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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Put a bow on the gift of autumn

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Put a bow on the gift of autumn


Have you been practicing your archery lately?

If you haven’t, shame on you. Two weeks from today — Friday, Sept. 15 — will mark the opening of another Connecticut archery season for whitetailed deer and, as an added bonus, wild turkey.

The CT DEEP Wildlife Division has come a long way in getting more time for hunters to get after some wild game, deer especially.

I say this because you can harvest four deer with an archery license — two deer of either sex and two antlerless.

There have been some really huge antlered bucks taken here in Connecticut over the years, and that is fine. However, we should keep in mind that the reason we have such a broad deer season here in Connecticut is that many areas are virtually overrun with deer, resulting in way too many deer/vehicle collisions.

Over the years, I have seen many changes in deer hunting and the equipment used to do the hunting. Since I am an old grunt when it comes to deer hunting, I can remember when hunting deer meant spending many hours in the woods with more days than not being unsuccessful.

It goes without saying that electronics and the computer world have made hunting deer a lot easier for some hunters, and it forces me to wonder if that is a good thing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do understand that our world, including our outdoor world, has been taken over by the new age of electronics, and I have no problem with that. However, when I look back at the fun I had traipsing the deer woods in Maine, Vermont, New York and Connecticut, I wonder if the new age of hunters might be missing some of the skills once required for deer hunting.

Of course, archery hunting is a lot different now, with so much high-tech archery equipment and the fact that you do not need a lot of land to do it in.

Did you know there is no minimum acreage requirement for bowhunting?

For a number of years, I hunted a small private land holding in Wilton, but I had to have a permission slip signed by the landowner, and I did check with other local residents to make sure they would not have any objections.

In many spots here in Connecticut, suburban areas are overrun with deer and many of the landowners do not know that the deer invading their yards can be hunted by archery. But, of course, neighboring properties should be in agreement on such small acreage hunting.

When we were hunting down in Wilton, we actually had some residents ask us to come on to their property because they could not grow any ornamental bushes and plants. The deer were eating them.

One of the most appealing aspects of having a private land archery permit is that you can hunt on Sundays. This opened up archery for a number of archers who missed out on hunting Saturdays because of work obligations.

Keep in mind that you may hunt on Sundays on private land only.

If you are hunting state lands, the bag limit is the same — two antlered and two antlerless. There is no Sunday hunting on state lands.

Bowhunting hours for deer are a half hour before sunrise until sunset. A Small Game and Deer Archery Permit is a must! You cannot simply go out and purchase a bow and start hunting deer without taking the CE/FS bowhunting course.

Make no mistake about it, having a permit to hunt private land is really great because you know that you or a couple of hunting buddies are the only ones on that piece of land.

But don’t think hunting on state land is a bad thing. I have seen some really nice deer, including bucks, come off of parcels of state land.

One of the problems some deer hunters face when they have a state land permit is they don’t know the lay of the land.

There was a time when I would spend countless hours exploring various parcels of state land. One of the secrets of hunting state land is to go back deep into the property. Way too many hunters like to keep their vehicle in sight so they, “Don’t have to drag the deer too far.”

For me and many of my hunting buddies, it was NEVER too far to haul a deer out of the woods with the promise of the many fine meals it was going to provide.

The archery season for deer on private land begins September 15 and runs to December 30 in all zones.

The same dates apply to BOWHUNTING-ONLY state land. On other state lands, bowhunting is allowed September 15 to November 14 (the opening of firearms season) and then reopens December 20-30.

The same dates apply to fall turkey hunting.

When bowhunting, it is a good thing to have an archery turkey hunting permit with you because you never know when one is going to come into archery range. Years ago, I tagged my first ever Connecticut wild turkey while bowhunting for deer.

During the fall archery season for wild turkey, you may harvest two birds of either sex. Along with your Small Game and Deer Archery Permit you must also have a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp.

Only two more weeks to the archery season, are you ready?

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.