Good but not great hunting forecast
The old saying about Wisconsin weather (“If you don’t like it wait a bit, it’ll change”) may never be more apparent than the opening few days of the nine-day deer hunt. We have in the forecast chilly temps on Friday and into Saturday morning. Then, mild temperatures Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Sunday: rain. Monday: snow. Highs in the 30s; highs in the 20s. Lows above freezing; lows (in a few days) in the single digits. A weird mix for sure, will dominate the deer hunt.
But the most important element is arguably snow cover and we’ll see that for the entire season. Snow is important for added visibility for hunters, easier tracking. It will make deer silent as they move but they will stand far more, brown against the white. And that will be the most important factor this season.
Opening Day is traditionally a time to find a good stand and sit, all day if you’re able. Deer will be on the move ahead of the stormy weather due to move in Sunday. Bucks are looking for food; this week saw plenty of evidence of deer in the oak woods looking for acorns. Some bucks will still be on the waning edge of the rut as they were last year when we had a similar late opener.
The moon will offer little light at night (there is a new moon Saturday night) and that will encourage deer to move during daylight hours.
Mixed in with all this are new rules that govern the deer hunt and they are too numerous for this report but check them out.
A harsh winter last year did some damage to the deer herd and nobody is pretending otherwise. But deer still wander the woods in the north and while numbers are off the peak there are still deer to be taken.
We expect a good season but not a great season. Hunter numbers will be down and that is good news for a lot of hunters, particularly those who hunt public lands. The rain on Sunday is not good news; snow on the ground is very good news. In the next days we’ll see how the season unwinds. But the nine-day season is at hand, blaze orange will fill the woods, hunters will brave the weather, and memories will be made. As they are in all deer hunts.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.