"I got my buck and another Yooper firearm deer season is in the books," said ubiquitous WW&W wildlife correspondent Paris Hiltunen over Barney Leskinen's venison makara hors d'oeuvres at the Cliff View, "but it ain't over yet, a lotta hunters just switch guns and morph into muzzleloading, blackpowder season started today."
"It's not as easy as just changing guns, you've gotta change underwear too," she continued indulgently, "It's bad luck to wear the same undies for muzzleloading that you wore during the firearm season, besides the deer can pick up your scent in a heartbeat, that's why I wash all my hunting clothes in unscented detergent and line-dry them," she tipped, "That's how the pros do it."
The regular firearm season ended with a bang on Wednesday. One of the best barometers to measure the hunt is how busy the taxidermists are. If you shot a trophy buck, the fabulous furry Fortin brothers can turn it into a wall-hanger for you. Brad runs Keweenaw Critters in Laurium, 337-0486, keweenawcritters.com, and Brent operates Fortin's Fins & Furs, Bootjack, 296-9975. A visit to their showrooms is enough to set any sportsman's heart a'twitter.
I know guys who hunt hard throughout the archery, rifle, muzzleloader and late bow seasons. They are called bachelors. They know that after the main rut, there's a secondary rut with young-of-the-year doe coming into their first estrus that runs into December.
"If you think I'm a flirt, you should see what those young ones do to get a buck's attention," Paris batted her eyes like she meant business, "plus, those stand-offish mature does that just weren't ready or somehow got overlooked during the main rut are hot to trot now like survival of the species depended on it."
"The biggest and smartest bucks don't fall for the first hot doe that comes along and gives them a whiff," WW&W whitetail correspondent John Deer said over a bowla venison booyaw at the Elks Club, the most appropriately-popular bar of all during deer season.
"They are taken during the second rut," he continued, "with hunting pressure down and the guns gone quiet, wily old swamp bucks that bedded down when the shooting started are now coming outa deep cover, willing to break pattern for a date with a hot doe, and giving savvy late-season archers and muzzleloaders a shot at the rack of their dreams."
By the time I got to Phoenix at dark-thirty on closing day, WW&W wildflower correspondent and whitetail monitor Arbutus Peterson had her final buck poll tallied and ready by press time. Kevin Gherna, 5 pt; John Gherna, spike; Bruce Bykkonen, 3 pt; Bob Bykkonen, 5 pt; Keith Brey, 3 pt; Tom Hall, 5 pt; Bill Johns, 8 pt; Doug Miller, 6 pt; Bill Darnell Sr, 8 pt; Bill Darnell Jr, 8 pt; Jeff Erickson, 4 pt; Mike Erickson, 4 pt; Tom Dahlgren, 6 pt; Doug Loven, 6 pt; Ben Stankey, 6 pt; Bruce Paulson, 6 pt; Michael Dudenas, 7 pt; Justin Dudenas, 6 pt; Mark Dudenas, 3 pt; Eric Waara, spike; Paul Lahti, 10 pt; Dan Erkkila, 5 pt; Nolan Jenich, spike; Ryan Kaura, 5 pt; John Cima, 8 pt; Kayla Keranen, 8 pt; Dustin Keranen, 6 pt; Josh Tregnowan, 4 pt; Tammi Spagnotti, spike; Frank Spagnotti, spike; Aaron Lahti, 9 pt; Emil Dyni, 6 pt; Tim Basto, spike; Cheryl Patrick, spike; Suds Laurie, spike; Daryl Laurie, spike; Butch Leskinen, 10 pt.
Judy & Jerry Rota's Vansville buck poll had Jake Ellenich, 6 pt; Elbow Ellenich, spike; Chuck Ellenich, 3 pt; Neil Harri, 8 pt; George Sever, 5 pt; Keith LaTendresse, spike; Tim Harft, spike; Leland Gasperich, 6 pt; Cliff Hannula, 4 pt; Matt Westerbrink, 8 pt; Bill Westerbrink, 8 pt; Roger Perreault, 6 & 7 pt; Joe Langdon, 6 pt; Lee Breitkreutz, 8pt; Bill Bessner, 6 pt; Joe Waananen, spike.
In addition to last week's WW&W scorecard, successful hunters on the buck board at the Cliff View are Holly Leskinen, 6pt/115; Steve Renn, 10 pt/165; Jerry Maki, 7 pt/165; Kyle Capello, 3 pt/135; Don Nicely, 6 pt/140; Dennis Delovich 3 pt/125; Keith Brey, 11 pt/200; Brian Anglin, 9 pt/155; Mark "Hawk" Grahek, 6 pt/178; Dave McKinstry, 8 pt/170; Steve Kipina, 10 pt/180; Joe Reilly, 4pt/130; Dan Glinn, 5 pt/140; Tom Talvensaari, 8 pt/175; Hank Nurmi, 9pt/180; Ken Bracco, 10pt/150; Todd Lightfoot, 8 pt/139; Bill Dwyer 9 pt/153.
In other outdoor news, Boston Pond, Swedetown Pond, Calumet Lake and Lake Medora have first ice, but I wouldn't try skating on them just yet.
Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at firstname.lastname@example.org.