Outdoor Report: Birds are on the move and change is abundant
The last week brought changes that will impact the rest of the fall season. Leaves have started to drop; nighttime temperatures leave frost at dawn; fall storms move birds southward. We had all that in the past 7 days.
Last weekend, a strong north wind brought the first major move of migrating birds into (and in many cases, out of) the area. Waterfowl hunters last Saturday nearly universally reported huge numbers of ducks migrating. Many of those ducks did not stay and for all the ducks on the wing success was varied. But they were on the move.
That first migration moved many local ducks out and brought the first wave of migrants to the area. Big water now becomes more of a factor and duck hunters should expect ongoing migration now of redheads, ring-necks and bluebills. Weather will determine the success but a fall storm can bring a lot of birds to the area.
Upland hunters saw the same weather bring the first good push of woodcock down. That will continue into the next weeks of peak woodcock hunting. Woodcock, like ducks, are a “now you see them, now you don’t” bird as they will fly in, rest up for a day or two, and then move out. If you are in the woods at the right time you’ll find dozens of woodcock; the next day none.
Deer are beginning to move toward fall food sources now and we’ve had more reports of deer activity. The rut is weeks away yet but some bucks will get antsy even this early and deer hunting will improve.
The Youth Deer Hunt is this weekend and that means two things: young hunters have a 2-day hunt for whitetails with rifles. And second, all other hunters except for waterfowlers need to wear blaze orange clothing as they would in rifle season. So an archer this weekend needs to dress in blaze as does upland hunters.
Fishing takes a back seat now but those who are out have seen muskies starting to come on and that will continue in the weeks ahead.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.