Finding good hunting land in Columbia County has become increasingly difficult over time and the prospects do not look better for the future. Land is being bought up and public land is becoming private with new owners not understanding or supporting a hunting culture. Sadly many new people have little understanding of how hunting has been the culture of much of upstate New York and many do not understand the role hunters play in the local ecology and economy. Pittman Robertson fees assessed on firearms, ammo and hunting supplies continue to be the primary revenue to fund conservation efforts and hunters help the health of local wildlife by harvesting excess livestock. Add to this the difficulty of getting tags for the areas you hunt and the time and money spent hunting and its no wonder many hunters are frustrated.
Many hunters are maximizing their time by going on organized hunts out of state. One such outfit in Middleburg Pennsylvania is Straight Pine Deer and Elk Lodge. This family run business has about two hundred acres. Some of it is used for enclosed areas to develop excellent examples of deer and elk. They are then released in hunting areas with well developed tree stands. An excellent staff determines where wildlife is and how to best provide opportunities to harvest the wildlife. Hunters spend less time looking for particular wildlife they may be looking to hunt and are more assured of having a successful hunt in a shorter period of time. In every way hunter ethics are observed and the hunt continues to involve fair chase. However staff help recover harvested game and get it prepared for a butcher in the quickest time. The facilities for initial preparation are excellent and retrieving game is very organized. Even handicapped hunters can have a trophy hunt of a lifetime considering how everything is arranged.
While waiting to hunt there is excellent lodging provided as part of the fee for whatever one wants to hunt. A recent boar hunt ran $475.00 per boar and doe hunts are as little as $250.00. No hunting permits are required which brings down the cost. Some Elks run into the thousands of dollars however and mounting such specimens can run a thousand as well. The lodge has all the amenities for a comfortable stay and has some wonderful mounts and architecture that would naturally appeal to hunters.
Considering the short distance and reasonable price, Straight Pine Deer and Elk Lodge offers top notch hunting experiences. While local hunting is still important, this is a way to guarentee you have some success and good experiences in a given year. You are also more likely to harvest a healthier animal for meat and a more presentable trophy mount if thats your priority. It certainly is a worthwhile route to ponder given the increasing frustrations of hunting in Columbia County.