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To coin one of the Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra’s famous phrases, “It was like déjà vu all over again.”
On the first Monday evening in August, I was leaving the monthly Meriden Rod & Gun Club meeting with fellow member Joe Drauss. As we left the club grounds, I told Joe we would take a ride to see if there were any deer out because it was just before dusk.
I headed the car down River Road towards Cheshire and was telling Joe how last year a fawn came off the hillside just before the retaining wall on River Road and I had to stop and let it cross the road towards the river.
When I watched it go under the fence I saw its mother waiting for it. Unfortunately, that episode did not have a happy ending. The next day the fawn was lying dead on the roadside after a run-in with a vehicle.
As I was telling Drauss about the incident, a young deer stepped into the road in the exact same spot as the one did last year and, again, I had to stop to let it cross. And, yes, there was a mother deer waiting on the other side of the fence for her baby. Thankfully, I believe they both survived the crossing.
As we do just about every afternoon, I take my Darlin’ Edna and our “kid” (Charlie the dog) for a walk and a ride. You would be amazed at the amount of deer we see on these rides and many of them are right in the suburbs and in some folk’s backyards.
I know that some residents on Diamond Hill (Main Street, South Meriden) have had quite a time with deer coming into their yards and eating their ornamental shrubs and plants. This past winter I drove on River Road and once again spotted a small herd of deer feeding on the hillside between River Road and Diamond Hill. There were about 10 that I could count.
And as recently as last Sunday morning I spotted a nice doe on Hicks Avenue on my way to the Meriden Dog Park.
Research Parkway in Meriden also has a pretty hefty herd of deer and I am surprised that more of them don’t get clipped by motor vehicles. The amazing thing about some of these deer is they are out and about in the early afternoon and not closer to dark like they usually are.
A group of us bowhunted deer down in a suburban area in Wilton for a number of years. It was truly a suburban hunt. We had permit slips signed by area residents who had enough of the damage perpetrated by the hungry deer and were in agreement that something had to be done. Since firearms were out of the question, archery was the only recourse and it worked quite well.
It was a group of homes that surrounded a small swampy area. The deer were using the swamp to get to the homes and chomp away at their plants and bushes. When we set up our treestands we could see just about all of the homes surrounding the swamp.
It looked like a spot more suitable for alligators than deer, but we were told that the deer were there.
I was the first bowhunter to give the area a try and it probably was one of the most memorable deer-sighting days of my life. The morning was foggy and had a cloud cover, but I arrived at the home I was going to hunt from in the dark of the morning and made my way to my stand that was only about 80 yards from two of the homes.
I had been in the treestand about two hours and had not seen a single deer, so I figured that maybe the residents were wrong in the amount of deer there.
Then I saw some movement in the underbrush on the far side of the swamp and, sure enough, it was a small group of deer. I counted seven of them.
They would not come within range of my stand. Shortly after, I saw an even larger group of deer and they, too, were on the same route and would not come near enough for me to try and get one.
After that, I kept getting glimpses of deer movement. None of them were within range, but just seeing them had my heart pumping. In those couple of hours of watching the deer traverse the swamp, I had counted 25.
I was figuring on getting out of my stand and moving it for another hunt on another morning when I spied some more movement in the brush, only this time it had antlers. An eight-point buck was slowly making his way toward me and now my heart was really pounding, I was so excited at seeing this huge deer in the swamp.
I stood up in my stand, arrow nocked, and kept my gaze on the antlers as they came closer and closer.
And then I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and, turning my head, could not believe what I was looking at: a HUGE 10-point buck standing broadside!
The eight-point buck was forgotten. I slowly started to swing my bow towards the 10-point buck. At the first movement of my bow, he jumped into the brush and took the eight-point buck with him.
I never did get to release an arrow that day. But in the course of that hunting season we did take a number of deer out of that area, much to the pleasure of the residents who had enough of the deer eating their flowers and shrubs as well as some of the locals getting Lyme disease from the deer ticks.
Today, in many of our suburban areas, deer have become overpopulated in areas in which firearms use would not be tolerated. If you are in such an area, why not get in touch with a bowhunter? The ones I know are very efficient and dedicated to safe hunting practices. Just a thought.
The event billed as “The Greatest Bluefish Tournament on Earth” is next weekend, Aug. 24-25, on Long Island Sound. First prize is $25,000.
Entry fee is $36 per angler and you can register for the tournament or get more information at the Fishin’ Factory in Southington at 860-621-8145.
See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be.