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Summer doldrums — a good time to prep for hunting season

July 26, 2019 01:00 pm Updated: July 26, 2019 01:44 pm

With the dog days of summer upon us, as unlikely as it may seem, it’s a great time to start getting ready for hunting season. 

Getting your bow tuned now so you can resume practice time is a good start to prep for early archery season for deer, which is only about ten weeks away. Early firearm bear hunting opens in selected Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) around the second week of September. 

Early goose season opens at different times throughout the state but begins in some areas on September 1st as does statewide squirrel season. That’s just five weeks away.

If you plan on buying new equipment for the upcoming hunting seasons, sooner is definitely better than later so you can get familiar and proficient with it. 

It’s a great time to buy or mount that new rifle scope, or sight in last year’s equipment. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have the ammo and gear needed for whatever species you’re going to hunt. 

You may want to assess your physical condition, especially if you are likely to hunt hard in the hot weather that comes with early hunting seasons. Walking long distances or inclines with heavy gear, climbing tree stands, carrying canoes, kayaks, guns and ammo, plus bagging and dragging a deer or bear can strain even those in great shape. 

Add to that the potential excitement of harvesting the “deer or bear of a lifetime,” and even the good stress could take a toll. Unfortunately, each year, it seems an aging hunter is recovered after having a heart attack from engaging in strenuous hunting activity.

The first step when planning an exercise program is to take a critical look at your current health and fitness. It’s wise to consult your doctor before starting a vigorous exercise regimen. Depending upon your age and health, you may want to look into how long it’s been since you had a physical that included a check of your heart.

This is especially true for those with prior health issues or those a “little long in the tooth.” For the more youthful readers who may not be familiar, they are the old guys with either gray hair or no hair you see at your rod & gun clubs and sportsmen’s federations every month.

I spoke with one such “veteran” sportsman who plans to go on a hunt of a lifetime in British Columbia this fall. He remarked that it’s a lot harder to get in shape to climb mountains than it used to be, and lamented not taking the trip a number of years ago when he was a much “less veteran hunter.” 

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of consulting your doctor or health care professional before starting a vigorous workout program to get a baseline of your current condition. 
If you get the green light and are ready to go, stay hydrated and try hiking with a back pack in summer. That’s a great activity that closely mimics actual hunting conditions as both can involve the rigors of traversing irregular or steep terrain while carrying gear. 

Be sure not to over-do it, especially on the first time out. Its best to gradually increase your endurance over time. A good start would be walking flat lands or on a track before attacking the steep remote terrain of the Catskill Mountains. Again, check with your doctor first.

Getting a head start preparing for the hunting season can be very enjoyable if you do it right. Fishing by canoe or kayak or just hiking while scouting for the season are fun activities we all may want to start soon if we haven’t done so already.

Let’s all take the time to safely get in the best shape we can so we can enjoy what we have been waiting for; that “most wonderful time of the year.” 
Happy Hunting & Fishing until next time.

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS. 

News and Notes
The 25th Annual Columbia Greene Friends of NRA Banquet – August 10 

The 25th Annual Columbia Greene Friends of NRA Banquet will be held on August 10 at Anthony’s Restaurant & Banquet Hall on Route 23B in Leeds. Cash bar from 4-6 p.m. with appetizers, games, and silent auction, prime rib dinner buffet at 6 p.m. Help preserve the future of our shooting sports by attending this event. For tickets and more information, go to their website at or email 

The next Lake Taghkanic Bass Tournament will be held at West Beach at Lake Taghkanic, on Saturday, August 10 from 4-11 a.m. All are welcome to compete. For more information, call Bill Johnson at 518-537-5455. 

Greene County Youth Fair at Canna Park in Cairo - Thursday, July 25 through Sunday, July 28 

Come visit the DEC “Living Stream” tank with “Trophy the Trout,” talk to fish & wildlife technicians and identify furs, and animal tracks, and try your hand at the NY Bowhunter’s Archery Booth, or “I Fish NY’s” casting and fish ID game. 

You can see about participating in the Youth Pheasant Hunt coming up in September and talk to veteran sportsman volunteers and ECOs to help you get out hunting, fishing, trapping, and camping. All while taking in everything the free fair has to offer including animal shows and displays. Don’t miss this free, fun event. 

Roe-Jan Creek Boat Club Annual Chicken BBQ - August 11

This event will take place on August 11th.  Grounds open at 1 p.m., dinner at 3 p.m. Cost for adults is $12, kids $6. Call Barbara at 518-828-7173 for more information, or the club at 518-828-5954 and leave a call-back number.  

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