Outdoor Notebook: Anticipating fall
That time has arrived again; the seasons are changing. Each year, those people who enjoy being outdoors look forward to the changing seasons. It is not only the changing of temperatures but the start of the many hunting seasons.
This year, bear hunting with dogs opened on Sept. 4 and runs until Oct. 1. The season continues until Oct. 8 with the aid of bait and all legal methods not using dogs. Bear hunters must wear blaze orange during the two-day youth hunt that takes place Oct. 5 and 6, 2013.
More than 104,000 people applied for bear tags in 2012. The down side of the large number of persons who applied for bear tags is the long wait for a kill tag. At the present time, I have waited for 9 years for a bear tag.
Those hunters who have been spending time in the woods have said that the bear population is healthy. One hunter said that he checked his trail camera and was able to watch two large bears fighting. Several hunters have seen quite a few sows with three cubs.
The number of class A bear licenses available per management zone is based upon previous hunter success rate and current population estimates. Hunters are selected using a preference point every year they apply and are not drawn.
The 2013 archery season for deer opened this past week. The season will run until Jan. 5 with a two-day recess Nov. 21 and 22. The regulations are one buck per antlered archery buck carcass tag, except Dec. 12 to 15. Hunting regulations specify that a hunter may take one antlerless buck deer per unused valid archery deer carcass tag and one antlerless deer per unused unit-specific antlerless deer carcass tag.
There are some among us who feel that the archery season is too long. That is a topic that divides archery hunters and rifle hunters. As archery equipment is improving, the archery kill numbers continue to increase each year. Last year, more than 2,000 deer were killed by archery hunters. Over the years, I have enjoyed the days spent in the woods with my bow. However, it was much more fun during the years when we had more deer in the area. Those were the years when we were told that the deer population across northern Wisconsin was low.
Unfortunately, the deer population near Monico continues to be very low. We will hunt hard and hope to see a few deer. It is my wish that our grandchildren will have the chance to see a few deer this season.
We are constantly hearing concerns from area hunters who have hunted the area formerly owned by Consolidated Paper Company. The access roads have been gated off since the end of the deer season last year. The signs near the gates read that hunters may access these lands; however, vehicles are not permitted.
If these gates remain across the woods roads, large areas will not see any hunting pressure. I am trying to gain accurate information about these lands for the 2013 hunting seasons.
There is no doubt that my favorite time of the year is fall. Watching the leaves change color and then fall to the ground simply adds to the pleasure of being in the woods. Over the many years that I have been fortunate enough to hunt in northern Wisconsin, I have seen some changes in the way we hunt deer.
Formerly, we would pick a location for a ground blind and sit in the blind for several hours, then join some other hunters and make a few drives. Today, many hunters merely sit in elevated stands, many that have heaters in them and a roof over the stand. Many hunters do not want to move in the woods for fear that they may push deer to the neighbor’s property.
Most injuries to deer hunters in Wisconsin happen when hunters fall from elevated stands. Hunting today is a relatively safe activity; however, we must continue to improve the safety.
Have a great, safe and productive fall.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.