Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Wow! It’s hard to believe that the opening day of deer season is just around the corner.. If, like me, you hunt in WMU 2D, you’ re once again the subject of an experiment by our friends at the Game Commission. Here, unlike in some other parts of the state, you can hunt both bucks and does the first week (with the more severe antler restrictions). While I don’t have a real problem with scientific experimentation, I do wonder why it always has to involve me. After all, the antler restrictions are already worse where I hunt.. I think that, if the Game Commission is going to give people the shaft, they should at least spread it around a bit. I still think that seniors should be exempt from antler restrictions, just like kids.
Now is the time to make preparations for what, despite the Game Commission’s best efforts, still amounts to a holiday in Pennsylvania. That way, things won’t be so crazy the night before opening day. It’s probably the best time to sight in the old shootin’ iron. That way, you’ll have time to correct any faults you may have developed with your shooting, or any mechanical problems with the gun or scope. If you wait until the day before the season opens, and I know this from experience, you’ll possibly face a lot of crowding at shooting ranges. If you have a private place to sight in, of course, this will not be a problem. Also, if there is a gun problem, it can be pretty hard to find an available gunsmith on the day before deer season. I also think it’s a good idea to give your gun a good cleaning before you hunt with it. In addition, I like to apply a coating of rust protectant to the external surfaces, to help protect the finish against any rain or snow so often encountered in deer hunting.
In our zeal to cover all bases regarding guns, we sometimes tend to overlook our other gear. For example, boots are worthy of a checkup. A lot of hunters, myself included, like the felt-lined models with rubber bottoms and leather uppers. Rubber is subject to dry rotting, no matter what you do to prevent it, and, I’ve heard, the thread stitching the tops to the bottoms can give out, resulting in separation. That would be a nice surprise on opening day morning. Other clothing, such as coats, gloves, hats, etc. should be checked out as well. A lot of things can happen over the course of a year in storage.
With so much attention focused on hunting, it’s easy to overlook some of the great walleye fishing that November has to offer. Late season fishing requires different techniques and gear from that used in warmer weather. While walleyes are still actively feeding, they are somewhat slower to respond to your bait or lure in cold water. This should be kept in mind at all times , regardless of the bait or technique you choose.
About the only live bait that has produced well for me in the late season is a medium shiner. Baiting up in the cold can be pretty bad, especially if you have to get your hands wet in the process.
Although late season walleye fishing in rivers can be very productive, many municipalities, for whatever reason, are early to remove docks from the water. Apparently, anglers rank rather low on the list of dock users. You might actually have to get into the water to launch your boat, but it could be worth it.