We go headlong into the weekend on the wave of temperatures far more summer-like than autumnal. The highest temperature last month was 85; we may top that on Saturday. And this after a string of five consecutive days a week ago of 80 degrees plus. The weather this year has been a strange mix and September is not doing anything to break that pattern.
None of this hot weather does anything favorable for the now ongoing hunting seasons. A week ago saw the opening of archery deer season and high temperatures kept more hunters at home than in the woods. This weekend will do more of the same.
Spoilage of downed animals is a very real concern for big game hunters, both deer and bear hunters. As a result we saw a drop in hunter numbers, and enthusiasm, last weekend that shows no sign of changing this weekend.
This weekend marks the opening of waterfowl season; ducks and woodcock now will be legal. Ducks, first off, are scattered; there is simply too much standing water to bring any real concentration of them. The wild rice crop is spotty at best and that, combined with all the water, will make locating ducks this weekend problematic. Add to that a forecast of 86 for Saturday and the opening stanza for duck season looks less optimistic than we’d like.
Local duck numbers are good and overall the population of waterfowl in North America is very good. So there is potential for excellent hunting ahead, it all depends on being in the right place when ducks move into this area. For now, local birds will make up the bag for most hunters.
Grouse hunting opened a week ago and reports are slim as it was too hot for most bird dogs to work and the leaf cover is too extensive. That will not change this weekend, even as woodcock season opens. We don’t expect much in the upland woods.
Fishing continues and the hot, steady weather may make for a decent weekend before mid-week weather changes and probably puts fish down for a few days. The Hodag Musky Challenge tourney takes place this weekend so we’ll have a better idea on musky action as reports come in.
It will be more summer-like in terms of temperature this weekend and fish will be caught between summer and autumn in their patterns. Two weeks ago we saw the shift to fall patterns start but since then warming temperatures have stalled things. We don’t think there will be any major changes in what we’ve seen as muskies continue to take buck tails and walleyes move to minnows. We did get reports of very good crappie angling of late in 10-15 feet of water on some area lakes.
All-in-all it will be a spectacular weekend in terms of balmy weather and fall color coming on. Cyclists will find some wonderful conditions even as the hunting crowd slows due to the warm weather. But one cannot turn back the calendar and soon all this will change as true autumn weather returns.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.