The November bear hunting season opens tomorrow in Wildlife Management Zones (WMZ) 1-9 only and runs through November 22. According to MassWildlife, the majority of the harvest comes from the area west of the Connecticut River. The season is split into 2 segments, including 17 days in September and 18 days in November. The September segment is timed to coincide with agricultural damage (particularly corn) whereas the November season is a traditional time for hunters who choose to hunt hardwoods and remote ridge tops.
Most bears are taken in the September segment; however, according to MassWildlife, some good-sized males have been taken in November. MassWildlife estimates that, hunting takes about 5 to 7% of the estimated population and bear numbers continue to grow at a moderate rate.
This past September season proved to be a very successful one for bear hunters. Some 202 bears were taken and that number has already set a new state record. The previous record for both September and November seasons combined was 185 set in 2012. Last year’s total harvest was 148. Who knows where the new State record will end up.
If you wish to join the estimated 2,500 to 3,500 Massachusetts bear hunters, it’s not too late to obtain the required bear permit. Assuming you have a hunting/sporting license, you can obtain it at any time prior to the end of the November bear hunting season through any license vendor or online computer. The fee is $5.00.
Hunting is allowed only with rifle .23 caliber or larger, muzzleloader .44–.775 caliber, bows with a draw weight of 40 lbs. or greater, or revolvers .357 Magnum or .40 caliber or larger. Revolvers are only permitted during September season. Use of shotguns is prohibited (State law restricts slugs and buckshot to the deer season). Most bears are taken with rifles, typically a .30-06. It is illegal to “bait” bear or hunt them with dogs.
Incidentally, some bear, deer, coyotes and other animals may have ear tags or radio collars. It is legal to harvest them. If you find or take one of these animals, contact DFW’s Field Headquarters (508) 389-6300 immediately. You will be asked for information that will help biologists determine the source and status of these animals and you will be asked to return the equipment to the DFW.
Hopefully, you won’t take up bear hunting unless you know that the bear meat will be consumed. Properly prepared, it is delicious. *****
|Did you know that eighty years ago the first duck stamp was sold? Since then, thanks mostly to hunters, the stamps have generated more than $800 million and helped secure over 6 million acres of wetland habitat in the U.S. The Boone and Crockett Club (B&C) marks that day as a major milestone in the North American conservation movement, and says the 80th anniversary is worth remembering. “Duck stamps were one of the key funding mechanisms that brought many waterfowl species from vanishing to flourishing. Other bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species benefitted, too,” said the Club’s Keith Balfourd. “This should be a point of pride for all hunters. It certainly is for Boone and Crockett, whose members played an important part in the history of North American waterfowl, including the duck stamp.” Here are some historical facts provided by the B&C: • Waterfowl are abundant today. But in 1901, few remained from an era of unregulated market hunting, diversions of water and draining of wetlands for agricultural purposes. Known mostly for its advocacy of big-game conservation, the B&C and its members went to work. • Club member and Pennsylvania Congressman George Shiras in 1904 began a long crusade to place migratory birds under federal jurisdiction. • In 1918, President Taft signed the McLean-Weeks Migratory Bird Act urged by B&C club members and others. • The Dust Bowl years of the 1920s were a major setback for waterfowl. The B&C campaigned for refuges to help populations recover. • In 1927, B&C members launched American Wild Fowlers, an organization that would later become Ducks Unlimited. • With partnership from this new organization committed to waterfowl, the B&C engineered passage of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929, establishing the federal refuge system. • Major funding for waterfowl came in 1934 with the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act. B&C club member and Connecticut Senator Frederic C. Walcott had established a Senate committee on wildlife conservation and successfully pushed the “Duck Stamp Bill” through Congress. • That same year, the first duck stamp, illustrated by B&C Club member and Nobel Prize winning political cartoonist Jay N. “Ding” Darling was sold on Aug. 22, 1934. The first stamps sold for $1 and 635,000 stamps were sold that year. • Within five years, annual sales surpassed the $1 million level (equivalent to about $17 million in today’s dollars) and the conservation benefits have grown ever since. *****
The Lee Sportsmen’s Association (LSA) will be having an NRA Basic Pistol Course on November 17 and 20 from 5:30 to 9:30 PM. The cost is $100, which includes an annual individual membership to LSA. Upon successful completion, you will receive a MA State Police Certificate for application for your LTC. Call Larry K at 442-7807 or e mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Incidentally the LSA recently held its elections and re-elected the following officers: President – Shaun Smith, Vice President – George Brooks, Secretary- John Polastri and Treasurer – Frank Romeo.
The Taconic Chapter of Trout Unlimited held elections last week and re-elected the following officers: President -Alan Gray, Vice President – Ron Wojcik, Treasurer – G. Richard Bordeau and Secretary- Mark Hoechstetter.
Congratulations and thanks to all.