Residents of the Midwest braced for snow over the weekend, and many were surprised when much more fell than expected. The first snowfall of the season left up to 20 inches of snow from North Dakota to Michigan, and a deep freeze set in on Sunday behind the passage of the cold front.
While it may have made trips to treestands more difficult, hunters say the snow is a good thing.
“It seems to be a lot better than last year. The bucks are still chasing the does out there from what I can tell,” Bernie Thibault, who harvested an eight-point buck during Wisconsin’s gun opener on Saturday, told Fox 6.
Hunters like Thibault say they wish for snow every year and it is not hard to imagine why. Snow makes deer easier to find and track, and it is much easier to follow a blood trail on snow than it is on uncovered ground. Many hunters also agree that deer are more active during snowfall. While some deer have decided to bed down, the low temperatures mean the animals are more apt to move around and this is especially true with first snow.
“That first snow it kind of throws deer off too because all of a sudden their world just changed, especially for the deer that have been through it their first time,” Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife supervisor Jeff Pritzl told NBC 6.
Wisconsin DNR officials reported that as of late Saturday afternoon, hunters already registered 2,449 bucks and 1,381 anterless deer. In some areas of the state, such as Rock County, hunters had to contend with 10 to 20 inches of snow. Conditions in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan were just as bad and residents were advised to remain home until the roads could be cleared.
“It’s a typical first snow for us, but it’s a pain in the butt. There’s quite a bit of it and it’s kind of difficult plowing and snowblowing,” Robert Lukes, who spent part of the weekend clearing sidewalks in Capron, Illinois, told CBS News. “It’s just another snowstorm in northern Illinois.”