Outdoor Report:The leaves are changing as hunting and fishing heat up
We are full into what many consider the single best time of the entire year. This week should bring fall color; brilliant splashes of yellow and red as if the countryside was afire. Warm weather dominated the past week but frosty mornings have now given notice that the days of gardens are numbered. We’ve seen some early migrants, woodcock this week, and more are poised to move south. And fishing is now entering the time when large fish, muskies and walleyes, are on the move.
Color is running late this season but this past week we saw it come on. Given good conditions the next 7 to 10 days should bring the best of the season. The feeling is that we’ve had enough moisture to bring good color but we’ll know in the next 2 weeks for certain. And the mild weather this past week brought a late hatch of mosquitoes that was unexpected as well as unwelcome. Not to add more to the list but we are seeing a lot of wood ticks of late as well.
But more than that we are now into the major hunt seasons. Duck season opened to mixed reviews a week ago. Now ducks are scattered and it takes some hard work to find them. We should see some early migrants soon, depending on the weather. But overall it was not a stellar opening.
The first flight of migrating woodcock came in last weekend in time for the opening of that season. They will continue to trickle on down and the major push is a few weeks away. Foliage is still thick which makes for tough hunting for both woodcock and grouse. Grouse numbers are decent but birds are scattered. We’re still hearing of coveys of 4-5 birds showing up. Those birds will disperse soon and as leaves drop hunting will improve.
Deer hunt success is mixed and a lot of archers are waiting for the next month and the rut. A few hard frosts should help pattern deer better as summer food sources fade.
Fishing is mixed of late but lakes continue to cool down and the best of fall angling is ahead of us.
Overall we are moving steadily into the best hunting and late fishing seasons and now that October is near we can expect hunting and fishing to go from good to better.
And one word of caution: Oct. 5 and 6 are the days of the Youth Deer Hunt. That means upland hunters as well as archers need to wear blaze orange as per the law. And given that it may be peak color, we advise anyone in the woods those days to wear some blaze orange clothing.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.