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Wow, here we are in September already. Labor Day is just a memory, fall is on the horizon and deer hunters have been sharpening up their skills in anticipation of another deer season.
In Connecticut, we have an overabundance of whitetailed deer and our DEEP Wildlife Division has done its utmost to bring down the numbers.
Yes, I know there are some animal activists who strongly oppose deer hunting, but from where I sit they really don’t have a clue on what wildlife management is all about.
Take into consideration that, left unhampered by hunting, a deer population can just about double in size every year. Do the math and also include deer/vehicle incidents that cost millions of dollars every year, plus the tragic loss of over 200 human lives.
Get the picture?
In Connecticut, we have a varied deer season. The first ones to get a chance of putting some venison in the freezer will be the bowhunters.
Connecticut bowhunters are also allowed to use crossbows during the archery season. In some states, like New York, this has been a matter of controversy.
New York has a bowhunting organization strongly opposed to the use of crossbows during the archery season, and so far it’s been successful in this endeavor. I dropped my membership in that organization because of its opposition to crossbows during the archery season.
We, as sportsmen/hunters, should be welcoming newcomers to our outdoor world instead of chasing them away. Look around you and tell me how many youngsters you see when you are in the outdoors hunting. Thankfully, we are seeing many more women in the outdoors and this is a good thing.
All this said, the archery season for whitetailed deer can be an exciting time. For one thing, the deer you harvest have to be up close and personal when you take a shot. This means that you will probably see more deer when bowhunting, even when they do not offer you a chance to put a tag on them.
Over the years, I have used the bowhunting season to give me a chance to get out in our great outdoors. It is also a great time to scout an area for deer for the upcoming firearms and black powder (muzzleloader) seasons. This time in the woods as a bowhunter had paid off very well for me over the years.
Granted, I did not fill my bow tags every season, but then some years were better than others. I do have to admit, though, that archery seasons here in Connecticut and in a couple of other states have left me with some of my finest outdoor memories.
I have always used ladder stands and usually put them in place before the arrival of the archery season. This usually works well if you have private land hunting permits because the landowner also knows who is on their land.
My very first archery permit on private land was availed to me on a farm in Colchester. The owners treated me like family and I was allowed to do anything I wanted as long as it was legal.
This was before ladder stands, and even tree climbers were just coming into their own. I found a tree along a swamp that looked like a deer area, so I built a wooden stand in the crotch of the tree. It was my very first attempt and it was a bit amateurish in design, but I spent a couple of archery deer seasons on it.
Back then, bow season began in October and I was in the stand one cool October morning when I saw some movement in the brush in back of me. I almost fell out of the treestand when I saw that the movement was an eight–point buck.
It was heading on a path that would take him away from me, so I gave a couple of grunts on a buck call and danged if the buck didn’t turn and start to come right at me.
Maybe you have to be a deer hunter to know that you did something right to call in an eight-point buck, I don’t really know, but I do know that that buck had to be deaf not to hear my heart pounding as it came closer and closer.
At that time in my bowhunting career, recurve bows were the vogue and I was using a Fred Bear Bushmaster. I had my arrow nocked and was shaking at the knees as the big buck kept coming on the path that would bring it into my shooting range of about 20 yards.
The buck never knew I was there, and as he stepped into my shooting lane I let the arrow fly. I had already envisioned the deer liver in my frying pan smothered in onions even before I took the shot.
To this day, I do not know how I missed that big buck, but the memory of it taking off unscathed by the arrow that I pulled out of the earth after its departure will be with me forever.
And to me, that is what hunting is all about: memories, both successful and some that were not.
This year, there will be two opening days for bowhunting. Private land bowhunters will be allowed to hunt starting Sunday, Sept. 15. (Sunday hunting is allowed ONLY on private land with owner permission.) Private land bowhunters are allowed four deer, two either sex and two antlerless.
State land hunters will be allowed to start their bowhunting on Monday, Sept. 16. (There is NO bowhunting allowed on state land on Sundays.)
Again, the bag limit is four, two either sex and two antlerless. Hunting is allowed one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
You have to go fishing to catch fish. Just ask Meriden resident Philip Brosseau.
He caught a nice rainbow trout out of the Quinnipiac River and it had a tag on it that awarded Brosseau with a $20 gift card from the Fishin’ Factory of Southington.
And, YES, there are still some tagged trout swimming in the Quinnipiac River!
Meriden High School Class of 1954: Where are you?
This will be your last notice. The Meriden High School Class of 1954 will be holding its 65th reunion on Oct. 19 from noon to 4 p.m. at Violi’s Restaurant at Hunter Golf Course.
For more information, contact John “Duke” Young at 860-613-1589. Hope to see some of my old classmates there.
See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving to protect the freedoms we enjoy. Freedom is not free!