Take Care of Yourself Out There


Even the most wilderness-savvy people can find themselves in dire straits when something unexpected happens out in the woods.  A slip or stumble, a sudden change in the weather, a wrong turn on a trail – it takes little to turn an outing into a life-threatening experience, particularly when the days are short and the weather cold.

Sue Morse, a naturalist, educator, forester, hunter and photographer who has spent decades on the trail of wildlife far off the beaten path, will lead a course entitled “Wilderness Wisdom: Take Care of Yourself Out There” from Friday evening, January 9 to noon on Sunday, January 11 at the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in Rowe, Massachusetts.  There will be on-site accommodations and meals available to participants.

She’ll demonstrate life-saving techniques such as building an emergency shelter, self-administering first aid, starting a fire, attracting rescuers, and warding off thirst and hunger until help arrives.

It’s a hands-on course, designed for everyone from casual hikers to hunters, back-country skiers, rock climbers – even surveyors and timber cruisers,” says Morse.  For more than 40 years her work and curiosity have taken her into wildernesses from the Arctic to the desert Southwest.  She is an expert wildlife tracker, mule and horse packer, and founder and science director of Keeping Track, a non-profit organization that trains wildlife professionals and citizen scientists to find and monitor important local habitats so they can be better conserved.

Morse’s adventures and accomplishments have made her the subject of articles in publications ranging from Audubon and Adirondack Life to Smithsonian and Vermont Life. She is a frequent public speaker on natural history topics, and a columnist for Northern Woodlands magazine.

Space at the workshop is limited, and it is recommended that interested people should reserve a place by calling (413) 339-4954.   More information can be found at http://rowecenter.org/events.php?event=353. *****

According to a recent New Hampshire Fish & Game newsletter, a deer from a captive facility in Ohio recently tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), that state’s first confirmed case.  Therefore, Ohio is now considered a CWD-positive jurisdiction and whole deer harvested in Ohio can no longer be transported into New Hampshire and presumably into Massachusetts. CWD is a neurological disorder that is always fatal to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose, but the World Health Organization has concluded that there is no evidence that people can become infected with CWD.  Currently there is no vaccine or treatment for it.  To date, CWD has been detected in wild or captive deer or elk in 25 states and provinces. These include Alberta, Canada; Colorado, Iowa,  Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico,  New York,  North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Saskatchewan, Canada, South Dakota,  Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Currently, no live deer of any species, may be brought into Massachusetts for any purpose. This ban includes animals used in deer farming practices and those used seasonally for petting zoos or holiday displays.  Also, it is illegal for anyone to import, process or possess whole carcasses or parts of deer, elk, and moose (from wild or captive herds) from states and Canadian provinces where CWD has been detected.  The only exceptions to the regulations are meat that is deboned, cleaned skull caps, hides without the head, or a fixed taxidermy mount.

A nationwide effort is underway to prevent further spread of the disease. This effort includes collecting annual samples of deer tissue as part of ongoing monitoring and surveillance efforts and restricting the transport of potentially infected animals, carcasses or tissues.   We should be hearing any day now if sampling has determined if any CWD exists in the Massachusetts herd. As of this writing, MassWildlife has not released any preliminary late season or total bear hunting harvest results.  Some MassWildlife officials expect the final harvest to be around 230.   No deer harvest figures from the archery or shotgun seasons have been released yet either. Some information that I was able to get was from the shotgun season and only those that were checked in at the Western District Headquarters in Dalton.  Some of the larger bucks checked in were:  187 lb taken in Egremont by Kenneth Keefner,   185 lb taken in Becket by Peter Amuso, 180 lb taken in Windsor by Paul Keyper, 174 lb taken in Lanesborough by Patrick Malloy and 173 lb taken in Middlefield by Dave  Shorey. *****


This year’s Cheshire Rod & Gun Club Truckload of Goodies Raffle winners were:  First Prize – Truckload Winner – Greg B. of Pittsfield, 2nd Prize – 10 lbs Roast Beef & 1 Liter Captn Morgan – Bill Barry of Pittsfield, 3rd Prize – 10 lbs Fresh Ham and 1 ltr Jack Daniels – Fran Gwozdz of Cheshire, 4th Prize – 20 lbs Turkey and 1 Ltr of Wild Turkey – Frank Hiser of Lee, 5th Prize – 1 ltr of Kahula.- Dave Wandrei of Savoy.


Incidentally, the CR&G indoor archery adult league starts on Tuesday, January 6 at 7 PM. for 12 weeks, and the youths start on Saturday, January 10 at 9 AM.  They need volunteers to assist with the youth league.  Any questions or if you wish to volunteer, call Dick S. at 413-663-8932.  *****


The Berkshire Beagle Club in Richmond will be having its 2015 Rabbit Hunt on Saturday, January 10. $10 per person and that includes a dinner.  Weigh-in by 4:00 PM.    Prizes go for the largest cottontail and snowshoe rabbit.  No hunting is allowed on the Beagle Club grounds.   To register or donate some raffle prizes contact  John Demary 413-441-2253 or 413-684-2228. ****

Happy New Year! Incidentally, if you plan to fish or hunt on New Year’s day, don’t forget to buy your hunting, fishing or sporting licenses.

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