Outdoor Notebook: The rut has begun and hunting will heat up
At this time of the year the question we hear is usually about the “rut”. That question is, “Has the rut started yet?”
A news release that was sent out last week from the DNR informs hunters and others who enjoy being outdoors that the rut has started.
As the rut progresses motorists need to be on the alert especially in the evening and early morning. The bucks are out looking for receptive does and may be traveling without any concern for their safety.
The rut is that time of the year that archery hunters wait all year to participate in. Wisconsin is a leading state for trophy white tail deer. One well-known trophy hunter has hunted all over the map in search of trophy animals. He has an addition to his home that is filled with mounts of trophy animals that he has killed during the past 20 years.
When asked which trophy is the most difficult to collect he did not hesitate to respond. He replied that a mature white tail buck is the most difficult trophy to collect especially with a bow and arrow. Following more than 60 years of hunting white tails I agree with his response.
If you are planning to hunt white tail deer in Wisconsin this fall you may want to check out several new or relatively new regulations.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal disease that causes the destruction of brain tissue in deer, elk and moose. Thus far CWD has not been identified in our immediate area. In addition to the CWD Management Zone (CWD-MZ) it has also been reported in Portage County.
The regulations pertaining to baiting and feeding of deer are divided into two parts of the state; those counties where baiting and feeding deer is prohibited and those areas where baiting and feeding of deer is allowed with a two-gallon limit. It is illegal to hunt deer over bait in those deer management units where CWD has been observed. It is also illegal to hunt deer over bait in those deer management units (DMU) that border on those DMU’s where CWD has been observed.
This year the coyote season is no longer closed in the northern portion of the state during the gun-deer season. Presently there are now expanded opportunities for deer hunting in most state parks. For more information on those opportunities refer to the deer hunting regulations pamphlet. Rifles may now be used for deer hunting statewide during the nine-day November gun-deer season.
A buck deer is a deer with at least one antler that is at least three inches in length. An antlerless deer is any deer with both antlers less than three inches in length.
Presently there are two deer research projects in progress. One is in Sawyer, Price and Rusk counties. The other area is in the farm land of Shawano, Waupaca and Outagamie counties. If you should shoot a study animal call the phone number provided on the collar or the ear tag. That information will become part of the study.
As I sit in my chair looking across the lake that will be frozen before too long my mind is filled with thoughts about how deer hunting has changed during the years that I have hunted.
I have written before that when I began hunting deer we all wore black and red wool clothes. Many of us wore wool pants with red flannel material sewed on them. It was illegal to hunt near salt licks or food. It was illegal to hunt from any elevated device.
Perhaps the biggest change is how the hunt is conducted now. Hunters often sit in elevated shacks with windows and heaters. Very few of today’s deer hunters make drives for fear of chasing deer onto the neighbor’s property.
It does not matter how you chose to hunt deer but it is important to try to make the gun-deer season an experience that youngsters in your group will fondly recall years from now.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.