Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

State Roundup: My deer season does not follow statewide trend

IT’S A GOOD THING THE DNR’S JEFF PRITZL doesn’t have to rely on my personal experiences when it comes to assessing or rating the Wisconsin gun deer season. If he did, Pritzl, the DNR statewide deer biologist, wouldn’t be looking at numbers as rosy as he’s seeing so far (please see Kevin Naze’s report on the front page of his issue for a rundown on the preliminary 2022 bow and gun deer harvest). Nope, he’d be looking at a big, fat zero. My 2022 rifle and muzzleloader deer season was short-stopped and interrupted in a number of ways, some of which I detailed in the last issue.

There were family and work obligations along the way, but the only part I’ll complain about is the virus that took me out of the muzzleloader season for a few days. It was that RSV virus, which I always call the SRV virus because the acronym reminds of the Yamaha SRV 540 and Stevie Ray Vaughn, my favorite blues guitarist. The virus symptoms weren’t overly terrible, except for one day, but the bug kept me out of the woods, nonetheless.

I did get out the last two afternoons of the muzzleloader season on public land in western Vilas County. The outings were probably more like taking a walk while carrying a muzzleloader than they were an actual hunt since I went into two areas I’ve not hunted in a number of years. Both set up the same way – a series of mostly east/west ridges, some of the ridges almost making hogsback status – along bogs, swamps or lake shores. The strategy, if I can even call it that, came down to wind direction and ridge orientation. By walking the ridges, I hoped to peek over the top to the north (wind from the north) to see if deer were moving in the bottom or on the far hillside. Then, to the south, watch for any deer movement from critters that might have been spooked by my scent falling into the bog, swamp, or creek bottom.

Much like this year’s Green Bay Packers’ season, it all sounded good on paper, but the execution left a lot to be desired. I did not see a single deer. I crossed one track the last afternoon that would have been made during that morning’s snowfall. So, no, nothing but tag soup for yours truly during the gun and muzzleloader season. The good? I got reacquainted with two old hunting spots I really liked years ago. Getting back in there inspired me a little for what remains of this archery season, and for next fall. And that’s certainly something.

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I’M GOING TO MENTION THIS HERE even though the event is running on Mille Lacs Lake in Isle, Minn., because this would give Wisconsin members of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) a relatively short drive to meet BHA President Land Tawney, who will attend the BHA North Country Icebreaker Jan. 27-29, 2023, at McQuoid’s Inn. The weekend includes a long list of seminars and events. Go to the BHA website for details and ticket information.

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