IRON MOUNTAIN The first week of firearm deer season in Michigan has produced mixed results.
"We've seen a few nice bucks come in," said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township. "I imagine it will pick up next week with colder weather headed in. But it's the same old story. Some guys are seeing a lot, some are not. Depends who you are and where you are."
Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River said the kill appears to be up a bit so far this season.
"It looks like it's been a pretty fair start," he said. "We're also seeing some nice size racks compared to last year."
Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing said hunters his way have seen a lot of spike-horn bucks.
"There's really been nothing to write home about yet," he said.
With a week remaining in Michigan's firearm season, some hunters have exercised patience in the woods.
"A lot of guys are looking for eight points and higher," said Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle. "They've been letting the little ones go. For the most part it's been sporadic."
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, hunters in the western and central portions of the Upper Peninsula have reported seeing more deer in the woods than last year.
Antler development appeared to be above average.
Hunters in the east reported seeing deer in good condition, with an increase in fawns over last year.
Deer check station numbers in the west were about the same or slightly higher than in 2009, while the eastern locations as a whole were similar to last year.
Wisconsin's regular nine-day gun deer hunting season opened this morning and runs through Sunday, Nov. 28. State wildlife officials say that conditions look very good, with the white-tailed breeding season, or rut, still near peak across much of the state.
"We've seen some pretty nice bucks during bow season," said Pattie Teske at Florence Sport and Bait. "Hopefully that will continue. Seems like it was a good year for antler growth. Hunters are optimistic."
Wisconsin's season is structured this year to have a more conservative antlerless deer harvest in much of the state. Nearly half of the state is under a "regular" season structure, where hunters may only shoot an antlered deer, unless they purchase an additional unit-specific antlerless permit if they are available for the unit. Areas of far northeastern Wisconsin are under a buck-only season structure, where no antlerless permits were available.
Not much was reported by fishermen. The few heading out were mostly targeting walleyes.
Anglers are reminded, not only is this a great time of year to fish, but they will find more room to do so because boat launches, docks and other types of fishing piers are not crowded. This is when shore anglers catch steelhead and whitefish. Inland lakes and the backwaters of rivers also provide excellent fishing opportunities for pretty much any species out there including bluegill, crappie, perch, bass, pike and walleye.
Michigan DNRE reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Marquette - Shore anglers are looking for menominee. Best action comes from a small hook with a single egg or wax worm off the Lower Harbor breakwall.
Little Bay De Noc - Had fair walleye fishing with most anglers trolling crank baits in the flats between Saunders Point and Garth Point or just off the reefs in 10 to 35 feet of water. Some were also drifting chubs along the weeds. Best time to fish was late evening and into the night. Some large fish were caught off the east bank along Stonington in 8 to 30 feet of water. Overall, good numbers of fish were marked throughout the Bay with catches increasing every week.
Perch fishing was still fair to good from the Narrows north to the Day's River. Try minnows in 10 to 25 feet of water from the Second Reef to the green buoy just off the Day's River.
St. Mary's River - Walleye are being caught in Munuscong Bay.