New this year, turkey hunters can check their turkey harvest online this spring season. Here are some important reminders regarding turkey tagging and online game checking:
• As in the past, you must tag your bird with your permit immediately after harvesting it.
• Within 48 hours of harvest and before the bird is processed for food or for taxidermy, you must check your bird on the MassFishHunt web site.
• After submitting your report, turkey hunters must write the MassFishHunt assigned confirmation number on the turkey tag that is on the bird. (The confirmation number is the official seal.)
• The tag with confirmation number must remain on the bird until it is processed for food or for taxidermy.
Turkey hunters still have the option of bringing their bird within 48 hours of harvest to a traditional game check station.
New this year, the regulations on shot size for turkey hunting have changed. The legal shot sizes for turkey hunting are now is # 4 – #7 shot.
Also new this year, Youth Turkey Hunt Permits will not be mailed to youth hunters. All youths participating in the hunt must obtain their permit through the MassFishHunt website. Also, all youths who harvest a turkey on the Youth Turkey Hunt date of April 27, must check their turkey either online on MassFishHunt or at a traditional game check station within 48 hours of harvest.
MassWildlife reminds turkey hunters that the bag limit is: (a) 2 bearded birds in spring season (1 per day) with no fall bird allowed, or (b) 1 bearded bird in spring season and 1 bird of either sex in fall season. No hunter may take 2 birds in the fall season. The printed version of the 2013 MA Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping omitted information regarding the bearded bird requirement in the spring turkey season. The bag limit information has been corrected in the online version of the 2013 Guide. *****
Congratulations to the Southern Berkshires Regional School District in Sheffield for incorporating the National Archery-in-the-School (NAIC) Program into its curriculum at its grammar/middle school. Thanks go to the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen (BCLS), Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation, Pittsfield Cooperative Bank and the Berkshire Taconic Foundation for providing the funding, and to MassWildlife for training the instructors. Recently, I joined Mark Jester, President of the BCLS, Astrid Huseby Project Leader from DFW, Janet Latuda and Kimberly Rock of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation in attending the rolling out of the program.
Some 190 kids in Grades 4, 5 and 6 are enrolled in the program. Assistant Elementary Principal Tom Nadolny, himself an outdoor sportsman, was instrumental in getting the program into the school system. The instructors, Joshua King and Kelly Milan (both physical education teachers), received instructor training from four DFW personnel including Huseby. Two high school teachers, Jessica Tomich and Susan Tomich also received instructor training and will be teaching it in the high school next year.
Teachers applied for the grants and received funding from The Taconic Foundation’s Janet and Eagle Funds, and the BCLS received funding from the Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation, which in turn received funding for this project from the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank.
The shooting takes place in the school gymnasium under the watchful eye of instructors King and Myland. There is no danger of harming the floor, as there are no sharp points on the arrows. The program, which appears evenly divided among girls and boys, is well received by the students. They compete on their own level, not against the person next to them. According to Nadolny, they are on their best behavior because they want to be in this program. Feedback from parents has also been very positive.
“It’s great to see these kids excited about the program”, said Jester. Nationwide, 48 states have incorporated the NAIC program and by 2017 there will have been 9 ½ million kids who went through this program in 15 years. “I can’t wait to try archery myself”, said Nadolny, as we watched the kids hit bulls eye after bulls eye. *****
Weather and equipment permitting, the following local waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout last week: Hoosic River in Cheshire and Adams, Westfield River in Becket, Chester, Cummington, Huntington, Middlefield, Savoy, and Windsor; Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida; Farmington River in Otis and Sandisfield, Goose Pond, Onota Lake, Richmond Pond, Stockbridge Bowl Windsor Pond , Windsor Lake, Yokum Brook and Walker Brook in Becket, Dry Brook and South Brook in Cheshire, Factory Brook in Middlefield, Housatonic River (SW) in Pittsfield, and Depot Brook in Washington. Broodstock salmon were also stocked into: Goose Pond, Onota Lake, Stockbridge Bowl, and Windsor Pond.