New York’s deer hunting Opening Day of rifle season in the Southern zone is special. Many wait all year for this moment. The planning, the scouting and practicing at the range all comes down to this day. But what has been even more special for me is the night before opening day.
When I used to live back in New York, which I miss at times, especially during deer hunting season, I used to be fully engulfed with deer fever. We had deer camps on both our own private land and on state land. As the guys would drive up to our deer camp on the Thruway and Route 17, you could tell who was going hunting. You could see even the smallest piece of blaze orange in the cars and trucks besides you. It was an army of hunters on the roads.
We’d always stop off at Dick’s, Gander Mountain s or Walmart in Middletown to stock up on some last minute gear – most the which was unnecessary of course but simply added to the experience. A little extra Hunter Specialties fresh earth never hurt anyone.
Upon arrival at deer camp, one of the first things we’d do is turn the heat on in the cabin and then start to unpack our gear. We all had our assigned beds and everyone knew exactly where to store their gear. After the truck was unloaded, we’d head to town to stock up on food for the trip. And of course, we’d have to stop at the local gun shop to just see what they had and to say hello to everyone.
That night is when we’d all get together in one of the other cabins and play cards. I experienced this at an early age and as I got older, I joined the old timers in the deer camp tradition. The stories that were told that night and the strategies for the opening mornings hunt were ones I will never forget. Year after year, it was like groundhog day all over again. But I loved it.
I’m so thankful to my dad for introducing me to the outdoor world and hunting. I just wish we could go hunting together again. He’s still in New York but hasn’t hunted for years, just sort of lost the passion after we sold our property.Maybe I can entice him to give it another go this year with me as I’ll be back in New York towards the tail end of the season. You never know.
So to all of the New York deer hunters out there, enjoy every moment of this years Opening Day. Whether you get a deer or not, spending times with friends and family in the woods is priceless. Take lots of pics and video if you can. I know looking back, I wish I had done more of that myself. But nevertheless, those memories will forever be engrained in our heads and accessed at anytime.
Happy hunting all!
PS - If you have a smartphone like an Apple iPhone 4, Droid or Blackberry, please share your pictures and videos on Twitter, Facebook and your local deer hunting forum for others too see. Not sure what #hashtag/ keyword would be best to use but maybe something like #nydeer or nyhunting
Image collage created from my deer hunting magazine archives
Hi, I'm Rudy and I'm Filming America's Whitetail Deer and Elk Bow Hunters, One at a time. You could be in our next documentary hunting film. Email me to learn more.