Area sportsmen are ready for Saturday, when Wisconsin’s gun-deer season begins and the woods fill with hunters.

It has been a busy week at the shop leading up to the opening weekend of the season, said Don Roscovius, owner of Rosco’s Live Bait in Tomah.

“Lots of tags are being sold right now ... getting really busy with the later comers,” he said.

Until Saturday, the archery bow season remains under way, and hunters have been successful, Roscovius said.

“It sounds like there were quite a few bucks taken this week,” he said. “A guy at the shop (Tuesday) showed me a picture of the deer he got last week. I’ve had a lot of guys tell me they harvested their buck this past week.”

The rut is also still going on, Roscovius said. It’s not as intense as the past few weeks, but he said some deer are still on the move, which is promising for hunters.

Matt Modjeski, Department of Natural Resources conservation warden, agrees that the rut will be good for hunters.

“I think it’s slowing down − not over, but slowing down,” he said. “This Saturday is one of the earliest times for the gun deer opener, so probably some of the rut will still be going on yet.”

While snow is on the ground right now in the area, it’s probably going to melt as the temperatures are expected to rise by Thursday, Modjeski said. But temperatures opening weekend are expected to drop back down. He hopes some of the snow stays as it helps hunters to see and track deer.

Modjeski reminds hunters to dress for the weather — wear layers and use hand warmers and foot warmers.

Hunters should also be careful when entering or exiting a tree stand, Modjeski said. They should wear a safety harness, maintain three-point contact when going up or down a tree, make sure their weapon is unloaded and use a safety line for bringing it up and down.

In other hunting news, there will be several free deer carcass disposal sites throughout Monroe County. The locations are The Meat Smyth in Tomah and Modern Disposal Systems in Sparta.

Carcasses must be disposed of during the business hours of each site, each carcass needs to be contained in a bag and the hunter must fill out a sign-in sheet inside the business with his or her name, address, phone number and the carcass’ registration number.

There will also be a free carcass disposal site at Rosco’s Live Bait provided by the Tomah Fire Department.

Chronic wasting disease sampling sites will also be open during the season. Locations for the sites can be found at dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/registersample.html.

In other outdoors news, the Department of Natural Resources reports water levels on the Mississippi River are stabilizing after weeks of high water. At Perrot State Park, hiking trails are in good condition. With many of the leaves already on the ground, hikers can get an unobstructed view of the bluffs, the river and the topography of the park. Trail maps are available at the office.

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.

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