Lakewood, Townsend, Mountain areas
I had a fun hunt on Saturday afternoon, after sitting in a stand for the morning and getting whipped by the wind, I decided it was time to climb down and do some still hunting and use the wind to my advantage as opposed to my demise. Went to a new area with my father and had him drop me off about a mile from where he wanted to hunt with the plan to still hunt my way to the truck. There were plenty of trucks parked in the beginning of the trail in the flatter country, which was also heavy with oaks and pawed up sign from deer digging for acorns. I pressed on into the steeper terrain and quickly lost all human sign, which uncoincidentally led to deer sightings almost immediately. I still hunted the steep rocky ridges, carefully circling downwind and popping up over the side hill ridges and watching down below. The 12th deer I saw was a decent buck bedded up with a doe just below a small thick patch of brush near the top of the ridge. I was trying to decide if I wanted to shoot or not when the doe got up and took off, followed by the buck. It was game on! I followed them in my scope through the brush to a small opening where they jumped a blowdown. I was able to make a good shot and dropped him right over the fallen tree. Got to enjoy a snowy drag with my dad which is always fun.
Northern Forest Unit, Public Land, Oconto County. Cheers to the hunt!
Thanks for the update WW! I'm excited for the snow, but this is the first time in a long time (probably ever) that I don't know where I'm going to hunt yet?! Oh well, I've been spending some time bowhunting in IL and took my best buck ever last weekend. I'm not to wildly concerned with the gun season but I'd love to drag out a buck from my father!
Here are some pics of my "dream buck". I was able to watch him bed from my stand set up and stalk to 28 yards of him. I watched and waited for him to stand and as soon as he did, I was able to slide an arrow through the blowdown and into his heart.
About 3 inches of snow up here. There should be plenty of snow for tracking and seeing deer. If I would have to put an estimate on it I would imagine there are 15% more deer up here than last year. Bundle up as it will be a nippy morning with a low of six opening day. With a warm-up coming at the end of the week. Good luck to all
Knot so hot, that second one is a HAWG!! Good luck getting after him this weekend. My dad and I will be hunting opening weekend but for the first time in...EVER, I don't really know where I want to go. I haven't been up since the first weekend in October so I haven't check any of my cameras or scouted since then but I've got a few spots I'm thinking about. Looks like a cold opening day is in the forecast!
Finally caught a couple nice ones on the cameras yesterday. 1 was chasing and 1 was cruising. Haven’t had any nice bucks on camera the past month and now 2 in the same day, and both during daylight. Looking at pictures from the past couple years, It sure seems like the week before gun hunting is the time to be in the woods up there. Anyone else seeing the same pattern?
Sorry for the experience. One thing I've learned over time is......Northern Forest hunting has changed. Extensive scouting is necessary and changing stand locations is a must. Deer are there, not in the numbers of the past for sure, but they are there. Saw them all summer long all throughout the county. Deer have enjoyed lazy hunting (baiters, sitting on same stand etc.) The northern forest needs more logging, predator control and limited does tags for years. Weather still plays the biggest factor. When you have no control on any of the things just mentioned, it goes south. My 2 cents~ -WW
Let me preface this by stating I am a 62 year old deer hunter, and have been hunting this area (exclusively) for the past 44 years. I started hunting up here in 1965 with my father and my grandfather, but did not begin really hunting up here (avidly) until I got my first automobile, which was in 1977. I am now retired and live in Riverview.
2021 was the worst deer hunting season for me in the past 44 years. During the early season (with the crossbow) I saw a total of six does and fawns and two bucks, one a slender spike with “antlers” not bigger than my pinky finger that got a pass, and then a motley spork that never really gave me a shot. During the gun deer season I saw a total of six does and fawns. Thus, in a total of around twenty hunts, I saw a grand total of twelve does and fawns and two bucks.
Granted, I am, at best, an average deer hunter, with a total of twenty-four doe ands twelve bucks in my 44 years of deer hunting. Nearly all of those doe were taken in those years of very liberal antlerless permits, which ultimately decimated the deer herd up here.
I used to routinely see herds of ten or twelve or even fifteen does and fawns, so I picked out the biggest one and shot it and took it home to pack the freezer with delicious venison without remorse. Never, ever, lost a deer I had shot and not a speck of meat ever went to waste. So I was feeling “pretty much OK” with all of that. But now everything has changed.
The derecho of 2019 destroyed my southern Oconto County spots, and my preferred eastern Marinette County spot has been converted (by the State of Wisconsin) into some sort of “equestrian / horse riding park”. If you are familiar with this area you know what I mean. Thus I am at a bit of a loss as to where to hunt even given the vast amount of public land available up here.
I shot a bear in Oneida County in September, so I’m good to go for wild game meat in the freezer, but I sure would have liked to add a deer. A simple spike or forkhorn would have been great, and easy to handle for an old man such as myself that hunts alone.
I might try southern Oconto County (south of Highway 64) for the four-day antlerless-only hunt, but it’s sure not the same as hunting the Nicolet-Chequamegan National Forest.
So that’s my 2021 deer hunting report.
Hunted Townsend area for the 9 day gun season minus mon-wed had to get back and work. Alot of shots right where we usually hunt but in general shots in total were down compared to past year's. Shot a little spike opening morning about 7 30am then went out with the bow the rest of the days and saw a nicer buck Sunday morning from a different stand just to far away. Saw a few does here and there but they seemed to be down in general this entire fall. Alot of little bucks on camera along with a few nicer ones. Praying for a mild winter again this year!
Our group ended up with a 6 and 8 pointer this year, 1st deer for both hunters. One hunter a 2nd year hunter and the other one in their 21st season.
Much more shooting opening morning than the last few years and very few hunters in the woods. Everyone in our group saw a few deer for the first time in years.
I hunted all day for the opener and did not see a deer. Sunday morning at 6:50 I had a buck and a doe 40 years away before spooking and did not get a shot, my bad. I saw two more singles before 7:30am and only hunted a few more hours and called it a year.
We also had a miss from a very experienced hunter Monday morning. It was a good buck and right under his stand, not sure what happened there?
The 6 pointer was shot at 35 yards from a pop-up. The 8 pointer had passed our guy Sunday morning offering no shot and showed up again late afternoon, his last mistake
Here are a few notable bucks that are hopefully still walking around. Its tough because there is a group that hunts just East of us and they illegally bait, quite heavily, and seem to shoot at least one deer every year. The first photo is an old old 10 point that we have had on camera for about 4 years. He has to be 7.5+ and has not gotten bigger the past 2 years. The second daylight buck is a gorgeous young buck that I'm fairly certain is the 1 yr old 8 point I passed opening day last year. He is a great young buck that should be a dandy next season. The last buck is just coming into his prime, been seeing him for 2 seasons and grew some wicked splits this year on both sides.