Friday, November 18, 2016

Midseason report 2016 -- deer-less in Michigan and hope for colder weather

By Mac Arnold
RTWO Editor-In-Chief

Here we are for what is usually a magical time called the "Midseason report" at Rockin' the Wild Outdoors, yet it's been anything but a rockin' one.

If we look at the record here, we find little in the blam-blam of the shotgun and no whooshing of arrows from the Martin bow.

Let's see, from September to October there were four missed shots over five goose outings, all in Monroe County, Michigan; one missed shot in a lone October grouse trip to Gladwin County, Michigan public hunting land; no shots in one turkey hunt in Sanilac County, Michigan; and in an even bigger surprise, there were no shots period over roughly 15 archery deer gigs -- to include an early September firearms season one in which I used a crossbow -- from October to early November.

What's going on here?

For one, I'm much more patient.

Additionally, I've been sticking to the game plan, which is, make it something significant to be worthwhile.

So despite not having any downed game to my credit in more than 20 outings, I think this is a good thing.

Really, I would have to admit that out the chances on deer, only one do I think I could have turned into pay dirt.

I passed on two smallish does while in the ground blind with my wife, who remarked that neither deer was much bigger than Augustus, our 100-pound Lab. And with that, the decision was made. No way was I going to try a shot, especially when I heard previously there was a 200-pounder doe in that section of woods. We also heard a couple more behind us in the still green brush, so we waited them out but they never appeared.

RTWO photo by Mac Arnold

A Nov. 2 hike out to the woods in a short-
sleeve shirt is a perfect example of how warm
it's been this deer hunting season.
For the most part, I think the reason I'm not seeing many deer is it's just too warm. But all of that could change this weekend, with temperatures dropping low enough to cause snow, and blowing snow at that with the predicted blustery conditions.

I'm not sure if even this weather change will help my luck this season.

So is my 15-year streak of getting a deer each season in jeopardy?

Additionally, I have not gotten a deer only once, in 2000, since I started hunting in 1993.

Guess you will have to log back on this site later to find out what happens.

* * * 
This midseason report is so in-depth that it even touches on the first two days of the regular deer firearms season in Michigan, which opened Tuesday, Nov. 15. (Is it so in-depth or is because I'm so behind in writing?)

Anyway, again, temperatures were above normal and from where I sat at the Sanilac County camp for the opener and in Monroe County behind the house on the second day, I saw zero deer in any of the morning-evening sits.

The headline for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources news release from Wednesday, Nov. 17, pretty much concurred with my findings, "Firearm deer hunting season kicked off Tuesday; mixed reviews across the state."

It added, "warm weather and fog in some areas seem to have had an effect on deer movement."

Hmmm. You think?

No, I know because the only deer I had chance on was early Nov. 15 when one of two deer darted across the rural Sanilac County road I was hauling down in the Jeep and then peeled back in front of me a second time, and I had to lock them up on loose gravel before proceeding onward again. It was pretty close.

Ashley Autenrieth, DNR deer program biologist, said pretty much the same thing in the news release in all four of Michigan's regions, that deer numbers were down and would pick back up once colder temperatures returned and the corn crops were chopped.

It can only go up from here for me because I've pretty much have seen nothing.

For more information on deer hunting in Michigan, visit the DNR’s webpage at

Oh, don't miss my video below while on the tree stand Oct. 30.

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