The hunt: New regulations mix with old traditions
By Roger Sabota
Special to the Star Journal
(Photo by Tom Vaughan)
Since last year at this time many of us who simply love deer hunting have been waiting for the opportunity to hunt again for the elusive white tail deer. I have said that I am hunting deer all year long. Every field that we drive past gets my attention as I focus across that field looking for deer no matter what time of the year.
Last year we watched the weather as nearly a foot of snow fell just prior to the opening of the gun-deer season. We drove out to the deer hunting cabin and quickly realized that we would not be able to drive any where near the cabin. Fortunately a very good friend came to our rescue. He attached his V-plow onto his pickup and plowed our lane. Never in the history of our hunting on that property had we been in that situation at the beginning of the season.
During that season we hunted in relatively cold temperatures and some days spent more time in the cabin than usual. This year it appears that the conditions will be much different.
Frequently people ask me what is it that attracts me to deer hunting. There are many things that contribute to my enjoyment. Perhaps it is the chance to get together with friends and family and share stories. Perhaps it is the chance to spend time in the woods enjoying the wildlife that is there. Other hunters could, I’m sure, list different reasons why they are attracted to deer hunting.
This fall I had the chance to spend quite a bit of time hunting with my cross bow. It appears that the deer population may be up somewhat from the past several years. The mild weather during most of the winter last year may have contributed to a slightly larger deer population than in the past several years.
This year hunters must electronically register all deer that are harvested. Registration must be completed no later than 5 p.m. the day after the harvest. Registration is mandatory and is the responsibility of the individual hunter.
The following information is provided in the 2015 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet.
To register your deer:
1. Choose one of three methods of electronic registration.
*By phone call 844-426-3734 (844-GAME-REG)
*Internet, go to gamereg.wi.gov
*In-person registration station. Use the phone, computer or mobile device provided. To find a local registration station, call 888-936-7463 or go to dnr.wi.gov and search “registration stations.”
2. Answer questions as asked. A 10-character confirmation number will be provided upon completion.
3. Using a permanent marker or ballpoint pen record this confirmation number at the bottom of the carcass tag.
4. Keep the carcass tag, which is marked with the confirmation number, until all meat has been consumed.
It will be interesting to talk with DNR staff members after the hunt to determine if this new procedure is successful. I have my doubts.
Last weekend we took the opportunity to sight in the rifles for some of our group of hunters. Every year when we do that it reminds me of the story that has previously been told here, about our neighbor at the cabin who said that he had checked the accuracy of his rifle 35 years ago and had not checked it since.
The message from our deer-hunting cabin is, “HUNT SAFELY, HUNT HARD and ENJOY THE HUNT!
Northwoods outdoors enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.
The days of blaze orange are upon us. The woods are filled with blaze-clad hunters, and will be that way for the full 9-day run of rifle season. Add to that any non-hunters in rural areas along roads who wear blaze, and it’s a dominant color for the drab late November woods.
Opening weekend typically accounts for about one half of the total number of deer killed during the season, so Saturday and Sunday are critical times for hunters to be on their stands. The weather looks to be on the cool side after a very mild autumn, and that should make for good hunt conditions. The downside is the probable lack of any snow cover, according to the forecast as this paper goes to print. That makes for a more difficult hunt on several levels, but that looks to be what this season brings.
The most successful tactic for the opening days is simply sitting on a good stand and staying there. A stand at a good location, some long hours sitting and some patience often leads to a successful hunt. The past two seasons have seen cold weather and reduced hunt pressure; this year looks better on that front.
After the opening, hunters may continue to stand hunt, but a number will put together some drives. Drives have always been very effective as deer hunker down, but they always bring increased risk to hunters and good communication is key to safe drives.
We are looking at a full moon on the 25th, and deer often move mid-day during nights of full or near-full moons. After the weekend, the hunters still in the woods need be more attentive during that mid-day time frame, when hunters often break for lunch. This week some time on the stand during those hours may well pay off.
Reports continue of bucks in rut, but that will be tapering off. However, bucks will often respond to scents into late November, and we always recommend using them during rifle season.
As noted a week ago, all deer need to be registered by 5 p.m. on the day after they are killed, and all registration is now entirely done via phone or internet. This is a significant departure from the past and hunters need to be aware of that.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander.