I spoke with an elderly gentleman the other day. He's 87.
"Ralph, have you ever seen a winter like this in your entire life?," I asked.
"No," he replied, "but my dad told about one back in the 30s."
According to the calendar, spring officially started March 20. We all know it really started Dec. 21, though. That's usually the first day of winter, but fall pretty much blended into spring and left winter sitting on the sidelines.
So what are the effects of the lack of snow and freezing-cold weather?
Normally, the extreme cold and deep snow here in the Northeast have a detrimental effect on the wildlife. Last fall, we saw several groups of very small turkeys in September and October from late-season hatches. They don't usually survive the winter, but they did this year.
You've had to notice the huge flocks of turkeys as you drive around the countryside. They're everywhere. As far as turkey hunting this spring, it's going to be tough. The long-bearded toms have been strutting and mating for weeks already. Come May, the breeding season will have been long forgotten, making it extremely difficult to call in that big, old gobbler.
It's the same with deer. Because food is harder to find in heavy snow and every drop of energy is used to keep warm, some deer don't survive the winter. Other than those killed by automobiles or coyotes, most made it through this past winter in great shape. We easily could see a near doubling in the deer population this fall. Consequently, you'll see far more car/deer accidents, more damage to crops, gardens and shrubs, and far more deer when it comes to hunting season. We should see record deer harvests come October and November.
Non-hunters won't be spared, either. Just try sitting out in your yards this summer. If you thought the hurricanes led to an increase in the mosquito population last year, wait until you see how many of those pesky, biting insects will be around after an extremely mild winter. It should be worse than a couple of summers ago, when it rained at least four out of every seven days? Sitting outside back then was a little like going to the Red Cross to donate a pint of blood.
It's likely your pets will be plagued by more fleas and ticks as well, so get started early with the Frontline, Advantix or whatever you may use. More insects means more crop damage for farmers, too.
I know a lot of folks really liked the extremely mild winter we just had. Heating bills were down and traveling was much safer. But winter is good for the economy. Just ask the folks who live in small Adirondack towns or near ski areas. It's their livelihood.
Snow and cold are good for the ground, too. My grandfather used to say that snow is poor man's fertilizer. The nitrogen in the snow leaches into the soil and helps make everything green. He was right.
After this summer, you may be praying for a few blizzards this winter. Just sit around a campfire on the Fourth of July. You'll see.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.
I spoke with an elderly gentleman the other day. He's 87.
- Rick Brockway
Gray squirrels bring back some fond memories
I was on my hill sitting in a tree stand about a month ago when a large, gray squirrel ran across a branch not far from me. I was actually surprised. There hasn't been a gray squirrel in my woods for many years, at least none that I've seen. I watched him go from branch to branch and then down the trunk of a large, red oak tree.
Whitetail bucks are as smart as they come
I was on my hill deer hunting the other day. I sat on a pine hillside where deer usually wander. Quite a few tracks were in the snow when I got there. After about an hour, I decided to get up and wander. With little patience for sitting, I was lucky to have lasted that long.
DEC makes deer season even better
This deer season has been great. A lot of hunters are taking some beautiful bucks. Well not all of us, but that's a different story. All fall, my friends have shown me the bucks they've captured on their trail cameras, and some of them have made it to the freezer.
If you happen to come across a lynx, the DEC wants to know
I was buying bananas in one of our local supermarkets the other day. A gentleman came up to me and said how much he enjoyed my columns. I thanked him and he went on to tell me he had seen a lynx in his backyard near East Meredith.
It's the right time to hunt, but you won't be alone
Let me ask you a question. What does a chipmunk have in common with a marching band on Main Street? They make about the same amount of noise.
- Friday, November 1, 2013
Don't let time tick away if you contract Lyme Disease
The other day, my oldest son asked me to help him remove a couple of ticks from one of his cats.
- Friday, October 25, 2013
In the Adirondacks, not all bucks are created equal
Opening day of deer season in the Adirondacks has always been a special time of year.
- Friday, October 18, 2013
Creatures of nature are truly amazing
I sat in my tree stand the other day quietly waiting for the right deer to come along. As I've said before, I'm not a patient person. I'm not a good sitter, so I have to find something to occupy my mind.
- Friday, October 11, 2013
Sometimes it's just fun to watch
The other day, I moved a ladder stand to a big, white pine tree not far from a wild apple tree in my old pasture. The deer had been feeding there regularly as the apples fell to the ground. Last night before dark, I took my bow and headed out.
- Friday, October 4, 2013
Good luck hunting bear in Adirondacks|
A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me where he should go to hunt bears in the Adirondacks. I told him he would be better off staying home, but he was rather insistent.
- Gray squirrels bring back some fond memories