The storm is in sharp contrast of conditions this autumn. Conditions have been quite dry and have allowed farmers to get their crops off the fields far earlier than last year. This should congregate deer and many other game species into more huntable cover. Biologists say there was significant turkey mortality from moldy corn in the fields last year as well. We shouldn’t have that problem this winter. Here’s more from Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffers.
Tyler Hinner is seeing buck activity spike in Northwestern and Central Wisconsin. Younger bucks are sparring and mature bucks can be seen moving later in the evening. Scrapes and rubs are becoming more common as deer begin shifting from pre-rut into rutting activity. Tyler is also seeing a lot of pheasants on public land. The Wisconsin DNR is releasing more birds this year compared to last and they are common in areas in which the releases are occurring. While some stocking is done in St. Croix County, this western county is home to Wisconsin’s biggest population of wild birds.
In Southwest Wisconsin, Cole Daniels is reporting a big jump in rubs and scrapes. According to Daniels, the corn harvest should also boost hunter success. “Last year we had standing corn throughout the winter. This fall 90% of the corn in the area has been picked.” Deer are now more concentrated in the small woodlots of Southern Wisconsin counties. Daniels also recommends hunting over upland type cover, CRP, and even wetland cover to find mature bucks. “Veteran deer know hunters focus on woodlots, so they go to spots most hunters overlook.” Goose hunting has also been very good along the Wisconsin River and the big weather front that just passed should bring some fresh migratory birds through the state. Again, the corn harvest is opening up more and more opportunities for goose hunters.
Foremost Outdoor TV Fishing ProStaffer Dan Quinn says bass are really piling up along rock bars, stumps, and docks. Dan and his father, Steve, had one of their best outings of the year last week, boating over 20 fish in less than an hour. The storm has kept Dan off the water for much of the week and he expects fall turnover to begin on many lakes due to the winds and lower temperatures. River walleye fishing has also been good. You’ll find most fish on or near the bottom along current breaks like points and rock dams.
Would you like to contribute to the Foremost Hunting/Foremost Outdoor TV Outdoor Report? E-mail Chris Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Foremosthunting.com’s Chris Larsen visits with Ducks Unlimited Gulf Response Team Lead Scientist, Dr. Tom Moorman. Topics discussed include the effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the coastal wetlands, how ducks are affected, and the relationship between the oil industry and gulf coast habitat.
We headed out to an area that we know holds fall turkeys. Sure enough as we approached, 15 birds evacuated the area. No problem. We’ll wait for them to come back. Of course, it never happened. But we saw some deer and decided to call it a night early so our turkeys could make it back to their roost without being pestered.
The following morning, two guys set up in a feeding area and two of us were on a known turkey trail. I’ve killed turkeys in this spot before and have seen several flocks use this route to go from the roost to the feeding areas. It took a while but I finally saw some turkeys hopping out of the trees around 7:30 AM. They purred a bit after they jumped down. But instead of making their way to us, they went the other way. You see, we were wearing blaze orange.
I had never turkey hunted during the weekend of the antlerless deer hunt. After inspecting the regulations, it was discovered that blaze orange was required. Deer are essentially color blind and look for movement or odd shapes to elude predators. Turkeys on the other hand can see color just fine. They see everything two dimensionally, so depth of field is not a strong point. But color and detail they get. So needless to say, our turkey hunts were total washouts. We tried to work the terrain and jump shoot but they never presented a responsible shot. Turkeys escape from predators 365 days a year. Us modern day humans act as predators for maybe 30 days a year. That’s all you need to know about our blaze orange turkey hunt.
We had two antlerless deer tags to fill. In Southwest Wisconsin, you have to shoot an antlerless deer before you can shoot a buck. Deer densities are high and the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease is real. The Wisconsin DNR holds an antlerless only gun deer season in October so hunters can fulfill their antlerless requirement before opening day of the traditional gun deer season.
We closed the cattle gate behind the cabin and started walking to our intended stand around 3:30 PM. The hike was a short one. Less than 50 yards past the gate, a deer fed on berries in a clearing. We went to our knees and made the shot. This hunt didn’t last more than five minutes. The deer piled up ten yards into the woods. It was the fastest deer hunt I have ever been a part of. For more, check out the link.
After the deer was field dressed and hanging in the cool garage, we headed deeper into the woods toward our intended stand site. There are deer lurking behind every ridge in this area and you have to walk slow and watch for movement. We found our spot and hunkered down behind a fallen tree. We spotted a deer almost immediately, but she never offered a clean shot. The woods is thick with timber and vegetation and wounding a deer was not part of the game plan. We let her walk and waited for more. But no more deer arrived. The corn surrounding our little patch of deer hunter’s heaven is still standing. That standing corn provides plenty of cover and food. Daytime temperatures were warm and deer just weren’t ready to move yet. But we’ve got some venison in our bellies and in the freezer. I’ll call it a great weekend!
I’ll post an updated outdoor report later this week.
As sunrise peaked over the horizon we began hearing the sounds of dozens of sand hill cranes erupting from their slumber. As the cranes lifted off a distant pond the flutter of mallard wings overhead excited the young men in the layout blinds. But the ducks were not willing to give us any shooting. A half hour later the honks of an incoming flock of geese signaled the moment we were waiting for. This group of 20 Canadians gave us a hard look and descended to within 40 yards. A lot of people would have taken this shot. I had never hunted with most of these guys and was impressed with their patience. It has been a while since I’ve hunted with a large group of college age men. Probably since I was in college. These guys made me feel better about the future of our civilization. They were responsible gun handlers, patient and skilled hunters, and as I would find out later, strong and determined.
The first flock decided to pass on our faux flock. But not long after another group was on it’s way. As this flock circled, yet another contingent of geese passed over the hardwood forest and dropped down to field level on it’s way to our dekes. These birds twisted and contorted on their way down. It was clearly evident they were coming in. Just as safeties were being clicked off, disaster struck. Two geese snapped off the main flock and practically fell into the spread. As their feet came down, the shot was called and the geese were dispatched. The opportunity for a flock shoot with seven guns firing a true 21 shot salute into the air would have to wait. In retrospect, it was a great decision. Two in the hand is worth four in the bush right? The entire flock could have seen something they didn’t like and we would have never had the opportunity to shoot anything. This is the debate waterfowl hunters will be having for eternity.
After a flurry of goose action, things slowed down. The decision was made to go check the pond the birds were roosting on. The group headed for the water haunt of these flocks to see just how many were left on the water. As we approached the cattail swamp surrounding the swamp, the contrast of my experience and their determination was on display. The young men wanted to push forward to see if they could get a crack at the few birds remaining on the pond. I have suffered the consequences of sneak attacks such as this one and found a tower blind to climb into and watch the operation.
They pushed forward into the cattail marsh but I could see the going was tough. They were able to get within 50 yards of open water but were standing in knee deep water and muck. Attempts to call ducks to their position got a few birds off the water but not close enough to shoot. It was probably a good thing. Extricating a duck from thick cattails and knee deep water would have been a tall order.
We shot a few geese. But it was a lot of fun to witness these guys work together with fearlessness. For the most part young guys haven’t failed enough to have doubt… especially about themselves. Not that I am an old man, but I feel as though sometimes we miss out on adventure because we believe it’s not possible. Young people don’t think like that and it’s quite refreshing to be around that type of attitude.
This week, I’ll be back in the woods. anterless gun deer season begins Thursday in Wisconsin. We’ll be in the woods pursuing deer Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If we tag out early, we’ll chase down some fall turkeys. Should be a blast. I’ll tell you all about it next week!
Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer, Nick Haas, says the recent heat wave has really slowed down deer traffic in Northern Wisconsin. Deer are bedding down during the day and moving mostly at night and in the mornings.
The heat didn’t stop James Appel from bagging a gorgeous buck in Northwest Wisconsin. We filmed a muzzleloader elk hunt with James in early September. He took a nice 6x6 bull and less than a month later arrowed this buck. He’s having a tremendous season!
Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer, Tyler Hinner filed this report:
Bucks are still in their bachelor groups, but that should change in the next week or so. They are starting to get the "itch". I've seen some deer starting to kick around the dirt making small scrapes and playing with their horns on limbs. The woods is super loud with the fresh leaves on the ground. I don't think you would see a scrape if it was there. It doesn't look like we will have a weather change until later this week and lows in the mid 40's won’t help. A hunter’s best bet would be to find an acorn producing oak ridge. Some corn fields are being cut around town by me, and deer are readily seen on the field edges during daylight hours. Grouse numbers seem to be down this year, but it is on the downward slope of their 10 year cycle. Family groups of geese are combining for some nice size flocks this time of year. But I haven't seen many migratory birds yet.
Meanwhile in Southwest Wisconsin, foremosthunting.com writer Cole Daniels is regularly seeing and hearing turkeys moving throughout the woods and fields. He’s also seeing a number of doe groups but bucks haven’t started regularly pursuing them yet. The leaves are coming off the trees and it’s getting much easier to see through the woods. The crunching of leaves underfoot makes it easier to hear deer, and for them to hear you. Cole recently returned from a Northern Minnesota grouse trip and reports plentiful grouse in good cover. The state is confirming that harvests have been good. Drumming counts were down in the spring but excellent nesting conditions have resulted in a bountiful fall harvest of juvenile birds.
Good luck this week and check in for our next hunting report!
We are currently developing a television show which will begin airing in January of 2011. Foremost Outdoor Television will bring hunting, fishing, and the outdoor lifestyle to living rooms across the Upper Midwest on the airwaves and throughout the world online. We'll be releasing more information in the near future. But for now, our team is hitting the woods, waters, and fields to capture the best moments of our 2010 hunting season and we are inviting you, the reader, along for the ride.
I'll provide field reports from our team as well as a behind the scenes look at filming our show. We'll also offer tips on how to film your hunts and even show some of the best hunts you share with us. It's your opportunity to be an outdoor television star! Please, feel free to comment, ask questions, and send us your hunting pictures and videos. I would like to make this a truly interactive experience.
Foremosthuting.com Field Report For Early October
ProStaffers Nick Haas and Mike Oberle are seeing deer movement pick up as temperatures are beginning to drop in Northern Wisconsin. We've had frost for two straight mornings and acorns are falling. Corn is also being harvested much earlier than last year. Deer will most likely have fewer places to hide this season as the corn crop is being pulled off the fields. If corn is part of your food plot plantings, leaving the corn standing will help hold deer on your property as they seek out sanctuaries.
Congratulations to our good buddy, Brand Windmiller, on this eight point buck taken recently on his property. Brand and his son, Jesse, bow hunt exclusively with traditional archery equipment. It takes a little more practice and a lot more patience to put down a deer with this stuff. Great job, Brand!
Speaking of traditional equipment, James Appel and his son, Matt, just returned from a Colorado muzzleloader elk hunt. The fellas encountered several quality bulls and came home with a beauty of a 6x6. James took the bull with a 200+ yard shot from the barrel of his muzzleloader. A great shot indeed!
ProStaffer Tyler Hinner is on top of the waterfowl population. He and his crew of goose whackers are watching the birds come off water and finding the fields they are feeding in. As corn and beans are harvested, the geese are hitting them hard. When ducks are in season, they are offering some bonus shooting. Clover is also being utilized by the birds. Fully dressing your field blinds with surrounding vegetation is vital. At this point in the season, most geese have seen a spread or two and know about gun fire. If you just bought your field blinds this season, be sure to "mud them up." This is pretty self explanatory. Create some mud with water and dirt and rub it all over the blind. This will take the sheen off the blind.
Foremosthunting.com writer Cole Daniels is keeping a close eye on the Southwest Wisconsin turkey population. For those who don't know, Wisconsin is number one in the nation for wild turkey harvest. And Southwest Wisconsin is the top destination for turkey's in the cheese state. Just 40 years ago, the Wisconsin wild turkey population was practically zero. Cole says the turkeys on his property are flocking up and are developing patterns around feeding.
After a super trout run along the Minnesota North Shore, our fishing crew is chomping at the bit to get after river walleyes on the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. Unfortunately, flooding has put the kibosh on river fishing. All major rivers in the area are near flood stage or higher and some are down right dangerous to boat on. Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer Dan Quinn says bass anglers looking for fall action on lakes can find the fish in stumps. Weeds are dying off and the fish are looking for structure to ambush prey from.
We've got a busy week of filming as the team continues to film their deer hunts and we hit the fields for more intense duck and goose action. Hopefully, the rivers will return to normal depth soon. There are a lot of people out of their homes right now and we must think of them even though we can't wait to get after those autumn walleyes. Have a great week! I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventures as I prepare for next week's post.
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