By Louie Stout

Opening Day Buck

Tom Sibal of Goshen shot this big, 8-point buck opening morning of gun season in Fulton County. The deer dressed out at 192 pounds, the biggest he’s ever taken in more than 30 years of hunting. The next day he watched two eagles feast on the gut pile he left behind.

The 2018 deer firearms season in Michiana won’t break any records, but it certainly was better than last year.

Wildlife biologists in both Indiana and Michigan say their respective gun seasons were pretty good and showed signs of a healthy deer population.

Admittedly, it’s not fair to compare the recent gun season harvest numbers with last year since this region was bludgeoned with horrible weather during the early part of the 2017 gun season. This year’s weather was more conducive to a good day in the field.

All of the area counties’ harvest exceeded last year while St. Joseph and Elkhart kill numbers for this fall were pretty close to what they were in 2015 and 2016. Kosciusko, Marshall and LaPorte were about 200 deer shy of what the gun harvest produced during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

By Louie Stout

Biologists Predict Better Season for Gun Hunters in Both States

If archery season is an indicator as to hunting prospects for this week’s firearms season, the 2018 deer season could be a very good one.

Michigan’s firearms season opens Thursday while Indiana’s kicks off Saturday.

The bow harvest has been up in Indiana and Michigan which suggests the deer herd is up. Of course, conditions have been pretty good for a fall hunt and crops have been coming out of the fields, both factors that improve hunters’ chances of getting a deer.

Indiana deer biologist Joe Caudell said official harvest numbers for St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall, LaPorte and Kosciusko counties show more deer killed (1,491) by this year’s bow hunters through last week than last year (1,312) or in 2016 (1,204) during the same period.

“I noticed the antlered harvest is up from the last couple years as well,” Caudell said.

By Louie Stout

Got more deer meat than you need? Consider donating your next deer to the “Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger” program or “Indiana’s Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.”

Participating nearby Indiana processors are Jaworski Market in South Bend (574-297-0091), Slabaugh Meat in Nappanee (574-773-0381), John’s Butcher Shop in Nappanee (574-773-4632), Martin’s Custom Butchering in Wakarusa (574-862-2982).

In Michigan’s Cass County, Vlasicak Meat Market (269-445-8763) in Cassopolis is accepting donations. Most of the processors will handle the processing at no charge or you can donate a portion of your next deer to the program.