WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Old-school approach just might be in order

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Old-school approach just might be in order


As we approach another hunting season, I sometimes wonder if just maybe we are not overdoing it with all of the electronic gadgets now available for hunters.

Once upon a time, deer hunters would be out in the woods scouting an area they wanted to hunt. This would mean looking for tell-tale signs of deer activity to select a good spot to set up a treestand.

This would also entail more than one trip into the woods before the archery season began. Once a spot was selected and the treestand put in place, shooting lanes would have to be cleared to allow a clean shot with the arrow.

But modernization has caught up with hunting and now it is a high-tech endeavor. One of the most popular innovations has been the trail camera.

This is a camera that is wireless and can be set up just about anywhere in the woods. It is set off by movement. This way a hunter can tell if there had been a deer in the area they want to hunt and also what kind of animals are setting off the camera.

I have also been told that these cameras can be checked remotely.

Of course, the main targets are the big bucks with huge antlers (the bigger the better) and this has sort of put a wrinkle in attempts to control deer numbers in various areas in Connecticut.

Many hunters, if they have found images of big bucks on their trail cameras, have passed up opportunities to take does, even though they have antlerless tags.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong in harvesting a big buck in your deer hunting excursions, but here in Connecticut deer hunting was allowed to control the growing number of deer in many areas. Being “buck selective” does nothing to control deer numbers. The females have to be harvested for deer population control to work.

A perfect example of this came about in the early days of the Connecticut firearms hunting season for deer. During the firearms season, muzzleloaders had the first crack at tagging a deer and it became evident that muzzleloader hunters were being buck selective.

This resulted in a turnaround in the firearms seasons. The shotgun brigade got the first opportunity to put a tag on a deer and the numbers changed significantly with the doe harvest increasing.

Regarding the use of trail cameras, the Arizona Game and Fish Department Commission has voted unanimously to ban trail cameras for the purpose of “taking or aiding in the taking of wildlife,” according to an NRA article in their American Hunter magazine and, YES, I am an NRA member.

According to the NRA article, this decision was reached after months of feedback from hunters both state and nationwide. A lot of the complaints came because cameras were being set up at waterholes in Arizona. I would expect that this will not be a problem here.

It seems that in Arizona, the water holes were a hot spot to hunt, and many of the hunters that had trail cameras in a water hole area became a bit nasty with some of the other hunters. This was brought to the attention of the Arizona Fish and Game Commission.

However, it does point out that, just maybe, some of the hunting fraternity have become too dependent on electronic devices to do their hunting for them.

I know, I am an old fart and from the old school of hunting, but is this what we want the sport of hunting to be?

Sure, it’s nice to look at a photo of a deer or other wildlife taken on a trail camera, but it is even better when you take the photo in person.

In my early deer hunting years, I literally prowled the countryside in the early morning hours taking countless photos of deer and other wildlife. Each time, I was thrilled by the fact that I took the photo and not with a remote camera.

Today, it seems that some deer hunters treat deer hunting like a dirty job. They only want to spend a couple of hours in the woods and then move onto something else.

One only has to look at the upland game hunters to see the diminishing participants in this sport. Years ago, upland game hunters would spend an entire day in the woods hunting, but today that hardly seems the case.

Yes, I know that times are changing, but being filled with so many old fashioned outdoor memories, it is hard for me jump on this modern-day bandwagon.

I know that diminishing areas to hunt both public lands and those provided by area Rod & Gun clubs is partially to blame for loss of some hunters, plus the fact that many Rod & Gun clubs now have closed memberships. This is also a factor for folks looking for other means of outdoor recreation.

The fact does remain that we do need hunting and trapping to keep the numbers of various wildlife in balance with the habitat. Is old-fashioned hunting the way to go? Only time will tell.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they are serving this great country of ours.

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