Last Weekend To Hunt: Captain’s Column
By Matt Schauer

Posted: November 22, 2012

Today is Thanksgiving Day! Does Thanksgiving seem early this year? The answer is yes. So here is a little Thanksgiving Day trivia for you. Thanksgiving Day is always the fourth Thursday in November. Since sometimes there are five Thursdays in November as there are this year, Thanksgiving may not be on the last Thursday of the month. The earliest date for Thanksgiving is November 22, which is this year. The latest date for Thanksgiving is November 28, which last happened in 2002 and will again be the date we celebrate Thanksgiving in 2013.

Today is the day that many families get together to kick off their annual four day hunting holiday weekend. With the big game rifle season for deer and elk coming to a close in Montana, this Sunday hunters will be out in force to try and fill their deer and elk tags. I will be one of them. I have logged a lot of miles elk hunting this year and I am still looking for an opportunity to harvest an elk. My travels elk hunting have taken me to some new areas in Montana, this year, which I have really enjoyed hunting. The elk populations to me seem to be far greater east of Western Montana so I have logged a few miles getting to these elk hunting areas.

While elk hunting is on my mind other hunters will be trying to fill their deer tag this weekend. The big bucks will be in their annual rut as they become less weary of hunters. It is the time of the year when some really nice “wall hanger” mule and whitetail deer get harvested.

This holiday weekend is not only for deer and elk hunters. Waterfowl hunters up in the Mission Valley are reporting some good success on duck and goose hunting. The duck numbers are as good as they have been in recent years. The weather this November has been mild for the most part so look for even better numbers of ducks when the weather turns colder and the northern flights arrive from Canada.

The mild weather has not been very good for making ice on area lakes, as ice fisherman start to gear up for the upcoming ice fishing season. The mild daytime temperatures have been wonderful for anglers fishing area lakes and rivers. Lake trout are being caught on Flathead Lake by boat anglers and I even had a report from Tiber Dam, which is north of Great Falls that walleye fisherman were doing very well with a jig and a minnow. If you want to try some fishing under the lights then Dick Zimmer from Zimmers Tackle has been fishing in a boat at night by the Armed forces Bridge in Polson. He is catching both lake trout and whitefish with his size 10 green LMR Specials baited with maggots above a green bottom weight.

“With this kind of fishing dressing warm with an ice fishing mentality to endure the cold really helps,” he said. Wherever your outdoor adventures take you this holiday weekend be safe and good luck.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!