Early December 2018

Well, here we are heading into the first week of December. Where I’m sitting right now, which is at my home in northern Wisconsin, winter weather has definitely settled in. To be honest though, we’ve been experiencing winter like weather for a few weeks now. Cold temps, off and on snow cover and most of our area lakes are froze over from shore to shore. I’ve actually been hearing reports of people ice fishing. Apparently there’s already five to six inches of ice on our area lakes, which is more than enough to support even a very large person. But I believe I’ll wait until it gets just a bit thicker before giving it a go.

I’ve heard that the bite has been very good on some area lakes. But there’s still plenty of winter left to do this!

On the subject of deer hunting; not much is happening with Jake and I at the moment. The Wisconsin muzzle loader season concludes at the end of today (Dec. 5th). Based on what we’d been capturing on some RECONYX scouting cameras, along with what we’ve seen on a couple recent scouting trips to our hunting property, we had already made the call to not put any additional pressure on our resident deer herd.

Meanwhile, our good friend Matt Tande has been busy trying to take a big buck with the ol’ smoke pole on his Buffalo County stomping grounds. I believe he also spent some time sitting in a blind with our mutual friend Joel Artis. (Joel owns and operates Buffalo County Outfitters in Mondovi, Wisconsin.) To this point, however, we haven’t heard a peep from either Matt or Joel. So we’d have to suspect that things were slow for them as well. That’s often how it goes during the post rut period.

Trying to ambush a mature buck during the post rut can be a lesson in frustration.

While I won’t be spending any more time chasing whitetails here in Wisconsin, I will be heading to Iowa some time after mid-December for a late season muzzle loader hunt. I’ll be hooking up with my long time friend Ted Marum to see if we can put one of those southern Iowa monster bucks on the ground. After looking at a number of scouting cam pics of some of the deer that roamed his property this year, I’m anticipating a great hunt with Ted.

These are the caliber of bucks that roam Ted Marum’s Iowa hunting property.

Now as luck would have it, Matt Tande and Joel Artis also are in possession of Iowa late season muzzle loader tags. And from what I understand, they’re taking the same approach as me in regards to exactly when they’ll be hunting. Put simply, we’re all going to be keeping an eye on the weather and praying for a bit of snow and colder temps to spur those mature Iowa bucks into daylight friendly feeding patterns.

Though we haven’t had any encouraging developments on our land the past several weeks, Jake and I still like to get out and ‘sniff around’ as often as possible. Our property is located amidst hundreds and hundreds of acres of roadless cover that has the potential to produce some really big whitetails. Unfortunately, it’s also the exact type of habitat that attracts large predators, i.e., bears, bobcats and wolves. Thankfully, the bears have hibernated for the winter. But the cats and wolves are still around, and they’re always hungry.

Alpa predators like this adult gray wolf can be devastating on a deer herd.

Over the years we’ve discovered that making periodic visits to our property, and leaving our scent in as many places as possible, can be a great deterrent to those large predators. Wolves seem to be especially sensitive to human intrusion. So we always try to be as obvious as possible while we’re walking around on our property. I’ll keep you posted on how that approach works for us in upcoming weeks.

More later….