October continues on a relatively lazy pace of moderate temperatures and very little frost. The most significant weather event was the torrential downpours on Monday of this week past. That heavy rain loaded woods and waters with multiple inches of rain in a short time. Some back roads were damaged and low areas are now loaded with water. Access to some areas will be limited for some time.
That rain brought leaves down; good news for upland hunters. It raised lake levels; a mixed bag for anglers. And it had more than one resident wondering how much snow it would have brought!
So, we go into late October now with very similar conditions, save for the storms aftermath, from last week. We have lacked any real weather that would have brought migrating ducks and woodcock down. Duck hunters continue to have inconsistent luck this month as ducks are trickling though but any big push simply has not happened. That can change overnight, literally, if the weather changes to wind and storm but the short-term forecast does not seem to hold promise of that.
Upland hunters are now finding better conditions as leaf fall progresses. Grouse numbers are steady compared to last year and hunters are seeing more birds.
There was a major flight of woodcock two weeks ago but since then not very much at all. Still, hunters who are putting time in the woods are doing well, though not exceptionally well.
Deer are looking more active and the rut draws closer. We are a few weeks away from peak rut but we are seeing a few scrapes and things will only get better over the next two weeks. Bucks will still be in bachelor groups now but those groups will break up soon.
Fishing has been unspectacular of late. The lack of hard cold has kept lake waters warmer than usual and there has just not been much going on for anglers. We should have seen an uptick by now but it has not really happened and anglers are still waiting patiently for a late autumn move by larger fish.
We are a month away from rifle season and it is time for some preparation for that. The mild weather makes for a good time to sight in rifles now as well as clear stands and shooting lanes. The weeks will pass quickly so time spent now is a good investment for a successful hunt in November.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.