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October 24, 2007

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100 Best Public-Land Hunts: New York

Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area
: southwest New York
Size: 5,100 acres
ZIP: 14437

Western New York's rolling Appalachian Plateau ecozone, in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, provides some of the best public land for whitetail deer in the state, thanks to a good balance of forest and agricultural land. In addition, hunting pressure is lower in these less populous southwestern counties. "WMAs in western New York have better habitat and produce yearling deer with larger antlers than WMAs in the eastern part of the state," says wildlife biologist Jeremy Hurst of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, "and if they make 3 years old they'll be large." Rattlesnake Hill's habitat includes mature hardwood stands, overgrown fields, open meadows, conifer plantations and old apple orchards, and the southeast edge borders 2,600 acres of state forest. In recent years, the buck harvest peaked at a whopping 7.2 per square mile in Rattlesnake Hill's wildlife management unit. That number dropped a bit with a renewed focus on does, but the 4.3 bucks harvested per square mile in 2006 was third best in New York's western tip.

Unit 5H, Adirondack Park
: northeast New York
Size: 2,900 square miles
ZIP: 12164

"When I talk to guys who want to come to New York and aren't sure where to go," Hurst says, "I tell them the Adirondacks presents a great opportunity to hunt in solitude, in a big woods setting." Indeed, for east-coast hunters who want plenty of elbow room, the Adirondack Mountains-which represent 85 percent of the wilderness in the eastern U.S.-are hard to beat. NYSDEC's Wildlife Management Unit 5H, a nearly 3,000-square-mile area in the south-central Adirondacks (roughly circled by Indian Lake, Johnsburg, Caroga Lake and Hinckley Reservoir) is the hard-core, real-deal for big-woods hunters. These remote, forested mountains top out around 4,000 feet, and there are few trails or roads. Deer densities are low-last year's deer harvest was only .9 per square mile, but .7 were bucks. Hunting pressure is equally light, which allows many Adirondack bucks to put some years on. "The chances of seeing deer are lower," Hurst says, "but chances are higher that one of them will be a big buck."


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Albert Sand

I have tried to print out the form to field & streams testing of Gear, HELP

Albert Sand

I like the info you give your readers especially me.



I have a friend from New York. He has taken some nice bucks there.


what only 2 spots in all of the state?


I live in South Western NY, allegany county. We have some of the best hunt'n land in the U.S. I have my own land but the state land is great too. Wouldn't leave this place for nothing. Well maybe a cabin in Alaska!


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100 Top Public Lands
Field & Stream reporter Steven Hill spent two months interviewing state game agency officials, deer biologists, and whitetail experts to identify the absolute best public whitetail hunting grounds in the nation.

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