Hot week ahead for fall hunting
A week of balmy weather to come would seem to offer two options: One, an extension of summer; time to get out and enjoy summer activities. Or, two, a delay of oncoming autumn and a slower pace for hunt seasons; time to put that on temporary hold. Take your pick. Regardless it is what it is and this week offers up mild temps at the same time we head into some major fall hunt times.
Last weekend the hunt seasons opened to mostly silent shotguns. Geese, which had been fairly widespread and previous weeks, changed patterns and many hunters looked at empty skies where only days before they’d seen geese. Teal season opened for a weeklong run but that season seems underutilized by most water fowlers. And dove season kicked off to very little excitement.
This weekend presents a trifecta: Archery deer, fall turkey and grouse seasons all open and between the three they draw more hunters into the woods and fields than last weekend’s trio of openings.
Start with what we know: The forecast shows hot weather and leaf cover is still very thick. Neither factor bodes well for hunters. Deer numbers are decent so we have that to go with but heat (and forecast highs of 80 constitute heat) will keep deer looking for heavy cover. But early season, when bucks have not been hunted and are not quite as tuned to hunt pressure, can be very good. Best tactic is to hunt early mornings when cool temps will make things more reasonable.
Grouse numbers are down, there seems no mystery to that. But no matter the numbers, a hot weekend is very hard on hunt dogs and the thick vegetation makes shots near impossible. If hunters do go out and use dogs having a good source of water is mandatory. Heat stroke for dogs is a real thing and 80 degree days can be harsh on all dogs. For hunters without dogs the weekend hold more promise of a nice walk in the woods than for a productive hunt.
The turkey population is good, nothing exceptional but solid. Hunters should find decent opportunities in that realm.
And through all the openings of hunt seasons fishing remains a constant. It’s been slow and this week’s heat will not do much to change that. Deeper, colder water will be where the fish are now but they will move into shallower waters in the next few weeks as it cools down.
For now the weekend looks like a hot one, well suited for late summer sports even as hunt seasons open. Hunters may well take the weekend off or keep hunts short as 80 degree days loom.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.