OUTDOORS REPORT: The rut reaches its peak

OUTDOORS REPORT: The rut reaches its peak

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Deer are on the move.

Griffin Abbott of Hatfield Sports Shop, said the rut is in full swing and deer are moving.

“I saw five bucks, and they’ve all been chasing does or they’re trailing one,” he said. “The rut’s coming into its peak, and there’s a lot of daylight movement. It’s cold now, but I call it big buck weather.”

Abbott himself got a doe two weekends ago and is waiting for the right buck to cross his path.

Don Roscovius, owner of Rosco’s Live Bait, said he hasn’t seen any deer, but he’s viewed pictures that show hunters have been successful.

“The rut is on right now, so guys are out seeing lots of deer. They’re running all around the country,” he said.

In front of the shop is a box for hunters to place deer heads to be tested for chronic wasting disease. About 25 heads have been dropped off during the archery season, Roscovius said.

Also at the shop is a dumpster for deer carcasses, Roscovius said. Anyone can come by and drop off a deer carcass free of charge. He asks that people not put household garbage in the dumpster.

In fishing news, Roscovius said angling is virtually nonexistent with few fishermen heading out.

“I’ve had a few guys going to do a little walleye fishing, but outside of that everybody is out hunting,” he said.

Abbott said he hasn’t heard much in the past two weeks but knows fishermen are catching some smallmouth bass and walleyes.

In addition musky are either biting or people are looking for them, Abbott said. The shop is only giving out five musky suckers per person now because the shop’s bait dealer is in short supply.

“People in Hayward are fighting over them pretty seriously. There’s a shortage of them this year,” he said.

The Department of Natural Resources reports that the Mississippi River is 5 ½ feet higher than normal at La Crosse, and discharges from dams are three times normal. The current in most backwaters is keeping away panfish that would normally migrate there for winter. The DNR says backwaters with no current are attracting panfish. Walleye and sauger are reported in tailwaters of locks and dams, although they can be dangerous places for boaters due to excessively high water flows.

There is still time for fall camping at Buckhorn State Park. Leaves are past changing and are falling fast with the wind and cooler temperatures. Bowhunters have been finding scrapes, rubs and seeing more deer movement in the park. Visitors can fish from shore or boat, even though boat piers have been removed.

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

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