Outdoor Report: Rifle deer season nears
Two weeks now til the big hunt, the annual nine-day rifle deer hunt that goes beyond mere hunting and becomes part of Northwoods culture. It’s a big deal, the hunt. This year, it’s a late one and that means a greater chance for cold and snow. Given the past two weeks things seem headed in that direction after a few seasons of mild weather and not much snow. But that all remains to be seen; for now its all about anticipation and preparation.
The preparation is important. It is imperative to get rifles sighted in and the local range is the best facility in the region for that. Rifles do not always hold their zero in an off-season that can see them get knocked around a bit, no matter how careful one is. Best to take it out, fire a few shots to guarantee that you know where it will hit at 100 yards, and call it good.
But stands and blinds need to be made ready as well; never assume things are as they should be. Check things out, clear out shooting lanes if need be, and simply be able to go out on opening day with the confidence that things are as they should be.
Gear needs to be ready and the sooner the better lest you spend frantic hours on the day before the opener in search of missing mitts or socks or hand warmers. Opening weekend is often a matter of being able to sit for most of the day and if it’s a cold day the time spent getting ready will pay off in having the gear ready for the long sit. If you don’t have the cold weather gear you can’t sit well and opening is, for most hunters, a long time sitting and waiting.
Deer numbers are decent and the opening weekend will be a good one assuming the weather co-operates.
Deer hunting is the big story these days but archers and bird hunters are into some prime times as well. The rut is kicking in and bucks should be on the move.
Archers who do well often log long hours in the stand this week. Rut specific scents work well now as do calls and rattling horns. But it’s a matter of having a good stand and putting in the hours now.
Waterfowl are on the move; last weekend brought reports of good flights of northern birds and that will be the name of the game in the upcoming week. And grouse hunting will be decent now with leaves down and birds more in the open when they flush. There are not a lot of birds out there but hunters who know where to find them are doing quite well.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.