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Discover 6 of the Best Hunting Hotspots in Washington County, NY

From the colorful leaves to the crisp air, there's a lot to love about fall in the Adirondack region. Although the season attracts plenty of leaf peepers and apple pickers, hunters also visit during these autumn months in search of New York's popular game species.

Whether you're a big game or small game hunter, some of the best hunting opportunities are located in and around the Adirondack Park. In fact, to help you plan the perfect trip, we've highlighted 6 of the best hunting hotspots in the forests and wetlands of Washington County, NY.

Note: For each hunting hotspot, we've included its Wildlife Management Unit (e.g. 5S, 5T, and 5G) as listed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Use this Unit as a reference to see when hunting seasons are open in the region you're interested in.

Tread Quietly Through Eldridge Swamp State Forest

Wildlife Management Unit: 5S

Gear up, for the wilderness awaits at Eldridge Swamp State Forest down in the Town of Jackson. The New York State DEC recommends Eldridge Swamp as a top spot for wildlife viewing and hunting because it features grassy areas, forests, and wetlands.

Since there aren't any officially marked trails in the property, you can use the network of old logging and farm paths to navigate your way through it. White-tailed deer, grouse, woodcocks, turkeys, and pheasants are the main game species you may encounter.

To access Eldridge Swamp, start from one of three public parking areas on NY-313 near the site. Take note that private lands adjoin this state forest, so abide by all posted signs and property boundaries.

We suggest you begin your hunt at dawn, and then eat a late lunch or an early dinner close by. Within 3.5 miles of Eldridge Swamp, you can get some classic deli subs at Yushak's Supermarket in Shushan, or order mouthwatering hamburgers at The Burger Den in Cambridge. Call ahead and have your meal prepared for easy pickup.

Bag a Deer in Goose Egg State Forest or Batten Kill State Forest

Wildlife Management Unit: 5S

hunter with deer
Photo: Al Bardin

While Eldridge Swamp is an excellent place to go hunting, you should consider the 436-acre Goose Egg State Forest or the 535-acre Batten Kill State Forest as well. These two parcels are located adjacent to one another near the New York-Vermont border, and they are only 4 miles east of Eldridge Swamp.

You can hunt for white-tailed deer, turkeys, pheasants, and other small game throughout both properties, but be aware of private lands. Park in the lot off Bates Road to enter the eastern side of Goose Egg State Forest, or use the parking lot on NY-313. The Folded Rock Trail begins at this second parking lot, and it will take you through Batten Kill State Forest and into Goose Egg from the western side instead.

Explore the Expansive Mount Tom State Forest

Wildlife Management Unit: 5S

Managed by the DEC, Mount Tom State Forest in White Creek is actually the largest state forest in Washington County with over 1,700 acres of land. The property's size makes it an awesome hunting hotspot for those who'd like a little extra privacy during their trip.

Mount Tom features 6.85 miles of public access roads and unmarked trails, and some roads allow you to drive from one side of the forest to the other. There are multiple parking lots along these roads, giving you plenty of options to choose from as you begin your hunt. Common game species, such as white-tailed deer, can be found throughout the large area.

When you're ready for a post-hunt meal, drive over to the communities of Cambridge or Eagle Bridge, which are about 5-8 miles away from Mount Tom depending on where you parked. Benson's Restaurant in Eagle Bridge offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week long, while The Bog in Cambridge serves fantastic American entrees for lunch and dinner.

Have a Successful Fall Hunt at Carters Pond

Wildlife Management Unit: 5S

ring-necked pheasant in the grass
Ring-Necked Pheasant, Photo Credit to Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS, licensed by (CC BY 2.0)

In the Town of Greenwich lies Carters Pond Wildlife Management Area, a 446.5-acre state property open for year round wildlife-associated recreation. Featuring a mix of woodlands, open areas, brush, and wetlands, the management area is home to a variety of animal species.

Hunters typically visit Carters Pond in October and November to hunt for ducks, woodcocks, grouse, pheasants, and deer. Small game hunting is particularly popular, and each year prior to youth and regular hunting seasons, the DEC releases ring-necked pheasants into the management area. Test your skills at hunting these small birds, or settle in for a day of traditional deer hunting in the deep woods.

There are four parking areas where you can access the site. Two of them are on the north end along Mill Road and Ferguson Road, and two others are on the southwestern end along County Route 49. After your hunt, stop by the Auction Barn Restaurant in Argyle or Green Acres Tavern in Greenwich and eat lunch or dinner. Both places specialize in delicious American fare and are within 10 miles of Carters Pond.

Seek Local Game Species in Washington County Grasslands Wildlife Management Area

Wildlife Management Unit: 5T

Over the years, the DEC has worked to expand Washington County Grasslands Wildlife Management Area and maintain it for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. Made up of former agricultural lands, this property attracts birders, hikers, and hunters in October and November.

Similar to Carters Pond, the DEC releases ring-necked pheasants into the wildlife management area each year, but you can hunt for wild turkeys and white-tailed deer if you'd prefer.

There is one parking lot and entrance to Washington County Grasslands on Black House Road, and it's a short 2-mile drive away from Broadway in Fort Edward. In the afternoon or evening, celebrate the end of your hunt with some tasty pizza at Stumpy's on Broadway, or one of the savory daily specials at Ye Old Fort Diner.

Keep Watch for Waterfowl in the Wetlands of East Bay

Wildlife Management Unit: 5G

Encompassing just 38 acres, East Bay Wildlife Management Area in Whitehall is one of the smaller DEC-operated sites in the region. However, the parcel stands out from the rest because a majority of it is emergent marsh, which attracts an abundance of waterfowl. Keep your eyes open for mallards, black ducks, wood ducks, and mergansers during your hunting trip into the wetlands.

East Bay is less than 3 miles northeast of Whitehall's historic Main Street district, and you can park in the designated lot right off County Route 10. The convenient location makes it easy to satisfy your hunger later in the day at a local village restaurant. Enjoy great food and drinks at The RailYard Taproom & Restaurant, or feast on Italian and American entrees at Champ's Corner Pub & Grill.

Start Planning and Experience the Thrill of the Hunt

Do one of these hunting hotspots appeal to you? If so, then it's time to plan your trip and see why Washington County is such a highly regarded destination for hunters.

Before you go, you need to purchase a New York State hunting license and additional hunting privileges/permits/stamps to hunt waterfowl, turkeys, etc. Make sure you stay within the property lines of each area, and follow local regulations.

You can also hunt without a license on private preserves, such as Pheasant Ridge Hunting Preserve in Greenwich, and Easton View Outfitters in Valley Falls, but you have to pay to participate.

No matter where you decide to go this season, hunting in Washington County will be a memorable outdoor experience.

Learn more about the Washington County region »

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