My father introduced to me to a tradition when I was legally able to hunt in the state of New York. The weekend following the end of NYS northern tier deer season he and a few close friends would get together at a remote deer camp and hunt snow shoe hare with their best snow hounds. It was a fun filled weekend full of stories, laughs, good food and sound of hounds chasing hare. It is something that I'll always remember.
As time moved on, life got into the way and that tradition faded but I've always continued it in my own way going solo with my pack or bringing a willing friend along. You see these hunts are never as easy as just pulling up to roadside spot and hunting within earshot of the roadway. These hunts entail going back into some remote swamp with either an ATV, snowmobile or truck with chains. If we're lucky the come-along doesn't come out and get us unstuck nor do we have to use the chainsaw to cut our way in or out. In other words it's a classic Adirondack Adventure.
Yesterday was a picture perfect day for an adventure. We have ice covered ground covered in old 6-8 inches of surgary powder. Snow squalls forcasted with 2-3 more inches predicted for the day and temperatures in the low teens.
On this day I had a good friend come along with me. I picked him up at 7 am, drove an hour north to our camp gate and found that the road in was flattened by snowmobiles. Although it is only a 3 or 4 mile ride in, snowmobiles do make it easy to drive a truck. We made it about a mile, got somewhat stuck on a hill and decided to put on the tire chains. Foolish me thought that my old chains would fit my new truck and after another mile we found out that both chains had fallen off. Because it was impossible to back up, we ended up walking back the way we came and found both sets about a half mile away. We dragged them back to truck and then proceded in a lower gear and crossed fingers. Fortunately we made it ok and were able to turn the dogs loose around 9:30.
At 10 am, we had a start and the day began. My partner an accomplished Adirondack deer hunter with his name and trophy in the record books had never hunted hare over hounds. Being a close friend to late Max Holland a well known northeast beagler, Dan brought along Max's favorite hare gun a Browning Sweet 16 with adjustable chokes. This is where I will cut the story short and only add that 5 hours later and several spent shells Dan connected with his first hare in 15 years. What made it even more special was Joey retrieved the hare right back to our feet. After a few photos, we gathered up the dogs and began our long walk back out to the truck.
As we drove home we went over the days events several times. What we'll need for the next trip, who we could ask along, what food should bring etc. Over coffee this morning I put together a list of everything we discussed and asked myself a question, is this the begining of a new tradition or just another Adventure?