In the Outdoors: Youth gun deer hunt adds more color to fall
By Kevin Naze
BROWN COUNTY – Fall has arrived and with it the cooler temperatures that get hunters excited about the changing season.
Northern Wisconsin greenery is already mixing in plenty of reds, oranges, yellows and rusty browns, with color likely to peak in many areas the first week of October.
Closer to home, colors should be at least 50% by Oct. 9-10, Wisconsin’s annual youth gun deer hunting weekend.
In addition to the shades already mentioned, the youth firearm deer season means you might see some blaze orange and blaze pink scattered about the countryside.
The youth gun deer hunt gives those 15 and under an opportunity to get an early shot at a whitetail, learning under the watchful eye of an experienced mentor.
In our area, all properties open to gun deer hunting are open for the youth hunt, except state parks.
As a reminder, all hunters – except those after waterfowl – are under the blaze clothing requirements during any gun deer season.
Both resident and non-resident youths are eligible and can hunt deer with a gun, bow or crossbow.
The bag limit is one buck with a gun buck deer harvest authorization, plus additional antlerless deer valid for the county and land type (public access or private).
The youths must be mentored by a parent, guardian or another adult who has received permission from the hunter’s parent or guardian.
For hunters younger than 12 and those who have not completed hunter education, the mentor must also be a hunter education graduate and hold a current hunting license.
Adults accompanying youth hunters may possess a bow, crossbow or gun to hunt for a game species that is open at that time, including deer with a bow or crossbow only.
An adult may not accompany more than two youth hunters during the youth gun deer hunt at any given time, and those being mentored must be within an arm’s reach at all times.
Youths 11 and under must have one-on-one mentoring.
Mentors are encouraged to go over the four basic rules of firearm safety with the youth before hunting:
• Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
• Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
• Be sure of your target and beyond.
• Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
Salmon run is on
If you want a shot at a big, spawn-minded Chinook or coho salmon, or trophy brown trout, the next few weeks will offer the greatest opportunities.
West shore of Green Bay rivers like the Oconto, Peshtigo and Menominee are good bets, while lakeshore rivers like the Ahnapee, Kewaunee, East Twin, West Twin, Manitowoc and Branch are tops on the west shore of Lake Michigan.
Two great areas for viewing are the C.D. “Buzz” Besadny Fisheries Facility on the Kewaunee River and the Strawberry Creek Chinook Salmon Facility near Sturgeon Bay.
Pumps will be turned on at both locations next week, luring thousands of fish into holding ponds.
Sorting of Chinooks and cohos at Kewaunee will likely begin by Saturday, Oct. 2.
Sorting was closed to the public due to COVID-19 last year, but viewing is expected to be allowed again this season.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist Nick Legler said even with the pumps off, Chinooks have already been spotted well upstream in the Strawberry Creek refuge.
No fishing is allowed there or at the Kewaunee facility site.
The public can visit both Strawberry Creek and the Besadny facility during daylight hours.
There are two underwater viewing windows at the Kewaunee site, offering a unique glimpse at Chinooks, cohos, brown trout and rainbows.
Mosquitoes still thick
Hunters and anglers are lamenting a plague of mosquitoes this year, and there’s no relief in sight.
By the time you read this, we’ll have experienced our coldest overnight lows since spring.
Unfortunately, 40s aren’t enough to freeze out the biting bugs.
There’s no frost in the 15-day forecast, either.
Elsewhere, the duck and goose seasons are closed Oct. 11-15 in the southern zone, and the pheasant hunt begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 16.
Editor’s note: To read another In the Outdoors by Kevin Naze, CLICK HERE.