In eastern Connecticut this week I found that out the hard way. Connecticut changed their season dates this year, opening on Saturday rather than the traditional mid-week start date. There was much grumbling online about the pressure that'd cause. Griping ornery old timers, I thought. Then when I hit spots Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday across various state forests and wildlife management areas, and sure enough: no birds. One beaver swamp that held hundreds of wood ducks last week was a ghost marsh this week. I managed to scratch down one bird, a young black duck on which my uncle's dog, Teal, shown above, made a fantastic 200-yard retrieve. Is the Saturday change solely to blame? Of course not, but when you're hunting resident birds during low-water conditions, hot spots can turn to dead zones fast.