Sept. 1 and a page turned in the outdoor activity playbook; summer is gone, autumn is here. Labor Day Weekend marks the turn on the calendar but the change is in the air, now cooler and drier than a week or two ago. Change also in the woods and waters; splashes of early fall color now spark the land. September is here and with it the new season.
Early Goose Season, Teal season and Dove seasons all started on the first of the month. With the exception of goose hunting none of them are major factors in outdoor life in the north. Goose hunting can be very good in the early season as local birds are gathering in migratory flocks even as a trickle of migrants drift in. It is a hit and miss season as birds shift locations based on food sources. Find a good field or lake and you can have good hunting in the early days.
Teal and dove hunting don’t much register in the north woods and get scant attention from most gunners.
In a few weeks deer hunting kicks in with the archery season as grouse hunting starts for the upland hunters. Reports indicate both species are showing in decent numbers this fall. The deer herd is on a steady recovery after the devastating winter of a few years back. Grouse numbers seem to be benefiting from a favorable spring.
A significant change in deer hunting comes from the ban on baiting in Oneida and Vilas Counties. That alone will have an impact on deer movement. The last time a ban was enacted in this area, in the early 2000’s, hunters saw far move deer activity during daylight hours. We can expect that to be the case this season as well. The other key is that without bait or feed (both are banned) deer will need to find natural food sources, acorns and late season crops foremost. Archers will now be far better able to hunt runways leading to food sources than they were in the past when baiting was allowed.
While the major attention has shifted to hunt season fishing remains viable. Fish will begin to shift their locations on a given lake in the next weeks as water temperature drops and weed growth slows. Key areas for all fish remain the deeper water areas of weeds next to gravel or rock, as well as drop-offs near the shoreline where shallows drop quickly to deeper water. Those areas will produce fish most of the year and in changing times as September brings will always be a good place to start.
A late hatch of mosquitoes puts mosquito repellants back on the “must have” list for all who are outside but the mild weather typical of early September makes this a special time of the year.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff at Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander.