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Wisconsin’s 2018 gun deer season is a meager few days in the future, but past tells all that many prospective hunters have yet to purchase a license, sight in a gun or bow, or determine where they will be Nov. 17.

As important, some hunters have not given hunting philosophy, perspective, meat consumption and safety as much as a day dream.

Take it from Mike Zintz, of Madison, who knows he is unlikely to pick up a gun, or even take his compound bow into the woods to fill his gun buck harvest authorization. Still he is well prepared should he change his mind or continue to pursue whitetails during the remainder of the archery and crossbow seasons.

Zintz washed high windows at UW-Madison for several decades, so he knows tree stand safety and that most falls by window washers are from ladders, even step ladders; he uses a climbing stand rather than tree steps.

He has three safety devices when he’s in the tree, so the likelihood of all failing is miniscule.

He’s thought about eating, or not eating, venison because of CWD. He gets his deer tested and if positive, he landfills it, in part because his grandchildren love his venison. You never know, he says, as defense of his action.

Zintz is fit, exercises in a gym three times a week, and watches his diet, especially since having a heart attack and six bypasses in 2003.

He hunts alone so someone knows where he is, and he carries a phone. He’s prepared, loves the solitude and has thought of safety. How about you?

Preparation for the season goes beyond rules and regulations. Many of safety measures apply to deer watchers, photographers and admirers, too.

Deer continue to be on the move, all times of the day and night, and sometimes they don’t look both ways before crossing country streets.

While most forests are now open of understory vegetation, some fields and marshes are not. Ample rainfall has given the earth a great growth of “hair” this summer and fall. Know your target but it may be difficult to see beyond in some locations.

Pheasant release sites have been crowded. Success has been good and so has respect for fellow hunters.

Squirrels seem super plump; some hunters think of them as little deer who live in trees, and hunt them accordingly.

Wild turkeys are there for Nov. 22 dinner and beyond, even during gun deer season, but with a shotgun or bow (and wearing hunter orange).

Now that foul weather has become common, many birds appreciate a handout. Watch for them at feeders and in crabapple trees, planted and wild.

Sighting ranges are busy, too, particularly public locations at Portage and Yellowstone.

Regardless of the venture, drink plenty of water. Get ample sleep. Most important is getting back safely and with a positive attitude about the trek. Be careful out there.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at or 608-924-1112.


Regional Sports Editor

Capital Newspapers Regional Sports Editor