Well, after 4 articles dealing with our fishing trip up north to Quebec, it’s time to get back home to our local woods and waters. So anything interesting happen? You bet!
Last weekend, there was a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony of the LFX ”Brian” Toole Wildlife Preserve at the Hampton Inns on Mollie Way in Lenox. Joseph Toole granted a conservation restriction (C/R) of the nearby 111 acres which provides for public access and preservation in perpetuity. It is one of the few remaining vestiges in Lenox where rare and endangered species exist. It is bordered by Mass Audubon lands.
The C/R was granted in honor of Joe’s brother, Brian who passed away in 1996. Born in Lee, Brian was the fourth of nine children. He dedicated his life to land conservation and beautification. He worked for the National Park Service in South Dakota and Florida and was an accomplished arborist.
There is everything on this land – ponds, swamps, hills and mountains. It is an important water recharge area as well as a recharge area for ones spirit and soul. While there, one is at peace with Mother Nature who nurtures all kinds of plants and wildlife, from the delicate damsel flies to the largest mammals in North America, such as moose, bears and deer.
This land will be protected in perpetuity with oversight from the Lenox Land Trust (LLT) as grantee of the C/R. It is a wonderful gift for the residents of Lenox and its visitors. This was one of the last projects that the late LLT Board Member Attorney, Sarah “Sally” Bell worked on. Joe Toole was kind enough to lead a hike there for Sally and several Lenox Land Trust and Conservation Commission members several years ago.
Although preserved for passive recreation, Joe left no doubt in the C/R as to what activities are/aren’t allowed on the property. For example, legal hunting is allowed, motorized vehicles are not.
Brian’s and Joe’s 98 year old mother, Mrs. Marie K. Toole, did the ribbon cutting.
What a wonderful feeling for the Toole family to know that this land will be kept in its natural state in perpetuity. What a wonderful way to remember and honor Brian. *****
Preliminary reports reveal a record 202 black bears were harvested by licensed hunters in Massachusetts during the September bear season. The tally includes 186 bears that were reported online, 6 bears checked in at check stations in the Western district, and 10 checked in at Connecticut Valley district check stations. The previous bear harvest record was set in 2012 with 185 bears reported for both the September and November seasons. So far this year, about 145 of the 202 bears were harvested in the Western District.
The largest bruin was taken in Becket by Stephen Bonneville of Becket. It weighed 414 lbs field dressed. DFW personnel estimate that the bear’s live weight to have been around 500 lbs.
Rifles, muzzleloaders, archery equipment, and revolvers were permitted during the September season. Bear hunters are reminded that revolvers are prohibited during the November season which runs from November 3 through November 22. Successful hunters can report their harvest online using the MassFishHunt system or take their bear to a check station. There will be more to come on bears in next week’s column. *****
A lot of different hunting seasons are opening his week: Duck and goose hunting seasons open in the Berkshires tomorrow and run through November 29. Duck season reopens on December 8 and runs through December 27. Goose hunting season reopens on December 8 and runs through December 16.
Pheasant, quail, and ruffed grouse hunting opens next Saturday and runs through November 29. Cottontail and snowshoe hare season open next Saturday and run through February 28 in our district. Coyote hunting also opens next Saturday and runs through March 7.
Some hunting seasons already in process such as raccoon and opossum hunting which opened on October 1 and run through January 31. The squirrel hunting season opened on September 8 and runs through January 2. Woodcock hunting season opened on October 8 and runs through October 25. It reopens again on October 27 and runs through November 22.
None of the above species can be hunted on Sundays or during the shotgun deer hunting season.
Please refer to the 2014 DFW Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping.
In the last Berkshire Natural Resources News and Events Report, they mention that BNRC allows hunting on all of its properties. They suggest that everyone wear blaze orange when hiking the trails or wandering the woods. The DFW requires hunters to wear blaze orange while hunting its wildlife management areas. Although not required of hikers and birdwatchers, they too would be wise to wear some amount of blaze orange. *****
Fall is a wonderful time to paddle a canoe or kayak around our beautiful lakes. MassWildlife reminds us that we are required to wear life jackets (not sit on them) from September 15 to May 15. They recommend that all water enthusiasts, including anglers who wade in larger rivers, also wear floatation devices especially now that water and air temperatures are cool.