We are into the nine day deer hunt season during which not much else happens in the outdoors in this area; for that matter, across the entire state. When 600,000, give or take, hunters take to the woods they tend to dominate the news and the entire culture of the state. There really is not much else going on.
Typically, over half the total deer killed for the nine days are taken on the Saturday and Sunday of the opening. As a rule, most of those are taken by hunters on stands; drives and still hunting usually come later in the week.
The season shows promise. Deer numbers are much improved over the past couple years as the northern herd rebounds from a killer winter, and the rut is still on with reports of bucks chasing does coming in all this past week.
As with all seasons weather is a key element. Snow cover in the area seems unlikely or spotty at best. Temperatures are on the cool side but not bitter cold. The moon is dark and deer will move more during daylight hours in part due to moon phase, in part due to a ban on baiting.
With most hunters on stands all weekend, doe-in-heat scents will be a good tactic given the late rut activity. Bucks will move all day during the rut and this weekend it’s imperative to be out there as long as one can.
Regulations have shown changes with the baiting ban and the law passed that does not require a physical tag be attached. In the eleventh-hour bill signing a week ago, the minimum age limit requirement was eliminated; a measure that seems to have little support from what we’ve heard. Bottom line is there are changes in the laws and hunters need be aware of them.
After all is said and done, we know this: Deer numbers are up, hunt conditions look very good, the rut is still on. All this leads to predictions of a very good hunt this weekend and into the following week.
While all eyes are on deer hunting, an early freeze up has many lakes under ice already and while it is still not safe for ice fishing (in spite of some views to the contrary) the stage is set for post-hunt outdoor winter sports to start off soon.
A variety of outdoor products is available at Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander.