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October 16 is the first day of the Connecticut upland game season. Are you ready?
Upland game hunting as I know it has changed greatly over the years.
Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, finding a spot to hunt for upland game was hardly a problem. There were plenty of farms and open land here in the Meriden area, but much of it has disappeared to the construction of both domestic and commercial building.
As I ride around Meriden and surrounding areas, I am flooded with memories of various upland hunts, but now the hunting spots are gone.
Back then, membership into an area rod and gun club was easy, and most of them had more land under state contract to hunt than you could cover in a day of hunting. Not anymore. Land governed by area rod and gun clubs has diminished and memberships to the clubs are not as easy as they once were.
Back then, as they are now, the gaudy ring-necked pheasant was the upland game of choice, and just about all of the farms in Meriden and South Meriden allowed access to rod and gun club members.
I remember the Meriden Rod & Gun Club holding a yearly “Landowner’s Banquet” for those who allowed hunting on their lands. Most of them owned farms, but you would be hard put to find a working farm in our area now.
And you have to have some years on you to remember hunting Misery Swamp (a.k.a. Dog Misery Swamp) off Thorp Avenue. It was aptly named, but it was a haven for pheasant hunting and even waterfowl. It was so wild I never imagined it would someday be the commercial land that it is now called Research Parkway.
It also goes without saying that the simple act of purchasing a resident firearms hunting license is NOT enough to permit you to hunt upland game. Now you must also purchase a Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp for $28 ($12 for hunters ages 12-17).
Actually, this a good purchase. The stamp is good for the calendar year and covers your spring and fall turkey hunting.
It should be purchased at the beginning of the year when you get your license. The stamp information will be printed on your hunting license along with any other hunting permits you purchase.
Unless you are a member of a local club and are issued a season permit to hunt land they control, you must get a daily permit that allows you to hunt on a specific land on a specific day. Page 37 of your 2021 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide lists where you can get a daily permit.
Also, if you are a state land hunter, you must have a a Saturday Pheasant Hunting Permit to hunt spots like Durham Meadow WMA, Cromwell Meadow WMA and any other Saturday WMA areas. (Again, consult Page 37 of your CT Hunting Guide.)
You can still take a wild turkey until the 30th of October with the right permit, and of course gray squirrels and rabbits are now on the list of huntable upland game.
You may also hunt ruffed grouse until Nov. 30, quail until Oct. 30, Chukar and Hungarian until Dec. 31 and then Jan. 1 to Feb. 27, but make sure you renew your license.
Over my many years in the outdoors I have seen many changes in the sport of hunting, but one of the most disheartening is the lack of young people coming into the great outdoors. However, I would guess that in this modern world of electronic gizmos it is easy to get so caught up in it, or they simply don’t have someone to take them out and mentor them on what our outdoor world is all about.
Regardless, Connecticut’s upland game season starts Oct. 16. Get out and enjoy the outdoors. Hunt safe and wear your blaze orange.
Just want to make sure that you know that tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is St. Jude Day at the Meriden Rod & Gun Club on Ravens Lane in South Meriden.
This is a fundraising event for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that has grown more spectacular every year. Unfortunately, the last one had to be cancelled because of the pandemic and children suffering from cancer lost the benefit of many such fundraisers.
But this year the Meriden Rod & Gun Club is raising the bar, so to speak, and is going all out to make St. Jude Day an even more memorable event.
Tickets are $10 per person and entitle you to all the food you could possibly eat and access to the club’s archery, rifle, pistol and trap ranges. The event also features the traditional St Jude Sportsmen Raffle featuring all kinds of good things to win.
Thanks to Casertano Greenhouse Company, there is plenty of parking.
The event will take place rain or shine, because childhood cancer is not hindered by the weather when it wants to strike an innocent child. This event can only be a success with your support. I hope to see you there.
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.