For hunters, the nine most important days of the year are upon us
Gun-deer season is here
BY ROGER SABOTA
Special to the Star Journal
That time of year has finally arrived. Saturday morning at daybreak the 2016 gun-deer hunting season began.
This year there are several changes that will influence the hunt and behavior of the hunters. Most hunters are aware of these changes but several merit a reminder.
One change will impact those hunters who hunt in the northern third of the state. In effort to rebuild the size of the deer herd only bucks will be legal to shoot. Some hunters claim that in a season when only antlered deer may be shot the deer will be more active. Others have said that in a situation in the north where hunting over bait is not legal because of CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) deer are on the move as they have to search harder and farther for food. Obviously, the area where a hunter is hunting has an effect on the movement of deer.
During the archery season I hunted relatively frequently and did not see a deer. The deer that I did see were feeding on agricultural crops. Hopefully, the presence of deer where I hunt will change during rifle season.
For those hunters who may be unsure whether they hunt in an area where baiting and feeding is prohibited the DNR’s website (dnr.wi.gov key word CWD) provides a map of the state of Wisconsin that provides this information. Those hunting in Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties know that baiting and feeding is prohibited but some may be hunting in other counties.
Another change in the hunting regulations this year has to do with the carcass tags. This year the DNR changed from the old aluminum tags or sturdy plasticized paper to the “Go Wild” licensing system. Carcass tags are printed on regular copy paper. It is questionable how these “paper” tags will hold up in the elements especially if we have the rain or snow that is in the forecast.
Hunters need to validate the tags by writing the time and date of the kill on the tag. If you laminated a tag you will need a pen that can write on plastic.
Some hunters are placing the tag in a plastic bag. Those hunting deer with a bow or gun must have the paper tag with them. The tag only needs to be attached to the deer if the hunter leaves the deer.
This new method is meeting with mixed reviews from hunters.
Recently some of the members of our family gathered to sight in their guns. I have always suggested that this should be an important part of preparing for any hunting season. That can sometimes make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful hunt. Unfortunately, I can attest to that.
According to George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the WWF is
sponsoring an effort to educate sportsmen and women about the need to be active to protect federal public lands for hunting, fishing, trapping and other recreational pursuits.
If you are driving between Wausau and Mosinee on I-39 you can see one of the billboards sponsored by the WWF, through a grant. There are two additional billboards; one on Highway 41/141 north of Green Bay and one on Highway 53 between Eau Claire and Rice Lake.
According to the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation there are continuing efforts in the U.S. Congress to sell off federal lands that are used by Wisconsin hunters, fishermen and women and trappers.
According to the Wisconsin DNR 309,805 deer were killed last year by hunters in all seasons in Wisconsin. Only 49,061 or 13 percent were taken on the state’s 5.7 million acres of public land.
With the increased number of people in the woods for the next nine days there may be additional sightings of what is thought to be a cougar. In what I have read, it appears these cougars have most likely originated in the Black Hills of South Dakota and are looking for new territory. Any sightings on trail cameras, or tracks should be reported to the DNR.
Longtime Northwoods outdoor enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.