Time of year to get a little squirrelly

I hope y’all are having a super Labor Day weekend! For outdoor enthusiasts September brings with it all kinds of good things, including the beginning of autumn (September 22).

September also marks the beginning of various hunting seasons in Connecticut beginning with gray squirrels, which opens tomorrow on the 2nd. The first part of the gray squirrel season will end September 30 and then reopen on the opening day of the Connecticut upland game season (October 19) and runs right through to the end of the year.

Over the years I have noticed that hunting gray squirrels has waned a bit, and this only means that some hunters are missing out on some great hunting fun as well as some super eating. Hey, those of you who have never tried squirrel in spaghetti sauce or any other squirrel recipes, don’t knock it.

Squirrel hunting is a great way to introduce a youngster into hunting. My brothers, Pete, Dave, Paul and I, began hunting with our Dad, Mike, as soon as we were able to walk with him in the woods that surrounded our home in South Meriden.

As well as introducing us to a hunting experience, the gray squirrels also gave us some great eating at a time during the war years when meat for the family table was scarce.

Two of our favorites hunting places were nut groves that the squirrels made their dens in. We would sneak silently into an area and then just sit back and wait for the squirrels to start scurrying about in the treetops. It would be a proud father and sons hunting team that would bring back a limit of gray squirrels for the family table.

Back then, squirrel season did not start until the third Saturday in October, when a good part of the foliage was already on the ground. This also made for better hunting because it was a lot easier to spot the squirrels as they mover from tree to tree overhead.

I do realize that with the earlier opening day in September the trees still are heavy with green foliage making it harder to see old bushy tail as he darts about looking for tasty nuts and acorns to chomp on, but the patient squirrel hunter should be able to harvest enough squirrels for a tasty meal. The daily bag limit for gray squirrels is eight, with a season limit of 40.

The month of September also brings with it the start of the archery season for whitetail deer and wild turkey. Traditionally, the season usually starts on the 15th of the month, but because it falls on a Sunday this year, the archery seasons for deer and turkey will open on September 16. Maybe someday those who we elect to our legislature will realize that Sunday hunting on private land will be a good thing for all concerned including our over-abundant deer herd.

Archery hunting has been one of the oldest forms of hunting deer in Connecticut and has grown into an even bigger event with the earlier bow seasons in Connecticut.

Private-land bowhunters in all zones can hunt deer from September 16 this year until December 31. Private-land bowhunters in zones 11 and 12 can continue their hunting from January 1-31, 2014.

Season bag limits for bowhunting deer are four deer, two of either sex and two antlerless, only with an additional limit of one antlerless and one either sex in zones 11 and 12 in the Private Land January season.

Turkey hunting by bowhunters is also under the same regulations and dates as deer hunters. However, be sure and renew your archery license in 2014 before hunting deer or turkey. Bag limits for turkey hunting are two either sex on private land and one either sex on state land.

State land bowhunters also get to enjoy an early September archery season for both deer and turkey, but there are some restrictions because of the state land firearms seasons. Archery season on most state lands for deer and turkey will end November 19 and then reopen for archery December 25-31. However, there are certain state lands that have archery hunting only (2013 CT Hunting & Trapping Guide, pages 35-38). That state-land season starts September 16 and ends December 31.

It goes without saying that all of these various archery and firearms seasons, regardless if they are on state or private lands, require the proper licensing and permits. It is in your best interest to check out your 2013 CT Hunting and Trapping Guide before any hunting venture.

September also gives waterfowlers an early opportunity to harvest those pesky Resident Canada geese. I wonder why we call them Canada geese now when they never leave Connecticut any more?

Anyway, the Resident (nuisance) Canada goose season begins September 3 and will run to September 30 in the North Zone (North of I-95) with a bag limit of 15 geese and possession limit of 45 geese, and in the South Zone (South of I-95) September 14 to September 30, also having a 15 goose daily bag limit.

Yes, I know that September hunting can be a bit on the warm side at times, but have you noticed that ever-so-slight change in our foliage as we get ready for fall and cooler weather? As my buddy Ted Nugent so elegantly put it, “Fall is coming and I can smell hunting in the air.”

Are you ready?

STRIPER FISHING WITH THE CHAMP!

I first met Greg Myerson when we had our place in New York. He had won a hunting trip that Edna and I had donated to a St. Jude fundraising event.

We hit it off right from the beginning and I was amazed at the intensity that this young man showed when he hunted deer with a bow and arrow. And make no mistake about it: He was really good at bowhunting.

However, it did surprise me a bit when his name turned up as the world record holder for the largest striper ever caught to date, but only because I did not know he was into striper fishing. But figuring he striper-fished like he bow-hunts, I should not have been surprised.

I ran into Greg Myerson again after he had accomplished the feat of becoming a world record holder for striped bass at the Outdoor Show in Hartford. It pleased me to see that Myerson was still had his feet on the ground, even after having accomplished such an amazing world record.

We talked a bit and then I told him about the St. Jude Day annual fundraising event at the Meriden Rod & Gun Club and asked him if he would be interested in donating a striped bass fishing trip with him for our raffle. To his credit, Greg Myerson never even took a second to think about it and came back with a firm, “Yes!”

A Meriden resident and sportsman, Richard Johnson, was the lucky winner of the striped bass fishing trip with Greg Myerson and he made the trip with is son-in-law Ryan Brechlin.

Johnson said, “I really liked Greg, and he made us feel right at home as we headed out onto Long Island Sound to do some fishing. We fished from 5 to 10 p.m. and I told Greg that I had never caught a legal striped bass in my many trips on the saltwater.”

Johnson continued, “We were on his boat and using Greg’s striper rigs with eels and his now famous rattling sinker. And would you believe it, I finally caught my first-ever-keeper striped bass that measured 32 and a half inches. While we did not get a lot of action that night, it will be a trip that I will remember for a long time.”

I have always considered Greg Myerson to be a friend, but his unselfish support of the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has endeared him to more people than he will ever guess. And knowing Greg, I would venture that we have not heard the last of his accomplishments at striped bass fishing. He is still adding to his record, and I for one wish him all the luck in the world.

Since he attained the world record for striped bass, Myerson has developed some special tackle for striper fishing and it is now available to anyone. To find out more about Myerson and his tackle go to www.WorldRecordStriper.com.

Hey, gotta run gang. See ya and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be.



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