Severe weather puts a damper on opening week of deer season
By Dale BOwman Post-Tribune correspondent November 21, 2013 9:30PM
Updated: December 23, 2013 3:48PM
Considering the havoc and horror in other areas, the weather on Sunday had little impact on nearby outdoors, other than keeping people indoors. The one impact is that most deer hunters had the sense to stay out of tree stands on Sunday. And that impact showed for the second day of firearm deer season, which runs through Dec. 1.
“The online numbers show that the opening weekend harvest was down, primarily on Sunday,’’ emailed Chad Stewart, deer research biologist. “This is obviously understandable since we had severe weather come through the state beginning early afternoon, and likely impacted participation that day.’’
Traditionally, opening weekend accounts for a quarter of the harvest in the 15-day season.
At nearby sites, the only thing of note was a tree down around the state line at LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area. But property manager Ken Bisacchi said hunters had no problem getting around it.
Otherwise, opening day on Saturday was fairly average. Six deer were killed at LaSalle. Kingsbury FWA had 13 bucks through Wednesday, including a 15-pointer. That’s about average for recent years.
Ron Lorman, Kingsbury property manager, noted, “That is way down from the 80s.’’
With the new reporting options, there are no hard numbers for harvest at Willow Slough FWA, but staff reported deer are actively moving.
Hunters wishing to donate venison may connect with those who want it through GiveIN Game. Go to in.gov/dnr/fishwild/7240.htm.
Fishing: Between deer season and the weather, very few are fishing. The one hot spot has been perch in nearly all Chicago harbors. A new spot is at the slip just north of the end of 87th on Chicago’s Southeast Side. . . . Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said there was still some quality steelhead fishing in the streams. ... Water temperatures are right for whitefish to come in on the lakefront, especially around Portage and Michigan City. ... When weather allows, there’s been perch and lakers on the reef outside of the Port. ... By this weekend, the first ice fishing is expected to be going in a few places in northern Wisconsin.
Waterfowl: It was a slow week for ducks at most sites. Staff at Willow Slough said there are ducks, but few fresh birds. And the weather forecast, with the possibility of icing next week, makes it tough to project what will be open for hunting next week. At LaSalle, the corn was hunted on Wednesday and only 12 were killed.
The second season for goose hunting in the north zone reopens on Thanksgiving and runs through Jan. 5.
Hunting notes: Put-and-take pheasant hunting (previous permits needed) opens Saturday at Willow Slough. ... Woodcock season ends statewide on Thanksgiving.
Hunter’s ED: Seats are going fast for hunter education classes at Cabela’s in Hammond on Dec. 21-22. Preregistration must be done at in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/4812.htm.
Wild things: Sandhill cranes are become the symbol of the change to winter as much as anything in the modern wilds locally. On Tuesday, the crane count at Jasper-Pulaski FWA was 15,372 cranes, high for the year.
Typically, this is about the peak for cranes at Jasper-Pulaski. I highly recommend it as a side trip around Thanksgiving. Bill Peak of Crown Point journeyed there over the weekend. He emailed, “Lots of cranes, however most of the birds seem to be on the fields near the NIPSCO plant on Route 49.’’
Permits: The 2014 permits for entrance, boating and horseback riding at Indiana state parks and reservoirs are available at site offices or at InnsGifts.com.