As millions across New York stuff their turkeys and their faces, while preparing to shop until they drop, others will set out this weekend on very different trips. Thanksgiving has always been a marked holiday weekend for hunters, as for many, it is the only long weekend they have during 'Big Game Season' in the Empire State. As many as 700,000 residents hunt in New York State and nearly 50,000 non-residents come here to do the same.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Where do all of these hunters go? Generally, residential hunters make arrangements with private land owners to harvest game from their land. The State of New York also offers many pubic options to bag your trophy. Check out the NYS DEC website for maps and lists of locations. One of them is Fort Drum Military Base, which is only about a 3 hour drive from the Capital Region. You would be surprised what the base has to offer.

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Get our free mobile app

According to the NYS DEC website, "Fort Drum provides one of the largest tracts of land in the northeast region available to the general public for recreational use with approximately 69,000 acres available for hunting and trapping as well as other outdoor recreational activities, dependent upon current military training operations. Fort Drum requires special permitting. Call their outdoor recreation office (315-772-9636 or 772-4999) for information or visit the off-site link "Hunting at Fort Drum.""

Getty Images/iStockphoto

According to early reports, hunting in the Capital Region is off to a slow start. Earlier in the season we reported on Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) that has been killing deer across the state. We also told you about New York State deer testing positive for COVID 19. According to experts, neither of these are reasons not to get out there and hunt. Over 250,000 deer were harvested last year. There were no reports of humans contracting EHD or COVID 19 from deer. Remember, the DEC recommends that you wear field gloves and a mask when dressing your deer. Cooking venison removes any danger.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

There are new regulations, so make sure that you are up to speed on all of the new safety measures. This year younger hunters are out in the woods anxious for their first opportunity. For the first time in New York, 12 and 13 year olds will be big game hunting. They learn what they see. Teach them well. Enjoy and have a happy, safe and fruitful hunting Thanksgiving weekend. If you have any pictures of your New York State Big Game prize, send them to charles.voelker@townsquaremedia.com or @charlievoelker on Twitter and Instagram. I will post them on our site.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Famous People With Ties To The Capital Region