Travis Bryant

Travis Bryant of Chesterton shows the huge king salmon he caught last month on the Little Calumet River.

Less cover, bucks in rut and normal November weather all point towards an outstanding deer-firearms opener on Saturday.

Indiana’s shotgun season for deer is Nov. 14-29. Complete regulations, which every hunter should review every year, are at www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild or in the printed 2015 Indiana Hunting & Fishing Guide.

A noteworthy change is no metal “possession” tags will be issued in 2015. although registration of every deer kill remains mandatory.

All deer check-in will be done on line at checkINgame.dnr.IN.gov or by phone at 1-800-419-1326. The phone-in option carries a $3 charge-card fee. Thorough instructions are included on the Check-IN-Game site.

As for hunting, better than 90 percent of the corn crop has been harvested in the area, which is considerably ahead of past years. That means a lot less acreage for deer to hide in.

Similarly, the big blow at mid-week finished off most of the fall foliage from bushes and trees and really opened up the view in the woods.

Those big winds are expected to subside today and the low temperatures for the weekend should be in the 30s — cold enough for the deer to keep moving, yet mild enough for hunters to stay comfortable for a few hours in the woods.

And the rut, that week or more when bucks go nuts and chase does around the clock, is still happening.

“Oh, it’s on,” Dale Elkins of Elkins Taxidermy and Deer Processing in Hudson Lake, said at mid-week. “It’s been bucks, bucks and bucks since Saturday, then Sunday and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“There have been a lot of really nice bucks (archery kills) brought in this week.”

And, as always on opening weekend, there will be thousands of fellow hunters pushing deer off their normal routine.

Importantly, enjoy the woods, hunting companions and your time doing something you’ve been waiting for all year.

Please be safe, too … as in don’t do anything stupid.

Respect the weapon you’re carrying. Make a mistake with it and you could be paying for it the rest of your life.

Always be 100 percent certain of what you’re aiming at and everything beyond. There is zero room for maybes, thought-it-was or hoping-for. You must be absolute before slipping the safety off.

Falls from elevated stands are the leading cause of deer hunting injuries — and even death. Strap on a safety harness and make sure the gun is unloaded while going up and down.

And wear plenty of “hunter” orange while reminding non-hunters — hikers, anglers, trappers or anyone else going near woods — to do the same.

If you’re lucky — perhaps really lucky to shoot an extra deer — don’t forget about the less fortunate.

Mike Mussa, proprietor of Eastside Meats (219-874-7524), a popular deer processor at 4666 West U.S. 20, Michigan City (a bit east of I-94), has been the middle man between hunters and area soup kitchens, shelters and church programs for years. Its as simple as leaving a few pounds of venison burger behind when you get a deer butchered or donate an entire deer for a greatly reduced processing fee.

Deer Numbers: Indiana hunters bagged 120,073 whitetail deer in 2014, with 33,839 shot during opening weekend.

Deer List: A few points, some obvious,  from the Indiana DNR’s deer hunting check list include purchase license, sign it and carry it with you. Don’t forget ammunition and a sharp knife for field dressing. Temporary transportation tag and pen, and fill out most of it ahead of time. Fully charged cell phone and leave location details with family or friends. Know where your partners or anyone else on property is hunting. Put on plenty of hunter orange.over, bucks rutting and normal November weather all point towards an outstanding deer-firearms opener on Saturday.

State Tournament: The 30th annual Indiana State Stream & Surf Tournament is set for Dec. 3. This is a big trout contest. See www.nwisteelheaders.org for rules and entry form.

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