Weather making it tough for sportsmen, TV host says

PARIS — The unusually mild temperatures in December may be enjoyable for some people, but not necessarily for the average sportsman.

That’s the word from local TV personality Kyle Randall, of Paris, and The Wilderness Journal while assessing the recently completed rifle deer hunting season.

“It turned out sort of as I predicted,” he said. “There were some very nice deer harvested. The number of deer that we saw and heard about on the Journal Facebook and on our website was down. It was less than I expected. But the quality, if you can call it that, or the age structure, I would say of the deer harvested, was better.

“There were areas where I believe the deer numbers were still quite good. Over in the Evart area toward Barryton, they had a really good season. Close to Big Rapids and east and north of here, it was spotty. We did have remarkable deer harvest, but there were less animals harvested than I was hoping to see.”

It wasn’t the best of weather conditions, Randall said.

“Having traveled around the country, and primarily the Midwest through November, the rut was actually close or after its peak,” he said. “So we didn’t see the normal amount of bucks chasing that you normally do around the Nov. 15 date. They were a little past that. I think there were a few less hunters out there. We didn’t see the activity that we’re used to.”

As for the potential this month of the muzzleloader and bow seasons, “it’s always the toughest time of the year to harvest a deer,” Randall said. “I know people are thankful for the warm weather. Nobody likes to shovel snow unless they’re throwing it on a ski run somewhere. But for it to be a viable late season, we need that cold, and the pressure of the coming winter to get the older deer back on their feet in the daylight and move them to feed. If that doesn’t happen, it’s going to be tough sledding for the late deer season.”

Other ongoing hunting seasons have also had some slow activity.

“The rain, the mud the high water situation are not very conducive,” Randall said. “It’s just a tough, tough late fall. We need a little bit more normal weather pattern for some of the guys and gals to get out and enjoy the things they like to do. I know the small game hunters, the rabbit guys, especially, they’re waiting for snow for their dogs to run.

“I know there’s no ice anywhere in the state that it’s safe to be on. It’s just one of those years where everyone is going to have to wait. Some of the steelhead stuff in the river when the rain isn’t heavy has been going well. If you’re going to pursue fish, especially on some of the inland lakes, you have to have some extra caution so you survive it.”