SCHROON LAKE - Master Maine guide and outfitter Randy Flannery was the featured speaker at the 17th annual Adirondack Sportsmen's dinner Saturday at Mountainside Bible Church.
Flannery is a well-known deer hunter who has been prominently featured in articles in magazines, including Field & Stream. Flannery and his wife, Sharon, run Wilderness Escape Outfitters, which is located in Lake Danforth, Maine.
He is known for stalking and tracking white tail deer, in particular, and this was the focus of his talk to the hundreds of hunters and anglers gathered Saturday.
"If you want to get big deer, you have to go after them," Flannery told the audience.
The Maine guide, who credited his grandfather for much of what he knows about hunting deer, offered several suggestions for bagging big bucks.
One thing he recommended for stalking and tracking deer was that hunters have to be prepared before going into the woods, so they have no fear of getting lost. He said most hunters stay close to the road, but he said he spends most of his time deep in the forest when he is tracking.
That means he has to be familiar with the terrain beforehand and has to rely heavily on a topographical map and compass. He actually carries three compasses with him. Mainly, he said, because he always wants to have two that are working at all times.
He also carries three means of starting a fire, a flashlight and extra batteries and a high-quality knife.
Another thing Flannery said he does is "prequalify the woods before going in." This means he only hunts in places where he knows there's a good chance of him seeing deer or deer signs.
One of the main qualities he looks for when choosing a hunt spot is that it's green and wet. Mature bucks are often found near water, he said.
His slogan for picking hunting lands is "The thicker, the quicker. The wetter, the better."
"The most important element to finding big deer is water," Flannery said.
Flannery said only young deer are found in hardwoods.
The Maine guide also stressed that hunters need to learn how to walk quietly in the woods under all conditions. They must also train themselves to react quickly when the opportunity to finish the hunt presents itself.
In addition to Flannery, there were 13 other seminars given on various hunting, fishing and outdoor-related topics.
The event is run by a number of local business and churches in the Schroon Lake area.