With more than 175,000 acres of public land within its borders, a long season stretching from October to December, and a mix of woodlands and open fields, Lewis County is a good bet for big bucks. Black powder, archery, and regular seasons all offer a nice chance for hunters to enjoy the Adirondack fall beauty.
Located in the Northern Zone, the county offers an exciting variety of “low pressure” conditions ranging from rural to total wilderness. You can enjoy the convenience of a motel, the warmth of a Bed & Breakfast, roadside camping, or backpacking into remote areas.
Within Lewis County, the terrain varies from the Adirondack Forest Preserve to the Black River Valley to the Tug Hill Plateau. The Adirondack foothills in the eastern section of the county represent a descent from the mountain country of the central area of the Adirondacks. Elevations vary from 3,000 to 400 feet in Lewis County. Forest cover is up to 80 percent in the foothills. This transitions to the agricultural zone where land ownership increases from 50 percent private to 90 percent.
The Black River Valley, which runs through the center of Lewis County is predominantly agricultural. Farming makes up 35-50 percent of the land use, and virtually all land is in private ownership. Brush land predominates over forests on land with cover.
The Tug Hill Plateau, on the western side of the county, is distinct and isolated from the Adirondack Mountains. Its ascent begins at 1,000 feet and tops off at 1,900 feet. The area varies from 37 to 67 percent forested, with some farming occurring on the slopes. Much of Tug Hill is private land. The cover of Tug Hill has always been forested and was never cleared for farmland.
The number of deer in the Northern Zone is less than in the Southern Zone because of range quality and winter severity conditions. On the other hand, hunting pressure is light, so that only about 30 percent of the bucks are taken during the entire season. Translated into opportunity, this means that, unlike the Southern Zone hunting, your chances of success are equally good throughout any week of the season. And if you are looking for big racks, the more remote sections are your best choice. The lower rate of buck harvest results in an overall older age of bucks living in the county. Thus, many of the older males have trophy antlers.
For more information regarding fees, licenses and seasons contact the NYS DEC Watertown District Office, Region 6 Headquarters at (315) 785-2239 or visit www.dec.ny.gov