I magine 450 acres of open hay fields, overgrown grassland and Northeastern forest. It would be the ideal playground for the outdoorsman, which is exactly what Putnam resident Kevin Hart thought when he looked at a parcel of land just south of Ticonderoga.
Hart recently opened Putnam Flats Hunting Preserve, a private hunting preserve featuring several varieties of native birds, on the southbound side of Route 22 just south of the parking area below Ticonderoga.
The preserve is brand new and Hart said they are looking for members.
Local outdoorsmen can purchase a yearly membership to the preserve and hunt a variety of fowl that Hart purchases and releases every week.
Although the preserve is sure to be a hit among the experienced hunter, Hart formed it with the intent of getting youth and families involved in the sport.
“I want to get kids outdoors and hunting,” he said. “What happens traditionally is kids get squeezed out.
There is a problem with getting new hunters out there because they are competing with adult hunters with dogs.”
The more experienced and knowledgeable outdoorsmen can make the hunting experience more intimidating and less fruitful for the youth hunter, who may be out for only the second or third time.
It’s Hart’s hope that the preserve will provide kids and their families an opportunity to try the sport together and if they’re lucky, bag their first bird.
“There’s nothing around here that offers youth an opportunity to go hunting,” he said.
The preserve will host several free youth hunts sponsored by groups like the Northern Washington County Fish and Game Club, the Adirondack Conservation Council and the Ticonderoga Fish and Game Club.
They will also offer free shooting clinics where the inexperience can learn how to safely and properly use a firearm.
Consisting of a mix of overgrown grass and farm land with dense cover and some hayfields that are in production, the preserve is an ideal habitat for a variety of birds.
“It’s just great terrain for this,” Hart said.
Hart purchase pheasants, partridges, quail and chucker’s every week and then releases those birds onto the preserve where members will have a chance to hunt them.
Hunters can buy and the hunt an unlimited number of birds when the go hunting. The preserve is open through March 31 (it opened on Sept. 1).
Anyone who would like to learn more about the preserve is encouraged to call Hart at 547-8359 or send him an email at [email protected]