This Tuesday morning the first of three black bear hunting seasons begins. Hunters are reminded that last year there were some changes to the bear hunting seasons. The first season runs from Tuesday September 6 through Saturday, September 24. The second season runs from Monday, November 7 through Saturday, November 26. The third season takes place during shotgun deer hunting season, November 28 through December 10. The regulations are complicated when it comes to determining which hunting implement is legal in which season, so I have once again included a grid which was furnished by MassWildlife and may be of some help.
**Except on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail season.
Hunters are still advised to review page 33 of the 2015 Fish & Wildlife Guide to find out how and when to report the harvest and other important information. Remember, a permit is required to hunt black bears.
Also on Tuesday, September 6, the Early Canada Goose hunting season opens statewide and runs through Friday, September 23. The bag limit is 7 and possession limit is 21. The hunting hours are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset (except on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail seasons when hunting hours begin at sunrise and end at sunset).
They may be hunted with shotguns no larger than 10 gauge. Shotguns capable of holding more than 3 shells may not be used unless plugged with a one-piece filler.
Each waterfowl hunter 16 years or older must carry on his person a valid federal waterfowl stamp and each hunter 15 years or older must purchase a Massachusetts waterfowl stamp. Stamps are required for hunting ducks and geese but not for hunting woodcock. Non-toxic shot is required for all waterfowl hunting; no lead shot can be in your possession.
Migratory game bird hunters must complete an online Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey each calendar year. If you have not completed the HIP survey, visit a local license vendor, MassWildlife office, or go to www.mass.gov/massfishhunt to be sure you have completed the survey.
This year the Youth Waterfowl Hunt for youths aged 12 to15 takes place on Saturdays September 24 and October 8. Check the 2016-2017 Migratory Game Bird Regulations for all of the regulations dealing with the youth hunt.
Steak & Lobster dinner dance
The Lenox Sportsmen’s Club will be having a steak and lobster dinner dance on Saturday, September 17 at its clubhouse off of New Lenox Road, Lenox. Dinner will be at 6:00 p.m., followed by dancing to music provided by DJ Russ Davi. B.Y.O.B. The ticket cost is $25.00 pp and can be ordered by e-mailing the club at email@example.com
Their turkey Shoots are scheduled to start Sunday September 18 and will run every week until Sunday Nov 18.
Kids Fishing Derby
The Berkshire Hatchery Foundation is holding a free kid’s fishing derby at their lower pond in Hartsville next Saturday, from 9 to 10:30 AM.
Recently, Homer Ouellette of Pittsfield passed beyond the river bend at age 90. He was an ardent fly fisherman, perch fisherman and deer hunter. I should mention from the start that the comments about Homer also apply to his older brother Paul Ouellette of Lanesborough, who still fishes with us. They were inseparable and when you saw one in an outdoor event, you saw the other.
Homer was a charter member of the Taconic Chapter of Trout Unlimited who eventually became its president and a director. He was an early recipient of Taconic TU’s highest award, the Crooked Staff Award. He was a volunteer in the Atlantic Salmon restoration program, stocking salmon fry in the Westfield River. He helped establish the Friends of the Williams River group by conducting river surveys. He was an excellent fly tyer and fisherman and helped teach it at BCC in the 1970’s/1980’s. In fact, that is where I first met him. He was such a cool and knowledgeable fly tyer/fisherman that I immediately joined TU because of him. I wanted to be just like him.
I treasure the memories of him flyfishing the Westfield River at Indian Hollow and those times when we flyfishermen sat around the evening campfire after a day of fishing. We, listened to the soft music which emanated from his harmonica and enjoyed his stories of flyfishing in the past. It was from him that I first heard the term “fishing beyond the river bend”, when a fly fisherman passed away.
He was also a member of the tongue-in-cheek organization known as Perch Unlimited or PU! While staying at their cottage in Vermont (the Owl’s Nest), they would often ice fish for perch on Lake Champlain and caught many of them. Homer did his share of deer hunting out of that camp, also. (You may recall a couple of articles that I wrote about that camp last fall.)
He was an excellent bowhunter and for many years taught the bowhunting course for the Mass DFW. He, along with his brother Paul, received the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award. To quote the citation, “they have devoted countless hours to stream improvement, salmon fry stocking and bowhunting safety instruction courses. They have been instrumental in instructing thousands of archers in dozens of courses they have hosted as Bowhunting Education Instructors. Every sportsman can think of one or two people who helped spark their passion for the outdoors. Homer and Paul Ouellette have touched many sportsmen’s lives.”
A reminder that hunting seasons are coming up and the club is always looking for game for our dinners. If you want to donate your harvest, please contact the club at info@lenoxsportsmensclub.