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Youth hunt success

Washington County resident John LeClaire, 15, with a five-point, 145-pound buck he shot in Dresden during last weekend's youth hunt.

The warm, wet weather has not been what most deer hunters want to see, but so far the

Last weekend's youth hunt saw some good action, with a rare period of cooler weather allowing deer to move around a bit. The cold front that should bring some temperatures in the 30s and 40s this weekend should allow more movement as well.

But even with the rainy, muggy weather of recent weeks, those getting out for early bow seasons have arrowed some decent bucks. A few well-trained teens also had luck during last weekend's youth firearm hunt.

Paul Bouchard, who operates West End Deer Processing in Eagle Bridge, said many hunters haven't bothered to go out because of the weather. But those who have gone out have had some success.

"We've gotten 25 deer in already," he said Friday morning. "We've had a nice seven-pointer, and a six-pointer."

Mike West, whose family runs The Crossroads Country Store & Sport Shop in Chester, said it has been "kind of a slow start" in northern Warren County because of the weather, but an 18-pointer in Thurman was taken and a number of other smaller bucks were reported.

He said gun and gear sales have been strong as people gear up for upcoming muzzleloader and rifle seasons.

(On another note, if you want to see an intense video, go to the Crossroads' Facebook page and watch the encounter a couple of local bowhunters had with a mama bear and her cubs over the weekend.)

The weather pattern seems to be changing for the next 10 days or so, with below average temperatures likely into next weekend, when Northern Zone rifle season starts. With natural food lacking for wildlife in many parts of the region this year, deer and bears are having to move to find food, so it is shaping up to be a decent fall as wildlife will have to move around to eat.

Biologists in neighboring Vermont reported that several important fall foods for wildlife are less abundant this year. 

“Fish & Wildlife staff routinely survey mast stands around the state in late September and early October, and this year they are finding that beechnut counts are very low, following 2017 when the numbers were the highest recorded since 1998,” said state Wildlife Biologist Forrest Hammond. “They also found little sign of deer, turkey and bear feeding in the beech stands.” 

Hammond said acorn production is more variable but that in most oak stands the number of acorns is fair at best.  He added that apples are also less abundant than last year, especially on wild trees.  He also noted that wild turkeys and deer are concentrating their feeding more in fields this year. 

-- Don Lehman

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reporter

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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