Outdoor Notebook: Preparing for the hunt
The weather forecast for the next 10 days was ominous but there were a lot of tasks that had to be done. Each year, as the gun-deer season opening approaches, our son, Craig, tries to schedule a trip to the deer shack for a few days. As Craig’s boys are growing up it becomes more difficult to find a weekend when they do not have commitments. One week ago we found one of those relatively free weekends.
Craig and his younger son, Mason, had the opportunity to spend a night at the shack and get some tasks accomplished. Mason’s older brother, Jack, had school related commitments to attend. Judy and I have spent several afternoons at the shack; windows have been washed, mouse poison placed in some locations where they seem to travel and the kitchen has been cleaned. She is more concerned about the cleanliness of the shack than we hunters are.
One of the tasks that need to be done each year prior to the gun-deer season is to fire the rifles at the 100-yard range. We attempt to adjust the scopes so that we shoot three inches high at 100 yards. This setting offers us the chance to be on target at a variety of ranges. We each shoot 30-06 caliber rifles with 150-grain shells.
A friend who lives in the area of the shack laughs at us and says that he sighted in his rifle 50 years ago and it is always on target. The truth is that we enjoy shooting the rifles and usually do not have to adjust the scopes.
We spent some time looking for deer sign in the woods near the shack. As usual we saw very little sign and only two rubs. Thus far we have not seen any scrapes but it is still early.
This year the gun-deer season will be the latest that it can be with the current regulations. We could have snow on the ground during the entire season and most likely will have cold weather. The date for the start of the gun-deer season is Saturday, Nov. 23. Although bow hunting and musky fishing are two of my favorite outdoor activities the gun-deer season is my favorite. The fellows at our shack do not need an alarm clock to get them up during deer season. As I get older I have to admit that preparing for the season seems to be more enjoyable each year.
We have been watching the progress of the second Wisconsin wolf hunt and have come to the conclusion that we have more wolves across the Northern part of the state than we have been led to believe. It is obvious that if we are to reduce the wolf population hunters and trappers will have to be allowed to increase the number of wolves that are killed. The topic of wolves is emotional with people who have strong feelings on both sides of the issue.
As of this past Wednesday wolf hunting in Zone 2, which is the zone we are in, has been closed because the quota for this zone has been reached. So far other zones in the state are still open.
This past week I had the pleasure of grouse and woodcock hunting with two pointing dogs. The older dog is an experienced setter with eight years of bird hunting to her credit. The younger dog is just a bit under a year old. The dogs belong to Dr. Mike Riggle who lives in Medford. Mike is a veterinarian, who is very active with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the Sportsman’s Club in Medford. Mike Chairs the Wisconsin wolf study committee for the Congress. He said that last year eight hunting dogs were mauled by wolves. Thus far this year over twenty hunting dogs have been mauled by wolves.
The electronic equipment that Mike carries allows him to constantly monitor where the dogs are and how many miles they have traveled. There were several times when both dogs were locked up on point.
Enjoy the Fall. It goes by so very quickly.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.