Hunting in the Adirondacks

For some, turkey season trumps even the trout

Yes, yes, we know. You've heard all about the famed West Branch of the Ausable River and its remarkable trout fishery.

Why then, is there a group of sportsmen and women each year who ignore that great water during the month of May, when the fish are emerging from winter's sluggishness and beginning to "look up" once again? There can only be one reason. Turkeys.

If you think fly-fishers are a passionate, obsessive bunch, take a closer look at the camo-clad, sleep-deprived turkey-hunting crowd. It's a crowd that's growing in ranks up here in the Whiteface Region, and with good reason. Bird numbers are up. They're showing up in areas where they've never before been seen. And they're offering some superb spring gobbler hunting in an unlikely locale, right here in the heart of the Adirondacks.

From the Ausable River valley right up to the shadow of Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, there are thousands of acres of public land available for hunters to pursue talkative toms. And because turkey hunting is a relatively new game in town, hunting pressure is generally low, especially mid-week and later in the season, which kicks off with a popular youth hunt (for 12-15 year olds) April 20-21 and is followed by a regular season that runs from May 1-31.

That low hunting pressure tends to make the gobblers very cooperative and receptive to calling, so bring along your favorite box, friction or mouth call and let 'em have it.

Serious turkey hunters – and is there any other kind? – know what it's all about. That's why they arise well before sunup, morning after morning, even before the season opens to do some scouting and locate their longbeards. Those who hunt this noble bird wouldn't trade it for anything, not even a wallhanger buck.

The Whiteface Region, too, offers the kind of lodging and dining options where turkey hunters feel most comfortable, and because the ski season has ended and the fishing season is just getting fired up, plenty of rooms will be available.

Plenty of turkeys, too. Because up here, wild turkey numbers continue to grow and the birds expand their range into new spots.

More and more turkey hunters are discovering that, and you can see for yourself this spring. 

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