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Deer hunting is an institution in Wisconsin. Everyone hunts here. I grew up around it, and it’s always been a part of what happens in the fall. Blaze orange and camouflage are part of every wardrobe, and everyone knows someone who knows someone with a cabin up north.
It starts out quietly with bow season (ours opened last weekend) and gradually gains steam to reach full frenzy the week of Thanksgiving. City populations shrink with a mass exodus to the woods, ads run constantly on the radio for Deer Hunters’ Widow Balls and entire factories even shut down for those few days so everyone can get their fill. It’s actually kinda nuts, but it all seems to work out. And it makes me wonder a little bit how our experience here in Wisconsin compares to deer hunting seasons in other parts of the country. Based on the numbers, I have to believe it’s pretty similar everywhere.
America Loves to Deer Hunt
The most recent study by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “Deer Hunting in the United States: Demographics and Trends,” says that there are about 12.5 million hunters in the U.S. Of those, 10+million hunters go for deer, and in nine states, that number jumps to more than 90% who are resident deer hunters. That’s a pretty vigorous and manic following.
Whatever It Takes for an Edge
The mania is steeped in tradition and ritual for most hunters, though much of it in the name of fun, personal accomplishment or flat-out, hope-against-hope superstition. Suddenly, beards spring up on the most unlikely of faces, much of it patchy and sparse; beer sales shoot through the roof; and for a few days, you see jackets and overalls airing out on clotheslines in backyards, resurrected for their annual appearance.
There are also some quirky things people do for deer hunting, in hopes it will provide a divine influence in the week’s outcome. Things like always eating the same exact breakfast opening morning, listening to Ted Nugent sing about Fred Bear over and over on the drive up, turning the right sock inside out or wearing the same coat from their first hunting trip when they were 12. My left brain knows there’s more to it than donning a paper-thin concert T-shirt from decades gone by – things like skill and technique, preparation, location, persistence and even equipment – but my right brain enjoys these creative approaches, too.
Better Equipment Helps, Too
If you are looking to improve your experience with something a bit more dependable and logic-based, here are a few items to make these precious few days in the woods easier and more enjoyable.
Kill Shot Game Cart: Why lug all your hunting gear to your stand by hand when you can haul up to 500 lbs. with this convenient game cart? No worry about getting a flat, either; the tires are solid rubber. Pull your deer easily through fields and woods back to your truck or cabin.
Kill Shot Game Hoist: This hitch-mounted game winch lifts your deer (up to 500lbs) and gives full 360 degree access for gutting and skinning. No messing around with ropes and looking for the ideal tree branch. Works great for open field areas with little or no cover.
Gun and Bow Cases: A wide selection for shotguns and rifles, soft and hard gun cases, plain and camouflage, at reasonable prices. Bow cases to fit compound bows, hard cases and soft bags, some with room for quiver, arrows and more.
Front ATV Gun Bag: There’s room for your rifle, water bottles, extra clothing and a sandwich out in the field. Main compartment has adjustable dividers to accommodate other necessities.
Power-Pack Bow Rack: Secure your bow to a carrying rack that mounts right to the front or rear of your ATV. The rubber cradles only come in contact with the bow’s frame, and it will fit either a compound or a recurve.
ATV Cargo Bag: Made of water-resistant polyester, this ATV storage bag provides 2.75 cubic feet of carrying space for all the hunting gear you’ll need for the day. The main compartment has movable dividers, and there are additional mesh pockets on the inside of the bag’s lid.
30 Liter Dry Bag: A highly-transportable means of keeping extra clothing, ammunition, matches and other supplies dry while hunting. Folds flat when not in use.
Hunter’s Deluxe Survival Kit: An emergency kit for hunters! The survival kit includes everything you need in an emergency, from food and water, to tools, to shelter, to first aid items, all in one pack.
Tell us what you are doing to prepare for deer hunting this year!