You will read this as summer fades and autumn nears. There is no denying the simple fact that we are a mere week out from the start of fall hunting season as the days of August wane into earlier darkness and cooler mornings. Hunters need mark the date, Sept. 1, as the start of the fall hunt. Anglers need pay attention to the transition from summer heat to fall coolness and adjust accordingly.
Early goose season and dove season open on Sept. 1. The former, goose hunting, has some popularity in the area dependent, no surprise, on the presence of geese; some years they are here in good numbers, some years not. It’s too early to tell for certain what this year will bring, but there seem to be a few geese, local birds, working some of the fields.
Dove season is, for the majority of hunters, a non-factor in the north, and we note the opening only as a measure of the change in the seasons. Most doves here are urban birds, as lack of major agriculture limits their numbers in hunting areas to more casual encounters and less predictable for hunting.
But all of this leads to the inescapable fact that in the next few weeks some major hunt seasons begin, as Sept. 15 kicks off deer archery season, grouse season and fall turkey hunting, as well as a two-day youth waterfowl hunt. In between, on Sept. 5, bear season opens.
All of which is to say that for many enthusiasts the next weeks mark a major move to hunting seasons. Even now archers should be practicing as well as preparing stands and related gear. And they should be in the field scouting early season hunting areas. The deer herd is decent this year, and the first week of the season can be a very good time to take a buck that is not yet used to being hunted.
Anglers need to be in tune with changing conditions. August has not (at the time of this report) brought heavy heat, and cooler nights have started to bring water temperatures down slightly. This trend will continue, and while we’ll have some hot days ahead, the overall trend will be to fall angling. That means water temperatures will continue to slide and fish, notably muskies and walleyes, will be more active.
August has seen some steady musky fishing, a surprise as the big fish often seem to disappear in the heat. Walleyes remain spotty at best and bass, also predictably, have been holding steady through the heat. All that will begin to shift if the next two weeks bring lower daytime highs, and by mid-September we should be full into some good fall angling.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.