The first warning is to help prevent firearm accidents. Responsible hunting is a time-honored tradition that plays an important part in managing Massachusetts’s wild game populations. Responsible hunting means respecting game animals, hunting ethically and, perhaps most importantly, hunting safely.
Because this is a time of year when a lot of firearms are in use and in transport, MassWildlife and Project ChildSafe are urging hunters to take action to prevent firearm accidents in the field, at the range, at home, and everywhere in between. That means remembering that “The Hunt Isn’t Over Until Firearms Are S.A.F.E. and Secure.”
S.A.F.E. stands for Secure your firearms when not in use; Be Aware of those around you who should not have unauthorized access to firearms; Focus on your responsibility as a firearm owner and Educate yourself and others about safe firearm handling and storage.
Safe and secure storage of firearms when they are not in use is the number one way to prevent firearm accidents. For more information on safe firearm storage and to find out how to get a free firearm safety kit, including a gun lock, visit www.projectchildsafe.org. *****
The second warning comes because fall is the breeding season for both moose and white-tailed deer. MassWildlife reminds motorists to be mindful of increased deer and moose activity, especially during early morning and evening hours. Moose, found in parts of central and western Massachusetts, breed in September and October. White-tailed deer breed from late October to early December.
Moose on the road are especially hazardous. The dark color and height of moose make them difficult to see in low light; moose eyes rarely shine like deer eyes because their eyes are above headlight level. In addition, long legs and heavy top bodies make moose very dangerous to motorists when struck.
MassWildlife recommends that we observe road signs for moose and deer crossings and slow down. Do not swerve to avoid hitting a deer because it may lead to more risk and damage than hitting the deer. Moose are less likely to move from the road than deer, so stay alert and brake when you see a moose in or near the road.
Deer and moose/vehicle collisions should be reported to the Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075. In the event of a deer/vehicle collision, the driver or passengers of the vehicle involved (MA residents only) may salvage the deer by bringing it to a DFW Wildlife District Offices to be officially tagged. *****
The third warning involves paddlers in kayaks and canoes. They must wear life jackets from September 15 to May 15 every year. According to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, most boating fatalities in the Commonwealth result when boaters fail to wear life jackets while in small craft in cold water or cold weather. Waterfowl hunters using canoes or kayaks are reminded that this law also applies to them. Obviously, stand up paddleboarders, should wear them also. *****
MassWildlife is in the process of compiling a Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Massachusetts. While they have a substantial selection of photographs of most inland native species on file, they are lacking high quality photos of most of the Sea Turtles. Most of these pelagic animals only visit our waters for brief periods each year, or only occasionally, and spend most of their lives in tropical and sub-tropical waters. MassWildlife is most interested in photos of the Kemp’s Ridley and Hawksbill sea turtles, but will also consider quality shots of the Green, Loggerhead, and Leatherback sea turtles. Underwater photographers or anyone with good quality, identification-rich photos are encouraged to submit their work to them for consideration.
They prefer dorsal shots of the entire animal showing carapace (upper shell) and shell scute/head scale patterns. Photos selected must be sharp and of reasonably high resolution. They cannot pay for the use of any photos they select for publication but they will credit the photographer in the publication and will provide a complimentary copy of the book to the photographer when it is published. If you’re interested in submitting photographs for consideration, contact Editor Peter Mirick at firstname.lastname@example.org. *****
On August 26, 2015 at the Erving State Forest, Jack Buckley, Director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), welcomed home MassWildlife Habitat Biologist Rebecca DiGirolomo from a firefighting deployment in Oregon. DiGirolomo, a resident of Worcester, was part of a returning Massachusetts crew of 20 state and municipal firefighters sent to battle blazes in Oregon for the previous two weeks. Their deployment was in response to a request the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation received from the U.S. Forest Service and the Northeastern Interagency Coordination Center in Camden, NH. During the deployment, the crew was assigned to the Eldorado Fire, located near Unity, Oregon.
“On behalf of both the Fisheries and Wildlife Board and the Division, we salute Rebecca’s courage, commitment, and contribution to the western wildfire fighting effort,” said Director Buckley. “We are proud to provide the services of our highly trained and skilled personnel in this time of urgent need.” Buckley noted that should there be a request for additional deployment, additional MassWildlife staff are prepared and willing to answer the call. *****
Since 1972, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has offered paraplegic sportsmen and sportswomen the opportunity to hunt deer in several locations across the state during a special three-day season. This year’s hunt dates are October 29 –31, 2015. Among the locations are two properties in northern and southern Berkshire County. Licensed paraplegic hunters who have an interest in participating in this hunt should contact Trina Moruzzi at (508) 389-6318 or by email at Trina.Moruzzi@state.ma.us for more details. Do it by October 23 to ensure you can get your permit in time.