Are more deer hunters moving efforts ahead of gun season?
Until the gun deer season catches up with the white-tailed deer mating season, or at least the tail end of it, why not suggest hunters schedule a major portion of their deer hunting to match the rut?
If it’s opportunities, action, sightings and excitement that are wanted, look to see which season sits in the midst of deer activity. In other words, move your hunt up by a week or so.
What that generally means is taking advantage of the long, uninterrupted, archery/crossbow seasons that are open either side of Halloween.
Wisconsin’s gun deer season is set by when Thanksgiving Day falls, which means the nine-day gun season gets progressively earlier each year and then cycles back to a days-later start. During the rut, single days make a huge difference.
We can assume gun season placement is not going to change in the foreseeable future to a season structure similar to Minnesota’s where an earlier start date captures part of the rut.
Natural deer movement, at least after the rut, tails off considerably and shifts the more active deer movements to dusk-to-dawn.
Old-fashioned deer hunting, which emphasized drives and such, were successful in moving deer, but are also tied to more hunting accidents.
Safety, more favorable weather, more regular deer movement, and hunting more conducive to sit-and-wait styles are some of what an earlier hunt is about.
Not all deer hunters like archery/crossbow hunting, but many more might, particularly with modern crossbow technology and the elimination of some restrictions on who can use this implement.
For those who see it differently, or want to stay with deer movement fluctuations relative to the Thanksgiving holiday, and favored traditions, hunt the gun season, or put equal emphasis on both.
It need not be a one-or-the-other choice.
The expectation should be different, too, however, and so may be the results.