Shotgun Deer Hunting Season opens tomorrow and runs through December 13. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) reminds us that all deer harvested during shotgun season MUST be checked at a traditional check station. Online checking will NOT be available during this time (December 1 – 13, 2014). Reporting deer at check stations during these two weeks allows biologists to collect valuable data needed for deer management.
Hunters should know check stations and locations as part of their pre-hunting preparation. Many check stations have different hours for the first week of shotgun deer season. Some have additional hours, whereas others are asked to not check deer so that deer can be funneled to nearby check stations to increase biological data collection. The Western District Check Stations and phone numbers’ where available, are listed below:
First week: DFW Western District HQ, Dalton (413)684-1646, B&D Variety, Huntington, (MassWildlife staff in parking lot); Lee Sportsmen’s Club, Lee; Mill River General Store, New Marlborough (413) 229-2663; and Ernie’s Auto Sale, North Adams.
The following additional stations will be added for the second week of the shotgun season: Avid Sports, Pittsfield (413) 997-3600; Becket Country Store, Becket, (413)623-5500; Bonne Chance Check Station, Cummington (413)329-4001; D.A.R. State Forest, Goshen, (Call Ahead Only (413)268-7098)); Dave’s Sporting Goods, Pittsfield, (413)442-2960; Goshen General Store (413)268-7268 and Smitty’s Sporting Goods, Dalton, (413)684-2244. Additional information on check stations such as addresses and hours of operation are available at www.masswildife.org or by calling the District Office (413)684-1646.
Andrew Madden, DFW Western District Manager urges hunters to make a plan in advance so that they know where and when to check in their deer. Nothing worse than driving all over the County trying to find an open check station when you are dead tired and hungry.
For the non deer hunters who may be upset at seeing a part of a deer body displayed on a vehicle, please know that the regulations require it and that the hunter is not just showing off the deer. The regulation abstracts stipulate, in bold print, the following: “Until checked/reported, deer must not be concealed. Deer or part of deer must remain open to view during transport and must remain intact or whole (may be field-dressed, but not butchered, skinned, or taken to a taxidermist for mounting).”
A couple of years ago while checking in a deer, an Environmental Police Officer approached me at the check station and verbally reprimanded me for not having the deer properly exposed, in spite of the fact that it was lying in the open bed of my truck. The tail gate was closed so that it wouldn’t fall out. He said that a leg or some portion of the deer should have been attached in such a way as to stick up and be more easily seen. He was good about it and only gave me a warning.
Hopefully, you “more experienced” deer hunters have had a chance to get in shape before now. Climbing up a mountain with heavy boots, winter clothes, gun, backpack, thermos bottle, bullets, etc., is tough. That plus the adrenalin caused by the thrill of the hunt can be taxing on the old ticker. If you are not in the shape you would like and can no longer leap over tall buildings, just take it easy. Take frequent rests and drink plenty of water. Let the younger hunters rush past you and get all sweaty. Even if you don’t get a deer, be thankful that you are once again able to enjoy the experience.
If you do get lucky and shoot a deer, don’t kill yourself while dragging it out of the woods. Once again, take frequent stops. Bring your cell phone so that you can contact people to help you. A phone can be a real lifesaver in the event that you get lost, too. It goes without saying that you should let people know where you will be hunting.
Here’s hoping that all the deer hunters have safe and enjoyable hunts. *****
The Onota Fishing Club will be having its annual game dinner next Sunday, December 7, at the ITAM Lodge on 93 Waubeek Road in Pittsfield. Doors open at noon, appetizers will be served at 1:00 pm and dinner at 2:00pm. This year’s menu will consist of roast venison, bear, wild boar, turkey, moose, rabbit, a variety of sausages, chowders, chili’s, fresh and salt water fish. Tickets cost $25 pp and are available at Portsmitt’s Lakeway Restaurant or by contacting Ray Westerman at 413-464-1853. Proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to The Soldier On program in Pittsfield. Limited tickets will be available at the door on a first come, first served basis. They are really in need of venison and bear meat, so if you can spare some, contact Chris Porter at 413-496-0105 ASAP. Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated for this most worthy cause. *****
Nick Goldsmith, a Lenox native and avid hunter and fisherman, was severely injured on October 3 when he fell about 25 feet from his tree stand in the New Lebanon, NY area. He was airlifted to Albany Medical where he underwent surgery for fractured vertebrae. He also broke his pelvis and fractured his heel and ribs. After leaving Albany Med he spent two and a half weeks at Spaulding Rehab Hospital in Boston.
His friends and family have planned a benefit for him which will be held at the Lenox Sportsmen’s Club on Saturday December 6 from 1:00 to 6:00 pm. There will be a pig roast, lots of food, raffles and music. For more information and tickets call his aunt Wendy Lampro at (347) 891-4315 or Roy Goldsmith at (413) 637-1971.