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Boundary Deer

Pulaski native, Stan Oulette, with a 10-pointer he took with a bow on the northern side of the Northern-Southern Zone line near his home.

Most deer hunters agree your best bet for bringing home the venison is on opening day.

But which opening day? The northern or southern zone’s; bowhunting’s, or the regular season’s. And if you really want to split hairs, maybe it’s Suffolk County on Long Island which has its own opening day.

After a moment’s thought, a reasonable guy would conclude that most deer are taken on opening day of the southern zone’s regular season. Mainly because it covers the biggest part of the state, and almost all of NY’s primo agricultural land, the most productive deer range.

Still, there’s one small part of the southern zone that’s far more productive on opening day: the edge where the two zones meet. You see, the first shots fired on the northern edge of the boundary send surviving deer over the border. And they stay there, in massive numbers, for as long as they’re not being shot at. Come November 20th, the boys and girls who hunt the southern edge of the boundary will have more than their fair share of deer to chose from–for a day, anyway.

Oswego County is one of the few in the state that boasts both zones, and the line splits us almost in half. What’s more, our portion of the southern zone includes the Lake Ontario plains, an area known for massive quantities of above average size deer.

And this year’s crop promises to be one of the best in recent memory. Stan Oullette, a Pulaski native known for his excellent hunting skills claims “this year’s rut is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and we have some huge bucks running around.”

To prove his point, Stan showed me a 10-point buck he took the second week of November with his bow just north of the Salmon River, on land he manages strictly for trophy deer.

After taking my fill of photos, I complimented him on his prize. He looked me in the eye and said, without flinching, “Spider, I’ve seen two deer this year that would make this one look like a spike horn.”

Taken aback by his comment, the seriousness of his tone, I blurted out “You mean you got atypicals running around your preserve that have single horns poking out of their heads like Medusa’s snakes?”

“No, you…” (I can’t finish the sentence in a family oriented blog),” he replied. “This year we got bucks with horns as big around as my wrist!”

That’s saying something. Stan, a former Marine who spent half his life running heavy construction equipment, is built like a bear. A deer with horns that big is definitely a wall-hanger. Two in the same neighborhood prove how marvelously deer-friendly our range is.

All of Oswego County’s southern zone is in private hands. You have two options. Knock on a farmer’s door and ask if you can hunt his property–the most he can say is no, but he might say yes. Or you can hunt on private property for a fee; two that come to mind are K&G Resort Inc., and Deer Creek Motel and Pheasant Shooting Preserve (315-298-3730).