Hunters patient on opener [UPDATED]Published 11:35am Monday, November 5, 2012 Updated 12:34pm Monday, November 5, 2012
Hunters out for opening deer weekend were being patient, which makes for fewer deer tags being turned in, according to local meat processing plants and the Department of Natural Resources. But still, numbers are running about average.
“With a nine-day season, hunters are not desperate, they are more patient, waiting for a deer of their choice,” said Mike Shelden, District 3 supervisor. “It could change over the course of the week.”
Hunters saw plenty of deer, Shelden said, based on the people he talked to over the weekend, just not a deer they wanted to shoot.
“They were seeing the deer, but people like to hunt, and if they burn their tag, they are done,” he said.
Fergus Locker and Premier Meats, both deer drop-off sites, reported seeing slightly fewer deer, but both said it’s still early in the season.
“Numbers are actually about the same as last year,” said Russ Muchow, owner of Fergus Locker. “It’s a little sluggish, but it’s holding its own.”
While he usually sees a mix of bucks and does, he said this year hunters are turning in mostly bucks.
“It was pretty quiet out there,” said Brian Oliphant, Premier Meats owner. “What I was hearing is whatever (hunters) saw, they shot.”
He was out duck hunting and said he heard one shot in the three hours he was out.
Contributing to this year’s sluggish start, according to the DNR, is the lack of prime deer hiding places. With the corn 95 percent off the fields, deer are harder to find as they head to the woods.
The good news, said Shelden, is there were few reports of hunting-related accidents or injuries.
“We dread this time of year because of the accidents,” he said. “We want everybody to come home safe. We hate to hear about the accidents.”