Bright autumn leaves on gray skies
The most dominant story of the outdoor scene this week came not from the typical hunting and fishing activities (though they remain in the fore) but from the simple fact of peak fall color combined with dreary, cool and rainy days. One fears that the color will pass but the chill fall weather is here to stay!
Time, as always, will tell.
But fall color is at its peak this week and any time spent out of doors is made all the more special by the true glory of autumnal color. It does not get better than this. Nor will it last for long. For now though any drive down any back road is special in this time of color and wonder.
The other side of the coin lies in gray days of heavy cloud cover and, starting the week at least, ongoing rainfalls. We saw some dry weeks in late summer; they are now a faded memory in light of a wet September and early October. This too shall pass.
Still, the wet weather did no favors over the past week and we have had fewer reports than normal of hunt and fish activity not so much because of a lack of success but simply due to a lack of hours spent outside. Rainy weather does that. Sitting on a deer stand or walking the woods for grouse or woodcock seem like time wasted and even water fowlers, for whom wet weather is not a deal breaker, see better things to do than to spend all day hunkered down in rain.
Be that as it may we expect waterfowl hunting to transition now from mostly local birds to migrating flocks of ducks. Weather, storms and favorable winds, will drive all this but typically the next weeks will bring ringnecks, redheads and some mixed ducks down from Canada even as local mallards and wood ducks head south.
Deer hunting usually finds a lull in mid October; many archers now wait for the rut to come. Last weekend saw the youth hunt but rainy weather did not help the cause there and we expect numbers to be down a bit.
Fishing is into the fall phase now with walleyes and muskies feeding more aggressively. That pattern will certainly continue for the next month until ice up. Again, rain cut time on the water but when it breaks we expect some increased action.
Weather always is a dominant factor in outdoor activities, cold or hot, wet or dry. This week has been wet and that has slowed things. The week ahead looks to improve and we expect better results over the next days.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.