Fall has arrived with plenty to enjoy
We are into the season now, into autumn and into the time of rapid change. Hunt seasons are opening; deer and grouse last week; woodcock this; waterfowl in another week. The youth duck hunt looms. Darkness comes earlier and that brings some despair for it was a thin summer in many folks’ eyes and the change to fall for them is not comfortable.
Be that as it may, we are into fall season and we need to accept that and enjoy it for what it is. And this, as we move into the final phases of September, is what we have: hunting is taking front stage from fishing even though fishing can be very good; bicyclists and boaters are using the last mild days of the season to enjoy things; and winter preparations now nag at every house owner.
Hunting first. We are still in summer conditions for the most part. Leaf cover is too thick for grouse and woodcock hunting to provide more than simple exercise. Deer are still moving based on late summer food choices though acorns are falling in many areas and that will attract deer. And the waterfowl season coming up is always driven by opening weekend weather.
Bird hunters will see conditions improve and archers will see better conditions but warier deer. Deer often are a bit more relaxed in the first week of the season but increased activity in the woods puts them on alert. As leaves drop deer are simply easier to spot at a distance and that works to the archer’s advantage.
Duck populations are steady but ducks can pick up and move out overnight. That has not changed. But a meager wild rice crop will have ducks more scattered this season and those who find rice will have a good opening next week.
Fishing activity tapers off now; one can only do so much and if hunting is on the docket it’s a matter of choosing one or the other. Too bad for fishing from now until ice up can be exceptional and big fish will be on the move. Any day from now until November can produce big walleyes and muskies. The steady anglers will be out and using larger, slower-moving lures as water temps drop.
Fall color is just beginning and the next two to three weeks will bring it to full. A wet fall usually brings better color and we’ve had a very wet run of late.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.