What Obsession, dear? Deer?



Dan was born and raised in Camden, NY. His commitment to hard work and love of the outdoors was instilled in him at a young age. He attended Paul Smith’s College and graduated with honors in 1981. In the years to follow, Dan “stayed the course” by working as a woodlands caretaker, hunting & fishing guide, forester, logging supervisor, timber cruiser, and an acquisition agent. It was Dan’s love for the woods and his desire to provide land to “everyday folks” that prompted him to form Christmas & Associates, Inc. in 1989.

Dan’s interests include hunting, fishing, trapping, canoeing, Alpine and Nordic skiing & snowboarding but he will say that his greatest accomplishment in life was raising six beautiful children. Dan’s devotion to family, love for the land, generous spirit and strong work ethic have shaped his life and formed the foundation and success of Christmas & Associates, Inc.

Lands and Camps Website


Hunters Report More Deer in 2017

This is post is by Dan Christmas.  Originally posted on Facebook the last day of traditional deer hunting season in the ADKS in 2017.  Thanks to Dan for letting us share it. 

For the first time in many years I’m facing the last day of hunting season without a buck.

My wife says, “honey this has become an obsession with you” and as she continued in not so friendly terms “ I’ll be glad when it’s over” Actually she didn’t say “ honey” in addressing me…I made that up.

Obsession you say, “I doubt it!”

Yes I did take way too much time off work this November, and maybe I forgot a couple of birthdays, and ok I’m still driving a few thousand miles on the under sized spare tire on my truck but obsession you say?

Every piece of hunting gear, clothing, radios, binoculars, food and water is piled high in the back seat of my truck which proves I’m careful in my daily preparations, certainly not the habits consistent with someone obsessed.

Ok maybe my ankles and torn up knees are stiff and throbbing and my boots leak a little but I take my Advil and sleep with the heating pad on my back each night. Clearly I’m considerate of my body!

“Haven’t I been promising you a foot rub every night just before I doze off till 5 am?”

Obviously well rested, would an obsessed man be so worried about his rest? Of course not!

This morning as I put my boots on, starring at a plank floor that’s not been swept in a while, (approximately one month) I think about the first time hunter with his eight pointers, the little teenage girl with her first buck (also a big eight pointer) and even the Syracuse city slicker with his ten point buck and my mood sours a little.

I used to love sharing pictures on Facebook now I skip over anything with an antler!

I love to listen to Christmas music in my truck, until I song comes on about Rudolph the red nose reindeer, that pisses me off too!

Obsession? Nonsense.

When you grow up in the North Country and it’s November you don’t get asked about your kids, how’s the wife? or the weather. NO, you go to Byrne dairy, the mechanics shop, the hardware store and even the elementary school and there’s one looming question.

“Did you get your buck yet”? Usually followed by, “did you hear about the one so and so got?”

It is more than a man can take!

Then if the last day comes and goes you start to stew and fret over next year and what if you go two years without a buck????

Well, that’s when you start hearing guys talk about their age, all the Buck’s they used to kill, how they just enjoy “being out there in the woods” and worst of all you may hear a man who has accepted his fate talking of a fall wine tour with his wife!!!!

Well that my friend is when you know you’re washed up, a failure, a forgotten man.  A has been!

There’s one more day to get my buck, tomorrow is it, bottom of the ninth, fourth quarter, last gasp, Hail Mary, wing and a prayer, last bite at the Apple.

At 5 am I’ll begin my morning ritual.  Turn off the heating pad, forget to brush my teeth, no time to shave, down four Advil, choke down two cups of very dark coffee (spilling at least 30% in my lap) turn my socks so the heel hole faces up, boots on, medicated patch on back and knees. Heading to the woods, the cold, dark woods.  I’ll sit in a chair left by another old hunter around 1966 and wait for a deer, teeth chattering, shoulders and legs quivering uncontrollably until just after daylight at which time you begin your stalk. Up ridges, down valleys, across swamps and icy logs spanning fast moving streams.  That’s when you remember it’s just nice to be in the woods!



First Time Hunter Bags a Buck

This post was first published on on October 20, 2015. Written by Long Lake Events Coordinator, Steph Hample

The snow had finally started to stick on the ground in the northern Adirondacks the day I shot my very first deer. My father-in-law told me to walk approximately a quarter of a mile down the trail to where it starts to slope downhill and to tuck myself off the trail. He would try to drive deer to me from the marsh. I have a terrible sense of distance so at what seemed to be a quarter of a mile and the slightest downhill I started to step off the trail. There was a good sized rock just off the trail that I tried to get to approach, but as I stepped off the trail the fresh snow barely muffled the loud, echoing crunch of the leaves beneath it. My foot sank up to my knees making the loudest crackling snaps from the frozen leaves. As I was thinking how loud I was being, I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up to see two deer, one with antlers, one without.

Steph Hample with her first buck.

Steph Hample with her first buck.

They froze, I froze.

Three thoughts sped through my mind, Whoa. Antlers. I can shoot. Then a pause, “was I really going to do this?”

I took the Hunters Safety course when I was twelve years old. I went into the woods a couple of times with my dad, but it took me twenty-one more years before I finally felt ready to harvest a deer. Was I actually going to kill this beautiful animal standing before me? Yes, I was. Everything my dad had taught me ran through my head; wait until they’re broadside; aim for the rear of the shoulder, middle of the chest; just squeeze the trigger; listen for the deer after you shoot; you won’t notice your ears ringing. In what felt like forever, but probably less than 30 seconds after stepping off the trail into the noisy brush I raised my dad’s gun to my shoulder and took aim. Attempting to slow my breathing was nearly impossible and expletives ran through my head as I put my finger on the trigger and squeezed. The first thing I noticed after I pulled the trigger was my ringing ears.

My dad said one of two things would happen once you’ve shot a deer; 1 – you’ll shoot and the deer will run and fall somewhere else or 2 – you’ll shoot and the deer will just run away. He didn’t mention a third option; you’ll shoot and the deer will just drop.

The deer fell to the ground. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the female run off. The buck was trying to get back up and it was one of the hardest things to watch. I attempted to take a second shot but I was shaking so hard that I completely missed. I’m not too proud to admit that watching him on the ground trying to get back up made me tear up. I walked over to him and laid my hand on his back and waited for him to stop moving. I’ve already been lectured and now realize in hindsight it was not the smartest move to stand next to a dying animal that has antlers and hooves, but I knew I had to be there when he finally died. I knew he was gone when the hair on his legs slowly relaxed.

I stood up, shocked, solemn and proud at what I had just done. After I cleared my head I counted the antlers; eight! My first deer was a beautiful eight point buck. My dad and father-in-law were going to be so proud! I couldn’t wait for my father-in-law to get there. I stood around waiting for him to show up thinking he must have heard the shots, he should be right here. At about the same moment I heard a branch snap. I called out my father-in-law’s name, turning toward the noise expecting to see him only to see another buck staring back at me. I couldn’t believe it. I had just shot a nice eight-point buck and here was a second one literally walking over to me. We eyed each other for a few seconds before he eventually ran off, but I was floored by my experience.

When my father-in-law finally found me he used a few choice works, smiled, handed me his phone and said, “Call your Dad.” We quickly field dressed the deer so my father-in-law could follow the trail of the second deer, but he searched without luck.

The snow on the ground made the drag easier, which was helpful since the deer weighed more than I did. Back in town my buck weighed in at 167lbs. I think everyone was surprised that this big buck was shot by a “girl”. I eventually took it back to my parents’ house where my dad helped me skin it, my mom helped me butcher it and my kids helped me eat it. Now the deer hangs on my wall, beautifully mounted for all to see (and for me to brag about).

The prize proudly displayed

The prize proudly displayed

I’m excited to head out into the woods again this year. I know that I will probably never have a story that quite compares to this one but I’m just happy to be able to get back out there and hopefully enjoy another one of Mother Nature’s free-range, hormone-free, organic bucks.

written by: Steph Hample

Steph Hample was a biologist at the Wild Center for eight years. She is currently the Events Coordinator for the Town of Long Lake planning activities year-round for the communities of Long Lake and Raquette Lake. When she’s not busy researching trivia questions she’s out conquering ambitious hikes around the Adirondacks and spending time with her two children and loving pets.

Hunters Dinner to Benefit Teen Center, Nutrition Site & Ham Radio Club

The Town of Long Lake in conjunction with student volunteers from Long Lake Central School and chef Jim Piraino will be serving up a delicious Roast Pork Dinner on Saturday, November 13th at the Long Lake Town Hall on Route 30 at 5pm. Meals are $7.50 and Kids under 5 are Free.

Traditionally Hunter’s Dinners had been hosted in years past to welcome visitors to our towns, to provide an affordable hot meal and a place to share nostalgic stories.

The Hunters Dinner aims to rekindle evocative tales about the buck, the moose, the wild boar and the snipe all hunted through the back country of the Adirondacks.

Serving dinner will provide an opportunity for fund raising for the kids of Long Lake, expand our new and growing Ham Radio Club and to help off-set the costs of new pots and pans for the Nutrition Site at the Town Hall which serves up hot meals daily to our senior population.

Long Lake