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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: ‘The twang of the arrow and the snap of the bow’

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: ‘The twang of the arrow and the snap of the bow’


As Ted Nugent would say, “I can smell the fall.”

Hey, all of you bowhunters, are you ready? Bowhunting in Connecticut for whitetailed deer and wild turkey begins next Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Edna, Charlie and I took a couple of early evening trips around the Meriden area and saw a total of four deer out on some pieces of private land.

For many of Connecticut bowhunters, the season can’t come fast enough. This will be a chance for so many sportsmen to practice “social distancing” because of COVID-19 while doing something they love.

Bowhunting is a solitary sport, although a couple of hunting buddies may travel together to a hunting spot. Once there, they separate and hunt in different locations.

Both private land and state lands will be open to bow hunters on September 15, with legal hunting hours being a half hour before sunrise to sunset.

The archery deer season carries with it a four-deer bag limit that includes two antlerless deer and two deer, either sex, meaning you can take four does if the opportunity presents itself.

For some archers, putting a tag on a huge antlered buck is all they care about, while others want to put some tasty venison into their freezers to be enjoyed over the coming year.

Regardless, the choice is theirs, but the DEEP Wildlife Division would like to see more does taken to bring the deer population numbers into a more realistic balance. There are some suburban areas in our state that are simply overpopulated with whitetailed deer, and that includes right here in our area.

If you are a private land permit-holder, you should have already spent some time on the land you are hunting, scouting out deer locations and trails they use. Over the years I have liked to set up my stands on the edge of some brushy undercover where deer like to travel.

For any of you who might be thinking of using the archery season as a means of getting out in the woods, you should know that you have to have a Small Game and Deer Archery Permit. You must also show proof that you have completed the Connecticut Education/Firearm Safety bowhunting course or its equivalent from another state or country. A previous Connecticut bowhunting permit purchased in 2002 or later also qualifies.

You cannot simply go into the woods to bow hunt deer without the proper licenses and permits. To hunt private land you must also have a signed written consent on an official form for the current season, and they MUST be carried while hunting. The forms are on page 35 of the 2020 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide.

One of the privileges of a private land archery permit is that the bowhunter can hunt on Sundays. All archery deer hunting on Sundays must take place at least 40 yards from a blazed hiking trail.

This is a good time to remind all deer hunters that they may not be the only ones in the woods. The arrival of COVID-19 has seen a huge increase in hiking, and some hikers go through some of the hunting areas.

As for the hikers, I would really recommend that they wear a blaze orange vest while in the woods during hunting season. Like my Mother always said, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”

As for the bowhunters, they are required by law to wear 400 square inches of fluorescent orange from November 18 to December 31. However. bowhunters may remove the orange vest once they are in a treestand that is 10 feet or better off the ground.

For those new to bowhunting, there is no better way to find state lands open to bowhunting or the various types of hunting allowed on state lands than the 2020 Connecticut Hunting & Trapping Guide. This year, because of the epidemic, they might be a bit harder to find, but I did get mine at the clerk’s office in Meriden City Hall. (You can’t just walk into the clerk’s office; there is a button to push and someone will come to the door to see what you need, and be sure to be wearing a mask.)

Regarding state land open to archery hunting, some will be closed during the firearms seasons, but there are state lands that do allow bowhunting right up to December 31. Again, check the 2020 Connecticut Trapping and Hunting Guide.

The early archery season also allows bowhunters to put their tags on wild turkeys. Bowhunters are allowed two turkeys of either sex. The hours for turkey are the same as for deer: a half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Again, the proper licenses and permits are required. This means that if you intend to take a turkey along with your Small Game and Deer Archery Permit, you must also have a Connecticut Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp.

It goes without saying that these are very different and difficult times for everyone, and sportsmen should adhere to social distancing while in our great outdoors, regardless of what particular hunting they might be participating in.

Boat launches

The DEEP is increasing the monitoring of some boat launch area. The DEEP has closed the Lattins Cove boat launch and limited parking at Squantz Cove to 50 percent. They are also checking Candlewood Lake for numerous reports of “rafting,” in which several boats are tied together. 

Let’s all be safe out there whether on the water or in the woods. See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders.

Local school, election and coronavirus news is more crucial now than ever. Help our newsroom deliver the coverage you deserve. Support Local news.