Whether it’s hip waders or hunkering down in a deer stand, the outdoorsman can find plenty of action in Fulton County.
The region’s abundant natural resources ensure that some type of game is in season practically year-round. Deer, bears and turkeys on land vie for attention with trout, bass, walleye and pike in the water, giving the area something for everyone.
“We have a lot of local hunters and do cater to the local market, but we get a lot of people up from downstate and New Jersey, too,” says Jeff Chamberlain, owner of the Adirondack Sports Center. In his 31 years in business, Chamberlain says he’s seen a lot of change in the hunting/fishing populations, but both sports remain extremely popular.
“A lot of people keep camps and property in the area and come up almost every weekend,” he says. “A lot of the appeal here is the availability of hunting areas. The parkland is enormous, and hunters have access to almost all of it from here.”
From late September through early December, deer season holds sway, with turkey season taking up a big chunk of time in the spring. Trout season begins in April, with peak times for other fishing coming along throughout the summer and early fall months
That broad range of options has kept the area busy even as hunting and fishing have slowed in other parts of the country, says Mike Hauser, owner of Twin City Sports Promotions, who puts on the annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show.
“People have realized that they don’t have to go to Canada,” Hauser says. “There’s plenty of quality game and fish right here in their own backyard.”
The outdoorsman show was launched in 2006, when Hauser realized that he could greatly expand the sports-card shows he was hosting. Now he’s filling up the Moose Club in Johnstown and talking about expanding.
“We have about 2,000 people at our show now,” he says.
While there are still plenty of hunters and anglers who go it alone, Hauser says that hunting guides are coming back into vogue, which should bring even more people into the area.
“Guides were a very big deal in the Adirondacks in the 1930s and 1940s, but then more people started going out on their own,” he says. “It was an art form that kind of died off, but now with people’s lives being so busy, they don’t mind paying for a service that puts them right on top of the fish or the game. It’s really about condensing the experience.”
That said, there will always be the diehards, but there’s plenty of Adirondacks to go around, no matter how people choose to have their experience, says Hauser.
“We’re working with the chamber of commerce to do even more to make sure we capitalize on the rich resources we have. This really is an untapped market, kind of a hidden secret.”
Learn more about outdoor activities in Johnstown, NY.