-By Brandon Wikman
The 2008 Wisconsin firearm deer season proved to be one of the slowest and most unproductive years I’ve ever experienced. I sat perched in a tree in absolute disbelief for three tiring days awaiting my moment of truth, which unfortunately never came.
From sunup to sundown, my eyes were fixed scanning tree lines with binoculars. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the many giant bucks I had captured on camera. The stand was setup in an open marsh, where a line of trees from an adjoining property funneled into a vast bedding area. It’s typically a perfect place to intercept a cruising buck or bump into a mess of deer escaping neighboring properties.
As the sun accented orange upon the frost glazed cattails and swamps grass, crackling rifle shots echoed. It was a legitimate and surefire sign that deer were on their feet and moving. My rifle was in my hands and ready for the first whitetail of the morning.
The morning slowly transpired into afternoon. I was shocked that I had not seen a speck of brown fur. Not only was the hunt extremely slow, but also the number of neighboring shots fired soon severely ceased after sunrise. It was beginning to become a very sticky and unusual situation.
My field producer and I tallied a total of thirty-six hours in our three-day hunting adventure. The only deer we spotted was at noon during opening day. A small group of does running mach-3 across the marsh vanished before we could even turn the video camera on. I was hoping to see a massive pair of antlers trailing the group of six, but there was nothing except a cloud of dust. It seemed as if the deer hunting was shutting down by the minute.
The rest of Saturday was spent chomping on a handful of candy mints and a makeshift lunch comprised of fruit and crackers. The only sign of life nearby was a resident red squirrel and a few birds. It was definitely not what I expected for opening deer firearm season in the infamous area of Buffalo County, WI. As night shadowed across the horizon I took a deep breath and knew that the next two days would be much better.
Sunday I packed a much heavier lunch and layered my clothing for a long cold sit. A northwest wind coupled with a high-pressure system brought in a chilling mid-twenty degree weather forecast. We even had a slight mix of snow in the early morning, which only scaled my expectations. I was more than ready to endure another twelve-hour sit on stand. There’s nothing more exciting than having a great weather system move in to get deer back on their feet. If there’s one thing that a hunter can use to predict deer movement, it’s weather. That is what I thought, until this past weekend...
Long story short, there wasn’t a single deer that passed by my gun stand Sunday or Monday. At the end of Monday I was exhausted in each and every way. Long cold days and a lack of deer sightings is one definite way to get burnt out. As they say, that’s just hunting. Sometimes it’s exceptionally good, while others times it’s just plain bad. All we can do is keep trying and take on the challenge of fair chase hunting.
This week I am in the land of many colors, also known as Colorado! I’m in pursuit for monster mule deer with my bow. Next week’s blog will be an update on my spot-and-stalk mule deer buck hunt!