On The Ridge: Welcome, JJ!

Published: 10/13/2021 8:48:32 PM

As I write this, I’m in the Land of Lincoln just shy of 1,000 miles from home. And no, I’m not out here feverishly preparing for an Illinois deer hunt, I’m actually in the basement of my son’s house which sits about 15 minutes Northwest of Chicago.

The reason I’m here, right before the Oct. 18 opening day of archery season for deer in my own state of Massachusetts? That’s because of a phone call I received from my son Ben last Tuesday around 4 p.m. I was still at Town Hall that day working when the phone rang, and Ben’s voice came through the other end. I quickly sprang to attention as I had been anxiously awaiting this call all day, but in the process of working, I had momentarily lost sight of what was happening in this Chicago suburb. As Ben’s voice excitedly told me the news, I stared straight ahead trying to absorb all of what he was saying. And even though this call was something we had been waiting for, I sat as still as stone, listening to Ben say, “it’s a healthy baby boy, Dad, and we’re naming him Jordon Joseph Judd!” And of course, I immediately blew up as the emotions of the moment overtook my ability to reason, but I did manage to blurt out how happy I was that JJ (that’s what I’m calling him, for now anyway) was healthy, and that Lauren was doing well. We talked for awhile longer and then laid the final plans for our arrival in Chicago, which is why I am writing this column from the basement of Ben’s house, and Linda, Lauren, and Ben are upstairs tending to JJ and his big sister Lillian. That’s where I also plan on being soon, holding the “grand-boy” and watching to see who the Red Sox next opponent will be in the ALCS. Great game Monday night, wasn’t it? You bet it was!!

Anyway, I’ll be missing opening day of archery season for deer this year as I’ll be in the Windy City through Oct. 19. I’m not fretting about it one bit, though there was a time, when my son Ben was born, that I may not have made that statement quite so readily. Understand I was young then, and Ben was a November baby — late November. And when the call came that I was about to become a father, and I needed to get home quickly, I was in central Vermont deer hunting. That was in 1979, long before the days of our little pocket phones which we now depend upon so greatly. But I managed to get that call, making it home with time to spare, and when Ben came, deer hunting was forgotten, at least for a while. Babies have that effect on all of us, I guess. And today we’re all here, JJ has arrived, all 8 pounds, 14 ounces of him, and deer hunting, for this JJ, will just have to wait for now.

All that said, best of luck to everyone who will be chasing whitetail deer with a bow during the 2021 archery season in the Bay State. And from what I was seeing before I left home, it appears that deer are out there in great numbers. So I wish you the best, while asking everyone to stay safe out there as well. That goes for the entire season, no matter what you’re doing in the world of hunting and fishing. And speaking of that, here are a few helpful reminders as we moved deeper into the month of October:

PHEASANT SEASON opens Oct. 16 and runs all the way through Nov. 27, 2021. Remember that all forms of hunting are prohibited in Massachusetts on Sunday. Also, new pheasant hunting regulations passed in Sept. 2021 will not go into effect until 2022. Check the abstract laws if you have any questions about the current regulations. And remember that a blaze orange hat is required.

TONIGHT, JOIN MassWildlife and members of the National Wild Turkey Federation for a virtual class to learn about fall turkey hunting. This is a two hour Zoom class (6-8 p.m.) that will cover turkey biology, hunting regulations, fall turkey hunting tips on calling and tactics, and tips for bowhunting turkeys. Registration is required, and while this reminder may be on the late side, you might still be able to sign up if you go to the MassWildife website and just search for, and view, the MassWildlife calendar.

NOVEMBER 6 in Paxton, a Growing Up Wild workshop will be held for kids ages 3-7 as a part of GUW’s Professional Development of early childhood education activities that builds on a child’s sense of wonder and awe about nature by participating in many wonderful activities. Registrations is required and the deadline is Oct. 29. A small fee is also charged to help support the programs. Go to the MassWildlife calendar on their website, to sign up for this great activity.

Joe Judd is a lifelong hunter and sportsman. He is an outdoor writer, seminar speaker, member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association, and a 2019 inductee into the N.E. Turkey Hunting Hall of Fame. Joe is also on the Quaker Boy Game Calls and Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Pro-Staff.


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