To harvest an antlerless deer in Massachusetts, hunters must possess a valid hunting or sporting license as well as an Antlerless Deer Permit (permit) for the Wildlife Management Zone (WMZ) in which they intend to hunt. The permit allows the harvest of one antlerless deer in the specified zone during any deer hunting season. Hunters must have a permit in their possession while hunting.
If you have not applied for a permit yet, you must do so by July 16. There is no fee to apply but a $5 fee is charged if you are awarded a permit during the Instant Award period. You may apply by visiting the MassFishHunt web site, a MassWildlife office, or a license vendor. Then, during the Instant Award Period, from August 1 through December 31, you can try to win a permit.
MassWildlife reminds citizens that the female segment of the deer population is used for population management since with each female deer harvested, not only is the individual removed from the population but so too is that deer’s future reproductive potential. Therefore, in regions of the state where there are high numbers of deer per square mile, a large number of permits are made available. Conversely, in regions where there are relatively fewer deer (sometimes resulting from poor habitat quality), fewer permits are allocated for hunters.
Each year MassWildlife determines the number of permits to issue for each of its fifteen WMZ’s. Any surplus permits are made available in October. Although no official announcement has been made yet, MassWildlife anticipates that there will be no changes in the permit allocations this year – they will be the same as last year. The Fish & Wildlife Board endorsed this at its May meeting. *****
Incidentally, the Worthington Rod and Gun Club at 458 Dingle Road, Rte. 112 will be having a Basic Hunter Education Course on July 20, 21, 23 and 24 from 5:30 to 9:00 PM. To enroll, call (508)389.7830.
This course is mandatory and designed for first-time hunters. In order to purchase a hunting license, a hunter must have successfully completed a Basic Hunter Education course from any US state, Canada, or Mexico. Funding for the program is derived from the sale of hunting and sporting licenses and from federal excise taxes on firearms and archery equipment. All courses are conducted free of charge. *****
Staying with the subject of hunting, there have been some changes made in the regulations governing black bear hunting this year. Black bear hunting is now permitted in all zones throughout the Commonwealth. (Previously, bear hunting was only allowed in Zones 1 through Zone 9).
Also, in an effort to get the bear population to a manageable level, bear hunting is now permitted during shotgun deer hunting season. Hunters already afield during the shotgun deer season can now take a bear anywhere in Massachusetts provided they have a $5 Bear Permit and use: 1.) shotgun not larger than ten gauge, including shotguns with a rifled bore, slugs only; 2.) muzzle-loading firearm fired from the shoulder, .44 to .775 caliber; or 3.) bow and arrow.
During the shotgun deer season, all deer hunting regulations apply. Hunters must wear 500 square inches of blaze orange on their chest, back, and head. Only hunting implements that may be used for hunting deer may be used for hunting bear; no rifles or handguns are allowed.
So, to recap the black bear hunting season dates this year, they are as follows: First Season: September 8 through September 26, Second Season: November 2 through November 21 and Shotgun Season: November 30 through December 12. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays*****
Congratulations to MassWildlife for recently receiving a $720,000 North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant award to support habitat restoration and conservation projects that benefit wetland and upland habitats and over 160 bird species at several locations in the Great Marsh. The Great Marsh consists of more than 20,000 acres of marsh, barrier beach, tidal river, estuary, mudflat, and upland islands from Gloucester to Salisbury. The Great Marsh is the largest contiguous saltmarsh in New England. This was the tenth NAWCA grant focused on wildlife conservation efforts in the Great Marsh in the past twenty years.
This grant will protect more than 1,140 acres, restore 202 acres, and enhance 80 acres of habitat, which include saltmarsh, mudflats, coastal islands, maritime forests, and shrub. The area’s outstanding habitats support healthy populations of wildlife which are in need of special conservation action, including American Black Duck, Woodcock, New England Cottontail, Bobolinks, and Saltmarsh Sparrow—the only endemic breeding bird (doesn’t nest anywhere else) in the northeastern United States.
“This is the largest and most complex wildlife conservation grant award the Division has received,” said Jack Buckley, Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. *****
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the free fly fishing demonstration which was sponsored by the Hoosic River Water Association and put on by fly fishing guide Chris Jackson on the Hoosic River at Cole Field in Williamstown. He is an excellent fly caster and fisherman and I picked up some good pointers from him and learned a new location in which to fish the river. Jackson can be reached at www.flyfishthedeerfield.com. Allow yourself some time for the site is packed with useful information and excellent fly tying videos. *****
The Lee Sportsmen’s Association is running a Basic Pistol Course on the Monday evenings of July 13 and July 20 from 5:30 to 9:30 PM. The course cost is $100.00. To sign up, contact Larry Karlquist at (413) 442-7807. *****