WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Oh, but that good dog was Spot-on!

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Oh, but that good dog was Spot-on!


The small game season opened last Saturday, Oct. 15, with hunters now being allowed to hunt pheasant, chukar partridge, quail and ruffed grouse as well as cottontail rabbits and gray squirrels, which have been in season since Sept. 1.

No. 1 on the upland game list will be the ring-necked pheasant. Pheasant, chukars and quail have a daily bag limit of 2 and a season bag limit of 10. The ruffed grouse has a daily bag limit of 1 and a season limit of 8.

To be able to go afield and hunt these game birds, a Firearms or Archery Hunting License and a Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp are required.

One of the preferred ways to hunt the gaudy ring-necked pheasant is with a hunting dog. In my early years of hunting for pheasants, I began using English setters, and they helped “train” me in the proper way to hunt pheasants.

One of my most memorable setters was a male named, of all things, “Spot.” I had purchased him from John Suzio, who lived up by Hubbard Park, and the story was that Spot was always over at the park chasing pigeons and waterfowl.

I was told that he would never be any good for hunting, but I purchased him anyway.

A buddy of mine, Jack Sears, and I took Spot out to a meadow and to see how he would react to a pigeon. Spot jumped over the pigeon and as it flew, Jack shot it and it fell to the ground. Spot went over, looked at it and walked away.

We decided to try it again. This time, Spot locked up into a point where the pigeon was, I flushed it, Jack shot it and, lo and behold, Spot retrieved it! I finally had a bird hunting dog!

Over the years, Spot proved himself more times than I can count. He won many ribbons at local field trials and, if there was a pheasant or grouse in the area we hunted, Spot would find it.

But there was that one time…

After a failed marriage, I was living on a piece of land by the Quinnipiac River with a buddy of mine, George Logan. Spot came with me and had a coop out in the yard. We also had some horses, goats, and a couple of ducks and chickens.

One cold night I went out to check on Spot to make sure he was warm enough and could not believe my eyes. The two ducks were in the coop with him! He had sort of a sheepish look on his face, but I left the three of them alone and went back to the house.

One afternoon, I decided to see if I could bag a wild duck or two for dinner and took Spot along on the hunt. It was a cold, snowy day. We hid along the river bank and, when two mallards came over, I bagged them both and they landed in the river.

No problem. My dog Spot would retrieve them for me.

Hah! No amount of coxing could get that dog into the water to retrieve the ducks.

I finally had to wade out into the water to get the ducks myself. While he was still excellent on game birds, that was his last duck hunt.

These days, hunting land for upland game animals and birds has dwindled drastically. Back in its heyday, farmlands available for hunting could be found almost anywhere in the Meriden and surrounding areas.

They have since given way to domestic and industrial developments. Finding land on which to hunt upland game is very hard, especially if you do not belong to one of the local Rod & Gun clubs. Much of that land is for members only and, while some of it is available, you have to have a daily permit to hunt most of the areas.

Regarding daily permits, I have been told that you have to go online now to get one. Good luck with that.

I guess they are trying to pin the printed hunting and fishing regulations on the pandemic, but I foresee many problems with the lack of printed hunting and fishing regulations for those who purchase licenses.

While I have ALWAYS been a staunch supporter of the DEEP Fisheries and Wildlife Divisions, I feel very strongly about the need for printed hunting, trapping and fishing regulations. They should be available for ALL sportsmen with the purchase of their licenses.

In fact, I have a copy of the 2022 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide and think it is one of the best regulation pamphlets they have ever come out with. Let’s see more of them for all sports!

Black bears

So far this year, through Sept. 29, the state has 65 reports of black bears entering Connecticut homes. This number is more than double the average recorded annually since 2017.

Think about this: The black bear numbers in Connecticut are on the rise with no attempt being made by our legislature to control the increase.

If you think having a black bear invade your home is a fun happening, you had better think again.

Yes, there are ways to prevent some bear invasions, but not all of them work. I have photos of a huge black bear in a backyard right close to Hubbard Park in Southington.

One has to wonder how long it will take before there is a tragic bear/human incident right here in Connecticut.

Thank you

The Meriden Rod & Gun Club would like to thank all of the donors and supporters who showed up for their Annual St. Jude Day on Oct. 8. Folks came from near and far to support the event that was also advertised by Country 92.5 FM, and because of your support the event was a HUGE success!

Again, thank you.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.