Early Snow in the Adirondacks               By Hal Blood

An early snow was going the hit the Adirondak’s in late October. Already having an invite to hunt there by my buddy Joe Dinnito, I jumped in my truck and made the drive on Saturday as the snow was falling. My cameraman Jason DelPalazzo was going to meet me there. My mission this year is to capture a kill shot on film while tracking. I really want to show everyone in the deer hunting world what it takes to track one down. I knew it was going to be a tough task but I am committed to trying it.

We arrived at camp at 11:00 PM and after shooting the breeze with Joe and my hunting buddy Steve, we rolled in for some sleep. 5:30 came early but the excitement of tracking on the first snow made me forget that. After a quick breakfast and a direction to go from Joe, Jason and I struck off for the distant mountains. We walked in an old logging road in hopes of finding a good track from it, but although there were a couple of average buck tracks, they were nothing to get excited about.

After going in a couple of miles, we turned up a ridge that had been logged a few years before. There were some does feeding around the cuts, but still no buck track. We climbed higher to get out of the cuts. I always find that early in the season the big bucks are hanging back on the ridges away from the other deer and make their rounds from there to check on doe’s.

After circling the top of the mountain, we dropped down to the edge of a big narrow swale bog. We had not seen a track in a while but I felt if we skirted this bog we should find one. It wasn’t long before we found the track we were looking for. He had a decent sized print but a real wide stance at about 10”. This track was also noticeably fresher than any other we had seen, so I figured it was made around daylight when the buck would have been at the end of run.

He crossed the swale into a point of land jutting into it. He crawled through a spruce thicket before it opened up and then he went up a low ridge with short green growth and tall spruce. I looked at Jason and said “looks like a good place for a buck”. I was getting the feeling when he turned left and went up a low knob. As I eased up the knob to the top, the buck jumped up out of short spruce twenty yards from us and bounded down the knoll. I could see he had a good rack, and looked like a 10 pointer. I threw up my old 7600 all the while thinking “this is a chip shot”. Then I paused, thinking is the camera running? I could see Jason out of the corner of my eye but didn’t get a signal to shoot. I watched as the buck ran 50 yards in the open before disappearing into the spruce.

Jason and I looked at each other with the same thought. We never made a plan for a camera signal or for when I should tell him to roll the camera. That was a painful mistake! I’ve let plenty of bucks go after tracking them, but this was not one to do that on. Well hopefully that’s out of the way and we get another chance at a buck like that.