I recently read a story on the DEEP (Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) website about a few people who were illegally hunting in a park in the town of Meriden.
The story was also carried on a few local news stations, alleging the individuals involved were carrying rifles while engaged in deer poaching activities within the park property, which by the way, does not allow any type of hunting whatsoever.
During the regulated deer season, which ended Dec. 31, there were also at least a half dozen cases involving individuals who were arrested for illegal deer hunting on private lands without the permission of the landowner. In perhaps one or two instances, the hunter made an honest mistake by not knowing where the land boundary lines were.
I can understand why this could happen by the fact that I spend a lot of time in our state forest lands and find that in some areas, the boundary markers have faded or the signs have either fell off or were removed from trees intentionally. Even with a topo map of a particular area, it is sometimes very difficult to exactly pinpoint your location once off the beaten path.
Our state is very liberal when it comes to deer hunting as there are various seasons and bag limits. A state land hunter can legally harvest six deer during the season. Hunters with the written permission of a landowner can harvest an additional 4 deer along with the state land tags, which is why I have such a hard time trying to understand the reasons that drive poaching and other illegal hunting in our state.
My best guess is for a very few, putting in the time, obtaining the proper permits, licenses and just following the rules is too much work. Respecting the rights of landowners, the land and wildlife is held in the highest regard by the majority of hunters.
Thanks to state grants totaling more than $6 million, 23 towns have been able to purchase over 2,000 acres of land to be held as open space. The town of North Stonington received funding to buy 409 acres, with the town of Lyme adding 250 acres. Thompson was able to add 250 acres of open space land. The entire list has been published on the DEEP website. How the land might be used, though, is not exactly clear as of this writing.
The annual ice fishing season is fast drawing to a close with the end of the month seeing the closing of most lakes and ponds. Ice conditions are deteriorating quickly as well with the rains and warmer temperatures that we’ve had lately, so venturing out onto a pond isn’t something I’d recommend now.
Some of our tidal rivers, especially the lower Housatonic are seeing some striped bass action already. Although their a bit pricey, one of my favorite baits for the Housie has been blood worms. Top water plugs like the atom bomber or pencil poppers are also effective striper offerings. Enjoy the outdoor life.