Rifle Season Has Come and Gone

And it was a disappointing one. Not that it was entirely unexpected- Forest County was buck only, like much of the northern portion of the state, and the DNR was reporting the overall harvest on opening weekend being down 18%. Willy-nilly tag sales, harsh winters, the presence of coyotes, and the growth in the population of bears and wolves has done in the deer population up there.

Don’t get me wrong- there are deer. I saw some myself, and we had plenty of trail camera footage. But they were already mostly showing up at night, and a bunch of yahoos running around with guns only cemented that fact. I watched deer on two different nights. The first night, I had one in my crosshairs, but it was near enough to dark I couldn’t discern antlers, and was hesitating to take the shot until it was on snow for a background, where I could confirm it was a he. He winded me and ran off snorting before that happened. The next night I watched a doe and a yearling come into the bait. The yearling got within 10 yards of me before wandering off.

Matt got to do some under ice trapping sets for the first time, with mixed success- lots of traps set off, but nothing in them. On the last day, we got two muskrats. We set up for some coyote on dry land, and then on the frozen creek when we saw a lot of tracks from Friday night. No coyotes, though.

The most exciting/scary event was on our last morning there- we took a walk up the creek and noticed some very large tracks. Doglike, but not from where our dogs had walked, and bigger. More than double the size of the coyote tracks. And two to three sets. A small wolf pack had walked up the creek and nearly to our cabin. Eerie, and it makes me much more afraid to use the outhouse at night.

I didn’t take my big camera with me, and my poor cellphone was low on battery fighting the cold, but I did take some pictures. And with no deer last week, we’re hoping to get out more for late bow season and black powder. Fingers crossed we get at least one- I haven’t had to buy beef in almost 5 years.


5 thoughts on “Rifle Season Has Come and Gone

  1. This was my first season that wasn’t disappointing. I saw one buck during legal hunting hours and took him, and that’s the only one seen between the two of us. It’s bucks only here, too. We have two weeks of muzzle loading, and Steve will spend a day or two doing that, but it doesn’t look promising. Does and fawns on the game camera but not a single buck.

    • We had bucks on all the trail cameras, and two were really nice. But it was all well after dark. Wisconsin has been mismanaging the deer herd badly the last few years, CWD or not. I would think they’d be more careful withit- it has to be a huge cash cow for them. We have a week of muzzleloader, a holiday antler less hunt in our area, and late bow to go. Hopefully we get something.

  2. In a five day period I hunted 46 hours at my parents place in Northeast Texas. It two is a spike or buck only county, and I saw exactly three doe and three fawns. Not a pig was heard or seen. Makes me want to retire from deer hunting. Hopefully, I can shoot some doe at my friend’s place here closer to home. We are out of venison!

    • We’re pretty much out, though we do have the bear still. It’s so funny the way it works- Matt’s college buddy has land in Trempeleau county- it and Buffalo county have some the best hunting in the country. They have too many deer, and invited him back to hunt this coming weekend for muzzle loader. While on the other side of the state, maybe 4 hours away, it’s a damn desert for deer.

      We can shoot does around us in Madison, so I might try to get out either tonight or tomorrow. We’ll see. And I still have my either sex tag for IL archery.

  3. Pingback: When the Entire Month of December is a Thaw. | Hunt/Fish/Play

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