scottgardner

About Scott Gardner

Scott is a passionate outdoorsman and has been hunting and fishing his entire life. Scott discovered the Adirondacks over 25 years ago. He has been visiting the Adirondacks to hunt, fish and ski ever since. He relocated full time in 2010 and he has been a New York State licensed Adirondack guide for 5 years. He is as patient as he is enthusiastic about sharing his passions with his clients. If you have any questions at all just call him up and have a chat. Scott grew up in central Pennsylvania. He spent most of his youth in the field and on the water. He fished for small mouth bass and catfish on the Susquehanna River (not to far from Bob Clouser’s home and shop in Middletown, Pennsylvania). He learned to fly fish on the Yellow Breeches Creek, The Letort, Stony Creek and Clark’s Creek. He also spent a lot of time hunting and fishing in North Central Pennsylvania in the counties of Centre, Tioga, Potter and Lycoming. There he fished the waters of Penn’s Creek, Spring Creek, Pine Creek, Slate Run, Cedar Run and the Loyalsock River to name just a few. Scott is an alumnus of Penn State University, a former U.S. Army paratrooper and a former professional ski patroller and ski guide. He has lived and worked in Italy, France (he also speaks French), Colorado, New Hampshire and New York. He currently lives in the woods of Jay, NY (just outside of Lake Placid, NY) with his wife Jami (She also hunts, fishes, skis and golfs…and all of his friends agree she may be the best deer tracker in the Adirondacks!), their daughter Finnley and their 2 bird dogs Tucker and Remington.

October 2015

Adirondack Grouse Hunting Blog is “on point”!

 

My wife, daughter and myself recently returned to Minnesota to visit the inlaws for our annual grouse camp sojourn. The weather was warm at first but turned to the expected cool fall temps during the week. The wind was a factor for several days making for challenging hunting conditions. Our trip was fruitful and we harvested 8 grouse over the course of the week. We prepared these for the enjoyment of all at the final family feast before our departure! (call me for Jami’s secret grouse recipe!)

Scott Finnley and Todd grouse camp 2015

grouse 2015

Jami 2015 grouse

 

Tucker and I were also recently featured in a blog on Hunting in the Adirondacks which was originally posted on www.whitefaceregion.com reposted here for your enjoyment:

Adirondack Grouse Hunting Blog is “on point”!

Fall Hunting in the Adirondacks 

“It’s all about watching the dog work.”

It’s 9AM and I’m walking carefully through the brush a mile or so into the Adirondack wilderness. It’s a crisp fall day with color just starting to really pop, the cool air keeping us alert, but not cold. There are no trails, no gaggle of hikers in front and back of me, no crowd at the summit taking turns instagram-ing the best view. Just me, my guide Scott, and Tucker. Tucker’s ducking and weaving through branches and bushes, covering 20 feet for every one step Scott and I take. We’re watching him closely, waiting for him. Tucker slows and creeps up on a bush, just visible from several yards away. I get excited, this is going to be the first one of the day.

“He’s not convinced,” says Scott

“What?”

“His tail, it’s wagging, he’s not convinced.”

Scott and I creep up slowly behind Tucker. Something’s there, or was there, but Tucker can’t quite point it. Suddenly a rabbit takes off out of the bush and across the field. Dodging and ducking through the bushes. But we’re not looking for rabbits today and in a testament to Tucker’s training he’s already off in the other direction, sniffing out the next trail.

Adirondack Grouse and Woodcock Hunt

HUNTING GROUSE AND WOODCOCK IN THE ADIRONDACKS

This is how my day went for about four hours when I joined local Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Guide, Scott Gardner of Nessmuk’s Wilderness Guide Services. We were in for a morning hunting Grouse and Woodcock during one of the first days of the fall hunting season. We went to scope out some new spots for Scott to take his clients. Meeting Scott at the pull-off alongside the road, I was immediately introduced to our companion for the day, and the one who I would soon learn really does all the work, Scott’s dog Tucker.

Tucker’s a Wire-haired Pointing Griffon, a European breed of sporting dog that looks somewhere between a sheep dog and a terrier. It was immediately clear, if there’s one thing Tucker loves most, it’s the excitement of the hunt, followed closely by scratches behind the ears and food. Tucker was fidgeting in the back seat of Scott’s car as I got in and we headed down an unimproved road. His nose on Scott’s shoulder huffing his impatience.

“He knows when we’re going hunting,” said Scott. “He can feel the road change and he’s knows we’re heading into the woods.”

Parking the car Tucker was just about climbing over the seats to get out. We quickly geared up, donned our orange, and headed out into the woods.

Tucker waiting impatiently

Tucker waiting impatiently

I should take a moment here to admit, I’m not a hunter – but I’ve taken an interest in the last several years and had been looking for an opportunity to get out in the woods. For me, the motivation is not so much to get a trophy as to experience the Adirondacks from a different point of view. I love the hike up a mountain and have instagramed my fair share of Adirondack scenery. But, I like the idea of heading out into the woods with another approach, off the trail, with an eye not towards the destination, but the topography of the land, the ground cover, the trees overhead, and the sites and sounds of the wildlife around you. Sure, I could just do more of these things on my hikes, but that’s not how I roll. I need a purpose, a mission if you will. It is, I suspected, a much more immersive and all around different experience.

Straight off Scott was quick to live up to the legendary knowledge and hospitality of ourAdirondack Guides, filling me in on the finer points of hunting Grouse and Woodcock in the Adirondacks. They’re generally ground birds so we were looking for areas with plenty of ground cover. Unlike other places, you don’t find a lot of open fields with good cover in the High Peaks. You’re generally going through thick forest, giving you only a matter of a coupleof seconds to get your shot between the time the dog flushes the bird out and it disappears into the trees. Making the hunting in the High Peaks one of the more challenging and satisfying hunting experiences.

Once we found an area with good cover, Tucker took over. This is where I discovered the fun of ‘watching the dog work.’ Scott and I had the easy job for the day. We walked through the woods, keeping our eyes and ears sharp, and following Tucker’s lead. Watching the dog hunt is an experience in and of itself. He can filter through the thousands of smells that must be going through his nose every second to find the particular dander given off by the Grouse and Woodcock, ducking and weaving he followed the same trail for hundreds of yards until he put us on the bird. Tucker pointed three birds throughout the morning, one buried amongst a stand of pine without enough clearing for a good shot, and two in the trees. A good number of flushes for a few hours work.

Bird Dog Hunting in the Adirondacks

Naturally Camouflaged

We didn’t get a bird this particular day. Of course that’s the ultimate goal, but this was still a great day in the woods. True to my expectations, hunting in the Adirondacks is an entirely different experience and a great way to spend some time in the Whiteface Region.

If you’re a hunter, or have ever known a hunter, you’ll understand when I say our exact location for the day is a bit of a secret. No one who hunts or fishes ever wants to give away their favorite spots. Fortunately, we’re in the Adirondacks and there’s no shortage of huntable land open to the general public! The Whiteface Region has some of the best, with the High Peaks Wilderness Area, Sentinel Range, and Wilmington Wild Forest all within a short drive.

AFTER THE HUNT – OCKTOBERFEST!

Ocktoberfest Whiteface Mountain

Finished exploring for the morning, Scott and I headed back into Wilmington for Whiteface Mountain’s annual Octoberfest. World class German Bands, juicy sausages, cold beer, and a ride up the Gondola made for the perfect afternoon to follow a morning hunt!

Whiteface Mountain October

Winter is coming!

 

September 2015

2015 Adirondack Grouse and Woodcock Season Begins!

The 2015 Adirondack grouse and woodcock season begins! The foliage was heavy with only about a 5% tinge of color peeking through. It was a little warmer than we like and turned out to be tough hunting for both of us! We were hunting new coverts that we identified after doing a little research into the 6 million acres of public land available for public use. My wire haired Griffon, Tucker put us on a few grouse and several woodcock this weekend! Woodcock season opens October 1 so these were just training opportunites for Tuck! I had 2 shot opportunities on the 3 grouse and was able to take one. I was a little behind and thus no fan left! I will go home and practice getting the gun up and swinging thru! It is always a challenge especially early season with the leaves still on. The shot opportunity is shortened from a 3 second chance down to a 1 second chance unless everything comes together just right. While I was reading the other day, I was reminded of a practice technique that one can try. Secure a mini-mag/small flashlight to the barrel of your favorite empty upland gamebird gun. From the ready carry position, shine the light into the corner where 2 walls meet at the cieling. Bring the gun up while keeping the light shining in the corner. Most will notice the light drops briefly when your hands aren’t coming up together. Now, while bringing the gun up, try and slide the light down the seam of the ceiling and wall from the corner while staying in front of the flushing bird! A good exercise to remind us of the speed and fluidity required to get in front of one of the fastest flying gamebirds out there! Especially while still composing ourselves from a startling flush! Have a great upland game bird season and give Tucker and I a call if you want to get out and hunt the big woods for some Adirondack Gouse and Woodcock!

Adirondack grouse season begins!

Adirondack grouse season begins!

Dead bird point

Dead bird point!

adirondack grouse and gun

Adirondack grouse and gun

July 2015

Fly Fishing West Branch of the Ausable River- adirondacks, usa

I had the great pleasure of fishing with Enrique Catalan last evening! The river was coming off of a warm spell. We had a nice rain event yesterday afternoon that started to cool things off but the fish activity was still a little slower than normal. Enrique was able to adapt his casting to the “wrong side” of the river and turn several fish before he set the hook on this sweet broad shouldered 16.5″ ausable river brown trout! It was another beautiful Adirondack evening on the Ausable River! It was great to spend an evening like that fishing with a new friend and fellow trout enthusiast on a quiet section of productive water! Definitely another “guide’s life” moment in the Adirondacks! (See you at the NYSASBO conference Enrique!)

Enrique Catalan July 2015

 

Adirondack fly fishing adventure on the Ausable River!

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of fishing with John S., his 2 sons Aaron and Peter, and his life long friend Ernie. The water level was high and we were confined to fishing close to the banks. The Ausable River fishes well at higher levels. The fish get pushed to the edges and the larger fish are on the prowl. We fished streamers and nymphs. These techniques were new to the guys but they were quick to catch on. They each turned and missed several good fish. John’s sons each hooked up with several good fish that managed to use the heavy current to their advantage and create the slack they needed to throw the fly. Ernie was able to land a 15″ brown in heavy water on a streamer! Good fun and a lot of “river wisdom” was shared by all!

“Life is short, art is long and nature is better than both!”-‘Nessmuk’ (George Washington Sears-‘Godfather of the Adirondacks’)

John and Ernie