Last week for hunters to fill tags

Hunting season started a couple of months ago but for hunters who have yet to fill their deer or moose tags, they are running out of time because the season will come to an end on Dec. 15.
It has not been a very successful season for me. I have a bull moose tag and will head northeast of Kenora for the last few days of the season to try and find one. I also put off deer hunting until the past couple of weeks and it’s been tough for me.
I spent several days sitting in a ground blind and after an eventful first day, where I saw six or seven deer, the next couple of days were dismal without any deer sightings.
I am a big fan of trail or game cameras that I place in the woods and because I haven’t been capturing photos of any mature, trophy bucks, I haven’t been as motivated as I normally am to sit out in the cold.
That being said, I love to eat venison so I’m hopefully I can use my tag in the last few days I get to deer hunt.
The reality is, outside of urban areas, the deer numbers–especially of mature bucks–still is struggling after really tough winters in 2011 and 2013. Last year was no cupcake, either. It was a long winter with significant snow and plenty of cold weather.
There are some good pockets of deer and wolf numbers seem to be decreasing somewhat, so hopefully we’ll get an easy winter and that will help to get things moving in the right direction for deer.
I know they drive everybody nuts in town but out in the woods, deer are having a tough time.
For more than 10 years now, a group of friends and I have headed north for the last week of hunting season to moose hunt. We enjoy the winter conditions, bring our snowmobiles, and have a lot of fun exploring the vast wilderness we have in the northern part of Sunset Country.
We have been successful most years, usually getting a moose or two because we have a lot of time and experience in hunting during the late season.
Moose tend to show up in predictable locations where they will start to group up for the winter.
When we work hard doing drives or walking in areas where we find a lot of sign, it’s enjoyable. I’ve gotten frostbite a few times in the past in really cold conditions but it looks like we’re going to get some milder weather this week.
The mild weather doesn’t really help the hunting. It seems like moose are much more active when it’s cold because they have to stay on their feet and eat more. When it’s mild, on the other hand, they seem to just hunker down a little more so we’ll likely have to cover a lot of ground to make contact with a moose or two.
The small game season is open until the end of the month but it seems like once the snow falls, it’s a lot tougher to spot any grouse. I did get to experience some phenomenal grouse hunting back in early November before we got snow.
I really enjoy getting on old logging trails and exploring for grouse earlier in the fall, and I’m sure you still can find a few if you work hard but they are a lot tougher to find than they are earlier in the season.
Hopefully my friends and I have some success hunting this week I’ll have a story or two to share in my next column.

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