Gregg Massini from Sheffield has become the second Berkshire hunter to have accomplished the coveted “Grand Slam” of North American sheep hunting. The Grand Slam includes the Rocky Mountain Bighorn, the Desert Bighorn, Dall Sheep and Stone Sheep. Massini joins Paul C. Carter from Dalton to have accomplished this extremely difficult feat. Carter has two Grand Slams to his credit one of which was accomplished using a muzzleloader gun with open sights. It is believed that there are only 4 Massachusetts hunters who have ever accomplished the Grand Slam and Gregg is the 1,842nd person worldwide to have done so. Bagging all four kinds of North American wild sheep has been recognized as a superior achievement in the sport of hunting
It took Gregg 22 years to get his first sheep hunting permit for Colorado and he got a Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep in 2006. It took 8 years to get his next permit to hunt in Nevada where he bagged his Desert Sheep. In 2012 he took a Stone Sheep in the Yukon. Ironically, while there he learned that Carter had hunted there just the week before. Massini completed the “Slam” in 2014 when he took his Dall sheep in the Yukon.
Massini emphasizes that you have to be in excellent shape to pursue this sport. He gets into shape by climbing the local mountains carrying 60 lbs in his backpack, quite a feat for a fellow who will be 59 next month. Like Carter, he is an excellent shot. Gregg says his scoped 7 MM Magnum rifle is sighted to place bullets in a ¼ inch group at 200 yards.
Congratulations to Gregg Massini for his amazing accomplishment.
Incidentally, Paul C. Carter wrote an excellent book on the subject a few years back entitled Sheep Hunts: One Man’s Journeys to the High Country. ****
Paul just wrote another excellent book about deer hunting entitled Deer Hunts Through a Tracker’s Eyes. It is a collection of his recounted hunting stories, all of which were chosen primarily for their entertainment value. Having been a deer hunter for over 40 years, you can well imagine that he has accumulated a vast array of hunting experiences good and bad.
What I liked about the book is that he just doesn’t write about his successful trips, but also some with unsuccessful endings. I also liked the fact that he wrote about some comical episodes, some blown opportunities on his part and some that were not his fault. It is easy to relate to Paul’s experiences. C’mon, admit it. Who among us deer hunters hasn’t had a few comical incidents or blown opportunities of our own. This book is written about the real hunting world as experienced by a seasoned hunter, and I liked it.
Carter’s preferred tactic for deer hunting is tracking in snow and he is mighty good at it. In fact, a few years ago he wrote another excellent book about tracking entitled Tracking Whitetails: Answers to Your Questions. Tracking is an art that I have never perfected and envy those who are good at it. (I just don’t have the patience to take a step, stop, look all around, take another step, etc., to ultimately walk up on a deer. With such a slow pace, I am apt to lose my balance and fall down.)
Another thing that I like about the book is the fact that most of his hunting is done in our own Berkshire Hills, predominately Windsor and he hunts with people that we may know personally.
One can learn a lot about deer hunting from this book. It would make a great Christmas gift for that hunter in your family. You can order this 272 page soft covered book through Paul’s web site www.paulccarter.com for $16.99.
While on his web site, check out his other books. In addition to the three mentioned above, he also wrote Great Shot! A Guide to Acquiring Shooting Skills for Big Game Hunters. *****
Common Loons, listed as a Species of Special Concern in Massachusetts, returned to nest here in 1975 after being absent as a breeding bird for almost a century. Since then, MassWildlife has monitored them. Observations during this past summer documented 39 loon pairs on 16 lakes and ponds. Out of the 23 chicks that hatched, 18 survived to fledgling. According to MassWildlife, these fledglings will migrate to the coast to live in the ocean for the next few years, then will return to their natal areas and try to establish territories of their own.
As noted in my May 18, 2014 column, in addition to monitoring loon activity, MassWildlife has partnered with other agencies and organizations to improve their nesting sites. To reduce nest losses on reservoirs, rafts were constructed using cedar logs and foam with vegetation placed on top to resemble a small island. The rafts were floated and anchored in loon territory. Because the raft floats, it protects the nest and eggs from being flooded or stranded. This past summer, loon rafts were deployed at several reservoirs including one of Pittsfield’s.
Recently, I asked DFW Western District Manager Andrew Madden if any loons had taken up residence on the raft. “Not yet, but they have been checking it out.” he said. Apparently loons like to check out the neighborhood a year or so before making such an important move.