I suppose that it goes without saying, itâ€™s been pretty warm so far this fall season. The forests are pretty dry even though weâ€™ve had some rain, not enough to be sure.
Since the archery deer season opened last month, Iâ€™ve been out every chance I have, be it a morning hunt or for the late afternoon. Seems like the deer arenâ€™t moving much during the daylight hours, at least I havenâ€™t seen many. I get the same story from other hunters I know. It also appears the woods are just full of acorns again this year, which is good for the game, not so much for the hunter.
I can recall other fall seasons that have been warm but not to the extent weâ€™re experiencing now. Itâ€™s pretty tough trying to enjoy being in the woods, whether hunting or hiking when the temperature is in the 80s. Nonetheless, the autumn colors are becoming more vibrant around the state, especially in northern New England. At least we are saving money on heating bills and thatâ€™s good news.
The state-wide small game and pheasant hunting season is slated to open on Saturday, Oct. 21. Hunting is allowed on state owned, leased and private lands a half hour before sunrise until sunset. Certain properties that are stocked with pheasants are â€śpermit requiredâ€ť areas, meaning a special daily permit is needed to hunt on these properties. Daily permits are available free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis but the number of permits for any given property are limited. They are also limited to either a morning or afternoon permit. Daily permits are available through the DEEPâ€™s online licensing system.
Iâ€™d mentioned this earlier this year and I think it bears repeating now, that the season is nearly here. The old pheasant tags have been replaced by the new resident game bird stamp. Wild turkeys, ruffed grouse and pheasants are now all inclusive in the new regulation. The cost of the stamp is $28 and a small game hunting license is also mandatory. Stamps may be also be purchased online or at many town clerks offices as well as at a number of retailers like Cabelaâ€™s or Dickâ€™s Sporting Goods.
It seems like weâ€™re always hearing about a hiker or hunter getting lost in the woods. I think more so in the fall when the beautiful autumn colors seem to call to us like the mythical sirens of Homerâ€™s Odyssey.
There are a few simple tips can get you home again safe and sound. Always let someone know where youâ€™re going and what time you plan to be back. One doesnâ€™t have to be a skilled map reader or navigator, but a simple compass that you can buy for under $5 can save your life. If you become lost while afield, keeping a straight line of travel will get you out of the woods. Most lost people tend to walk around in circles. Following a compass heading in a straight line will eventually bring you to a road, especially here in a small state like ours where we have no real wilderness areas.
Enjoy the autumn woods in all its beauty.