Today was the first morning I got to pheasant hunt under the new Connecticut pheasant hunting system. I arrived at 8:30 and there were 12 trucks in the lot with a group of guys by the gate waiting to head in. The stocking truck was also in the lot, having already stocked and the guy from the state had a clipboard with a list of hunters listed, scheduled to hunt from 9am - noon. He came over, asked me my name and checked my name off the list. He seemed like a very nice guy, and spent time shooting the bull with a group of younger hunters.
There were at least 8 dogs in the lot chomping at the bit to get into the woods. I love dogs, but not during hunting season. They are my competitor, and I don't stand much chance against them. The stocker let us in a few minutes early, and the dogs all scattered. Within a minute there were shots fired. A group of young hunters with their dogs were to my left and I saw them drop 4 birds. With so many dogs out there if you can't get out ahead of them, you don't stand a chance. Throughout the morning I'd hear a dog bark, the pheasant gobble and shots fired. After an hour most of the shooting subsided. I'm guessing most had bagged their limit and left. After that I'd occasionally hear a shot. I bagged mine on the return trip near the water's edge. This morning I was hunting with the old Mossberg 20 gauge.
During the hunt I came across a few squirrels, but decided not to pursue them with the 20. Maybe they'll be around when this pheasant season is over and I can have fun squirrel hunting again with the .410.
As I returning to the parking lot there were only 4 trucks left and the stocking truck was gone. I passed the remaining hunters and their dogs on the way back. I'm guessing the stocker went to pick up more birds for the afternoon hunt. There was no one to check how many birds hunters had in their bags.
This was way too hard. This sciatic nerve injury has made it very painful to walk for so many hours, especially through the brush were pheasant hide. Hopefully the two cortisone injections I'm getting in my spine Tuesday will reduce the inflammation and the pains that go with it. Now I need to decide if I'll try this again next Saturday, or should I lay low till after Thanksgiving when the pheasant hunters are gone?
My personal opinion on this new system? It sucks. Instead of hunters stepping into the woods a few at a time, there is literally an army that heads out at once led my a pack of dogs. Since the dog hunters are out front, the pheasant that were released on the path are immediately put up and shot. In past years if I could get out ahead of the dogs I could possibly bag a couple within the first hour. Not any more. Like I said before, this new system makes it too damn hard for us guys hunting without dogs. I hope the DEEP reconsiders their decision next year. If not, this will likely be my last tag.