This deer hunting season, commonly referred to as the Black Powder or Muzzleloader season, opens tomorrow and runs through December 31. A Primitive Firearms Stamp is required and there are specific regulations regarding the type of firearm and ammo allowed, the use of hunter orange, etc. Inline ignition systems are permitted providing the gun loads from the muzzle. Make sure you check the abstracts located in the Fish & Wildlife Guide.
For many hunters this is the most enjoyable deer hunting season of them all. It is a chance to test one’s ability to maneuver in sometimes deep snow using snowshoes, track your deer and drop it with a primitive firearm, just like the early settlers did. There is peace and solitude in our forests at this time of year as they take on a special beauty. Archers can also hunt during this season but they must purchase the Primitive Firearms stamp.
Unlike the shotgun deer hunting season, deer may be brought to a game check station or can be reported on line at MassFishHunt. Happy hunting and keep your powder dry. *****
As of this writing, the DFW has not released any deer harvest figures from the archery season. Also, the shotgun deer hunting season just ended yesterday and it is too soon for those figures. *****
The 2015 hunting, sporting, fishing, and trapping licenses are now available for purchase starting at all license vendor locations, MassWildlife District offices, the Westborough Field Headquarters, and on the internet through the MassFishHunt system. Anyone 15 or older needs a license in order to fish in freshwater or to hunt. During December, it is possible to purchase either a 2014 or a 2015 license; so be careful when selecting the year when making a purchase. Minors 15-17 years of age may not purchase hunting or sporting licenses online and must have certain documentation in their possession when making a license purchase at a MassWildlife District office or other license vendor locations. Freshwater fishing licenses for minors ages 15-17 are free and can be obtained online. *****
Tomorrow, DFW Biologists will be conducting a Public Habitat Site Walk at the Farmington River Wildlife Management Area in Otis and Becket. It will cover portions of a 59-acre New England cottontail habitat management project area that is scheduled for work this winter. Learn about work that DFW and other agencies and organizations are doing to create young forest habitat with high stem densities to conserve the New England cottontail, which has been in steep population decline for decades and is currently a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. This project will benefit cottontail, as well as declining songbirds and gamebirds like American woodcock and ruffed grouse. Meet at the intersection of Becket Road and Lee-Westfield Road, and be sure to wear sturdy boots and dress for cold weather.*****
Next Friday at 11:30 AM, the public is invited to join wildlife and other environmental officials for a rededication ceremony of the new Richard Cronin Building, housing the DFW Field Headquarters and the Office of Fishing and Boating Access.
Located at 1 Rabbit Road, Westborough, MA, the building is the first Commonwealth of Massachusetts office building designed to meet a zero net energy standard, producing as much energy on site as it uses. It includes 45,000 square feet of office, laboratory, and meeting space and will serve as a destination for visitors attending public meetings, education programs, and workshops. The facility features a geothermal heating and cooling system, photovoltaic panels to produce electricity, and a sustainable site plan with native plant species that will serve as an outdoor education center and gateway to the 900-acre Westborough Wildlife Management Area.*****
On November 12, the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board presented Senator Stephen Brewer with the Governor Francis W. Sargent Conservation Award honoring his contributions to protection of the Commonwealth’s natural resources. Brewer, of Barre, MA, is the 11th recipient of the award established in 2000 by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board to honor the former governor and noted conservationist who was director of the DFW from 1963 to 1964.
Previous award winners include: Paul Kress (2000), Ted Giddings (2003), Nancy Begin (2004), Dr. Stephen Meyer (2005), Russell Cookingham (2006), Kathleen Anderson (2007), Mike Yacino (2008), Dr. Gwilym S. Jones (2009), Robert Durand (2011) and Mike Moss (2013). Click onto http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/about-masswildlife/sargent-award.html to learn more about them.
Mike Roche, Fisheries and Wildlife Board Secretary, spoke of Brewer, saying “Senator Brewer’s career has had a profound impact on the ability of the DFW to manage fish and wildlife for the benefit of the public.” Roche noted the Senator’s substantial work guarding the rights of anglers in the Quabbin Reservoir.
Brewer received the award, a hand-carved wooden loon decoy created by Geoff Walker of Hank Walker Decoys, at a ceremony held at the Otter River Sportsmen’s Club in Templeton. “I don’t think that Massachusetts sportsmen will ever really know all that the Senator has done for them,” said Fisheries and Wildlife Board Chairman George Darey of Lenox, as he presented Brewer with the prestigious award.
“Growing up in Barre, Senator Brewer developed an understanding and feeling for the environment that is embedded in his soul,” said Wayne MacCallum, DFW Director. “When he speaks about the out-of-doors the depth of his love of the land is evident. The environmental protections that he has been instrumental in establishing are truly a legacy to future generations”.
Senator Brewer spent much of his 35 years in the Massachusetts Legislature advocating for conservation and the environment. His many initiatives included the preservation of agricultural lands, support of dairy farmers, and the maintenance and enhancement of the Inland Fish and Game Fund.