The late fall day that many people in the Upper Peninsula consider a regional holiday of sorts is finally here. Opening day of firearm deer season had bright blue skies and temperatures in the 40s, but the conditions might actually have been a little too good.
Mark Simon and Bart Bartelli have hunted together in Big Bay for many years, and they had success on opening day. They came out of the woods with a 130–pound buck to check in.
“This unlucky lad behind me here (is) only a year and a half old,” Simon said. “Just a super-nice day out there. It’s actually beginning to get a little bit too nice, so we’ve got to try and find a place to get this processed.”
Their buck was one of 8 deer that the Marquette DNR field office deer check station had seen by early Friday afternoon.
“Today is actually a pretty good start to the deer season,” DNR wildlife technician Bill Rollo said. “We had some nice, good temperatures in the morningtime. Looks like it’s a beautiful day out. I’m sure that people are out there having a good time hunting.”
There’s no snow cover in the Marquette area right now, but Simon said snow isn’t as much of a necessity for tracking deer movements as it used to be.
“The tracking part is becoming less and less of a thing now, with the better rifles and ammunition and scopes,” he said. “But the temperature, as far as the processing and the deer movement, I think I would sure like to see it drop somewhere below freezing.” Still, he said the Big Bay area had a dusting of snow on the ground Friday morning.
Rollo went for a drive around Marquette County on Thursday to check for snow. Besides the north country, he found flakes in Skandia and farther east. “I’ve seen some over in Alger County, over by Chatham,” he said. “With the warmer temperatures, we probably won’t have too much snow out there, but colder temperatures are expected by early next week.”
The 2013 firearm deer season will have two full weekends and part of a third. It continues through November 30th, the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.