Crisp weather means deer season is coming

My wife and daughter will head north to Lily Lake this weekend so I can get some serious housework done.

Yeah, right!

With these clear, fall-like skies and leaf-curling temperatures, can any self-respecting male deer hunter be expected to do anything but sight in the bow, set some trail cameras, scout for sign and buy some absolutely unneeded deer hunting gear?

Are you with me, guys?

Sept. 17 is just around the corner, and any deer hunter reading this already knows what that day means.

That's the day the biggest buck of our dreams stumbles through the brush, too early in the season to be spooked by other hunters. That's the day he stops cold at 22 yards, turns to look back down the trail, perhaps at an angry blue jay, and the sight pin nestles in that dark crease behind his front leg.

And time stops as you see the fletching disappear, passing through deer hide. And then he's gone.

But you know and he knows in that unforgettable second that it's over. He's just over the next hill, lying stone dead. Your friends will slap your back. There will be a parade through town with you in a convertible, waving as little kids in camo ask for your autograph. Finally the official scoring, the magazine interviews, the deer lure endorsements, the TV show contract-and then you wake up.

We bowhunters are Chuck Adams, the Bone Collector and Lee Lakosky combined this time of year (get your hands off my Tiffany). Each of us has renewed hope for the coming season and we are all tied for a shot at the Pope & Young No. 1 buck.

Me? I'll settle for a fat doe and some delicious, nutritious venison.

This year's bow season will be the longest in the state's history, because bowhunting will be allowed during the nine-day gun deer season (bowhunters must also obey the blaze orange apparel requirement at that time). I don't expect to see any bowhunters in the woods during that season, but it will be nice for diehard archers who want to hunt their own land to continue hunting with bow and arrow.

The bow season will be closed the Friday before the gun season, as always. The second half of the season then ends Jan. 8.

There will be no October antlerless gun deer season this year (except in the CWD zone), so archers won't be interrupted by that.

Deer numbers look good, so only time will tell if we top the 87,000 deer bowhunters took last season (the third most in history). I'm seeing plenty of deer in the fields around New London, although I did not see as many car-killed deer this spring and summer as in many years.

If you are successful in the early season, be mindful of the warm weather and get your deer to a processing facility (or your own meat locker) quickly. If you have a long drive, stuff the chest cavity with bags of ice and prop the chest open with a stick or spreader bar.

Be sure you shoot a few arrows tipped with the broadheads of your choice. I'm curious what everyone's shooting, so drop me a note and tell me what head you prefer, and how it has performed. I've gone back and forth many times between fixed-blade and mechanical heads, but this year I'm shooting Fuse fixed-blade heads. And I've put the recurve bow down and picked up a Hoyt Alphamax 35.

Here's to autumn days, doing what we were born to do, in a state with the most trophy deer in the record books. Best of luck this season, and if you are successful, send us photos!

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By Ross Bielema
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