Outdoor Report: As fall approaches hunting begins
Early this past week, if you stood in the right place, you could hear the occasional sound like thunder in the distance. But no thunder on this day; this was the sound of shotguns for the Early Goose Season had opened and with it the entry to the season of the hunt. Now hunting shares the stage with fishing as we move into autumn. The early September seasons of the hunt will carry to the end of the year and beyond.
We have heard some reports of success in the goose hunting ranks but it’s been scattered. That, of course, can change overnight as a flight of birds can arrive without notice. For now the goose hunt is a matter of opportunity; if a hunter can locate a flock of geese and get in position things can be pretty productive given a high daily limit and pleasant hunt conditions.
Dove season also started but that is mostly a non-factor in this area. Things get far more serious with the upcoming archery season for deer and the same-day start for grouse. Deer numbers are reported to be pretty good but with the lingering summer they are spread out and not focused on a single food source. That can make it difficult to pattern deer movement.
While some hunter scoff at the early days of the deer hunt we always favor them given that deer are generally less cautious given that it’s been a long time since they’ve been hunted. The first days can be very productive for those who spend some time scouting and have a decent stand location.
Grouse season is another matter. Grouse numbers are on the slide, not dramatically so from a year ago but down a bit nonetheless. And there has been concern over loss broods of chicks given a chilly, wet period in early June when they hatched out. Add to that the nearly impenetrable cover of the mid September opening and grouse hunting becomes, for the first weeks, more a matter of taking a pleasant stroll in the autumn woods.
Fishing remains steady for the most part. We had reports of some very good walleye fishing this week (crawlers on jigs fished next to weedy areas); bass remain pretty good (largemouth especially have been active); muskies remain pretty much unpredictable with hopes of improvement as the weather cools.
We are in a significant transition period now as summer gives up the ghost and autumn comes on strong. Fishing will be a matter of steady weather (fluctuating fronts slowed it this week) while hunting is a matter of good location and, again, good weather. But in the next 30 days we will be in for some huge changes in the outdoors as fall comes in and with it some great opportunities.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.