Thirty days ago we were coming off a string of days of record-setting heat.Temperatures hit 70 day after day. Spring, early as it may be, was surely here, we exalted! Fast forward to this week just past where temps in the 30’s and 40’s were the norm, and made to feel cooler still by a biting northerly wind. Easter brought strong winds and chill temps that made many an Easter egg hunt all the more invigorating. How things change in the Northwoods.
That, as they say, is April-a foolish month that typically brings a full gamut of weather that often brings to mind mid-November as a means of comparison. Into this month of weather turmoil march the outdoor enthusiasts who, more often than not, are puzzled by just what there options are.
On a mild April day we are partial to fishing, bike riding or kayaking. On a bitter day in this month we tend toward hunkering down and doing very little, save for complaining about the weather. Oh, except for turkey hunters, who usually venture forth regardless of the weather.
The turkey season’s preamble took place last weekend in a 2-day Youth Hunt. That hunt usually does not fill the woods with young hunters, but our gut feeling was that with spring break at most schools underway, perhaps more than normal got out. Reports we had were generally favorable, but final harvest numbers will tell the true tale.
Wednesday brought the full season, now extended to seven days per hunt period versus the five day we’ve had in the past. It is too early at the time of this report to have a feel for things, but we have to admit to hearing fewer reports of turkeys in the area this spring. It may be that they dispersed far sooner in the warm weather of March, or it may be that numbers are down. Time will tell on that front.
Early turkey hunting is usually a matter of sitting over decoys at sunrise and calling, and most hunters will start the season using that tactic. The wild card is if birds breed early, in which case gobblers may not respond as readily. Then it may be a matter of waiting until later in the morning, when toms leave the hens and will come to calls.
Fishing took a hit this week with the cold fronts that moved into the area. We have had very few reports of good panfish action, and those anglers fishing the Wisconsin River down from Tomahawk report smallish walleyes and not much else. Steady warm weather will help and the forecast does look better for this upcoming week.
The early spring, the consistent winds, and the lack of greenery all point to increased risk of wild fires. A simple reminder to be careful with any fire these days. A small, manageable blaze can blow up in to a major fire in a matter of minutes.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.