Recently, members of the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club conducted a youth pheasant hunt on club property. Some 10 youths mostly from 13 years to 15 years age were mentored by club members Stan Tracy, Rick Gale and others. The club purchases and stocks its own birds on club property and on this day, members gave up their hunting day to allow the youths a chance to experience a pheasant hunt. The birds were stocked between 5 and 6 AM and no hunting was allowed until after 9 AM.
Prior to going out on the hunt, the youths were provided a free pancake breakfast and then they attended a safety meeting. Most were kids or grandkids of club members but some of them were from other areas. For example, one youth was from Lee. A couple of others were kids of parents who did not hunt and they had no other opportunity to learn to hunt pheasants.
Tracy mentored three teenage girls, Mia Gale, Isabella LaCasse and Suki Liang and didn’t know what to expect. “I didn’t know if they would be dressed properly and was afraid that they would show up wearing sneakers” he said. But when they showed up, the girls were properly dressed in camo or hunter orange clothing and knee high boots. They were serious and ready to go in spite of the cold, raw weather. Two parents showed up to help with the mentoring.
Out to the woods and fields they went, accompanied by Tracy’s bird dog Brady. The girls did great, each having bagged a pheasant. The only complaint that Tracy received was that after an hour or so, the guns became heavy. He was glad that the parents came along to help carry the extra gun for them. They were anxious to call it a day, not because of boredom or the cold weather or anything like that. They wanted to get back to the clubhouse to clean their game. They weren’t fazed at all with the plucking and removal of the birds’innards.
In all, 10 youths participated in the hunt and they bagged 15 or 16 birds.
Incidentally, MassWildlife will be stocking 40,000 pheasants statewide this fall. They started stocking for opening day which was October 15 and will continue until November 25. Plenty of time left to bag a couple for your next pheasant under glass meal.
Division of Ecological Restoration
The MA Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration works with community-based partners to restore aquatic ecosystems. The Division’s ecological restoration work brings clean water, recreation opportunities, healthy commercial fisheries, and other ecosystem services to the citizens of Massachusetts. Tim Purinton is its Director. Here is what they had to say about our recent drought in its November 2016 newsletter Ebb and Flow:
“Our aquatic ecosystems are under an incredible amount of stress from the ongoing and persistent drought. This long period of drought will be remembered, like the blizzard of 1978 or the hurricanes of the late 1950s. Periods of low streamflow and drought are a natural occurrence and many aquatic organisms have evolved traits that enable them to survive. However, this summer’s drought has highlighted how human activity and a changing environment have greatly impacted the ability of many aquatic organisms to survive under drought conditions.
DER’s Streamflow Restoration program documents flow stress conditions around the state, due to water withdrawals near headwater streams and impervious surfaces that reduce the potential for rain to recharge aquifers. These data are used to inform and support policy and actions that restore and maintain healthy streamflows.
This summer and fall we observed many streams that were completely dry for months at a time and others that were just a series of disconnected pools. In these impacted streams, the baseflow (groundwater that feeds streams during periods when there is no precipitation) had disappeared as groundwater levels dropped below the streambed due to the impacts of water withdrawals, lack of precipitation and impervious surfaces. In other streams, water levels behind dams dropped below spillways, resulting in no flow below the dam. The lack of water and flow in these streams directly impacts habitat quantity and quality which may have lasting impacts on aquatic organisms.
While many streams that we monitor were severely impacted by drought conditions, the reference streams that we monitor as part of a regional climate change monitoring network fared much better. These streams are located in relatively undeveloped and forested watersheds with healthy riparian corridors and proved more resilient to drought conditions. These streams were able to maintain baseflow and cool temperatures throughout the drought, illustrating how important these forests and riparian vegetation are to maintaining healthy streamflow. This natural infrastructure allowed the precipitation to slowly infiltrate and recharge groundwater aquifers, providing lasting benefits for instream habitat and water temperature. These streams flowed throughout the summer and fall while many other streams were dry.
Impacts of the drought are not limited to streams, as drinking water suppliers, fishing and recreational enthusiast as well as the agricultural industry all faced serious drought related impacts. One bright spot of the drought is the increased emphasis and interest in the importance of water conservation, especially during the summer. Many communities were able to greatly reduce water use through conservation practices, including increased education, watering restrictions and bans. These conservation efforts not only benefit water supplies but also streamflow.”