November has come in on balmy temperatures, hot on the heels of October where 22 days had temperatures above the average. And there is no real break in sight in the short-term forecast, which has outdoor enthusiasts a bit edgy. We are two weeks out from deer season and one is not wrong to expect some chill in the air.
The warm weather has been nice on the heating bills but not a gift to the hunters that are in their glory days. By now we’d expect some hard frosts and skim ice on smaller lakes on some mornings. Not this year. This one is simply running warm.
Be that as it may, the season of the whitetail rut is at hand and for archers this is prime time. Every year Field & Stream magazine picks the top days of the rut and this year is no exception. Notable is this Tuesday, Election Day, the day F&S picks as the best day of the rut. Simply put, this is the time to take a day off work and spend as much time in the stand as possible. Period. This is the week to hunt deer for any archer with a tag to fill.
Rifle hunters have a few weeks to prep gear and stands. Then comes their nine-day season, a frenzy of activity and effort and, for some, reward. As far as the rut goes the ‘best days’ picks Friday, Nov. 18, the day before opening as a key day and who is to say it won’t taper over to Saturday. And if that isn’t enough the following Tuesday, Nov. 22, also is high on the list.
All of which is to say deer and deer hunting are on a lot of minds of late. For non-hunters the annual caution: Deer will move all day and with some abandon which can make driving a challenge. Slow down and pay attention.
The mild weather has done no favors for waterfowl hunters. There simply has not been any major push of northern ducks into the area and the clock is ticking down. It will take a surge of stormy weather and favorable winds and that has simply not happened this year. As with last week and the week prior, it is a waiting game now for duck hunters.
Upland hunters have the best conditions of the year with leaf fall done and birds much more visible on when they take flight. We’ve not had a good, hard frost which seems to spur grouse activity but hunting has been decent. Of note is that woodcock season ends Nov. 7 and the same lack of migration that has bothered duck hunters is affecting woodcock numbers.
Fishing continues and will do so into the waning days of open water but this is the season of the hunters and this is their time to shine.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff at Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander.