, acorns, etc. This pattern literally conceals my outline and I just disappear into the landscape around me. In my opinion, there is no pattern like it that works as well where I hunt. My dad prefers the original Mossy Oak Break-Up, but I like Country, since it has some green in the pattern. One of the reasons I like green in a pattern that I wear in the winter is due to the numbers of evergreen trees in the area where I hunt. I need the background to not be all browns and blacks. Oftentimes I’ll set up near an evergreen. 

Public Hunting Land in New York

My family and I have always hunted primarily private lands, but after seeing the size of some of the bucks being taken from New York public lands today, we are all considering the possibility of hunting public lands. I think many New Yorkers are much like we are and like the exclusivity of having private lands to hunt, perhaps without realizing that private lands are at a premium and everyone wants some.

Private-land hunters are taking a tremendous amount of pressure off public lands, and this factor may be the reason we’re starting to see some really-nice bucks coming off New York’s public lands. I just learned recently that there’s much more public land in the State of New York than I ever realized. That’s the reason our family is starting to look into how much public land is available to be hunted. Compared to other states, New York probably doesn’t have as much public hunting. However, as we’ve been researching the amount of public lands available, we’ve discovered there is much more than we ever knew about before.

Another thing that many people may not realize is that New York’s deer-hunting season starts October 1 for bowhunters. But I think most New York deer hunters think that deer season starts the Saturday before Thanksgiving, which actually is the opening day of rifle season. We rarely if ever see other bowhunters during bow season, so that’s one of the reasons we try to fill our tags - especially our buck tags - during bow season. When rifle season arrives, in the area where we live, it sounds like a war has broken out. Most of our bucks don’t survive past 2 years old in our section of New York, and the bucks that do survive past 2 ½ years old often will be trophies of a lifetime.

Rochelle LeClaire lives in Schaghticoke, New York, in eastern New York, and has been a member of the Mossy Oak ProStaff for five years. She hunted with her dad, grandfather and brother, until she was old enough to get a hunting license. Although married and with two small children, Rachelle hunts as often as possible and enjoys preparing and eating wild game.

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