Paraplegic Deer Hunt went off smoothly

 

According to Trina Moruzzi, MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Paraplegic Deer Hunt Coordinator, twenty one hunters participated statewide in the 3 day paraplegic deer hunt which took place from November 3 through November 5.  A total of five deer, one doe and four bucks, were harvested.   This translates to a 24% success rate for this year’s hunt.  In the past five years, these hunters have averaged around a 25% success rate.   Here in the Berkshires, 9 hunters participated this year – 5 in the southern and 4 in the northern Berkshires sites.

The southern Berkshires folks hunted in the Mount Washington area and it was coordinated out of the DCR Headquarters there.  The hunters were:  Sidney Eichstedt of Lee, Greg Baumli of New Lebanon, NY, Steve Gladding of Westfield, MA, Vyto Sablevicius of Norwich, MA and Erin Ferry of Dighton, MA.

Helpers included:  Shaun Smith, Brian Ingerson, Marc Portieri, Greg Arienti, Rick Thelig, Tom Dean, Paul Antonozzi, Fred Lampro, Al Vincent, Paul Mullins and Chuck Pickert, all from the Berkshires or northern Connecticut.

 

For the 8th year in a row, Chuck Pickert brought his trailer-mounted smoker/grill and cooked breakfasts and lunches for the three days.  Tricia Vollmer made the fish chowder and potato salad and other individuals also prepared the desserts and other food needed for the three day event.  A lot of friends who own restaurants and businesses donated food and condiments.

 

On the day that I was there, the lunch menu was:  homemade fish chowder, smoked roast pork loin, smoked Vidalia onion gravy, smoked baked beans, and potato salad as well as the home-made deserts.

 

So how did the hunt go?  No deer were taken that first day. The only thing I saw even remotely resembling a deer was an 8 inch toy African eland that Chuck Pickert’s 4 year old grandson Callen brought with him.  However, on a subsequent day, Erin Ferry bagged a spike horned buck.

 

The 4 hunters at the Northern Berkshires site were: Dale Bailey of Clarksburg, David Alderman of Petersburgh, NY, Fred Klausky of Raynham, MA and Shawn Mei of Baldwinville, MA.   Volunteer included Rick French, Jay and Stacy Sylvester and others.

 

They hunted in the Williamstown area and, Dale Bailey got a doe.

 

DFW Western District Manager Andrew Madden and his staff of biologists; Nate Buckhout, Tammy Ciesla and Jacob Morris-Siegel were on hand at both sites to help out and check in the deer.

 

In other areas,  two bucks were harvested at the Quabbin site, and one buck was harvested at the Devens site.

 

“Since 1972, this hunt has provided thousands of hours of recreational opportunities for paraplegic sportsmen and women and I am proud to be part of it.” said Moruzzi.  She noted that volunteers are integral to the program and thanked them for their enthusiasm and commitment.  If you are a paraplegic sportsman or sportswoman interested in participating in the 2017 hunt, contact Trina Moruzzi at trina.moruzzi@state.ma.us or call (508) 389-6318.

Hunters welcome

According to its website (BNRC.org), The Berkshire Natural Resources Council owns over 10,000 acres where one can hike, snowshoe, geocache, fish, birdwatch, paint pictures, take photos, etc.   Local sportsmen love the BNRC because it also welcomes hunters to its properties. One of its principles is that land should be open for passive recreation, which has always included hunting.  In fact, BNRC actively manages its properties for wildlife’s increase, including game species. It believes there is room to share the land among those who appreciate what it offers.

However, it has a few simple guidelines to keep everyone safe:

  • Be aware of the hunting seasons:  some type of hunting occurs from mid-October through mid-March; the busiest period is the shotgun deer season, which this year is from November 28 through December 10.
  • Through the fall hunting seasons, it is important that every visitor (hunters, hikers, and even dogs) wears bright clothing.  “Blaze orange” is the color that shows best in all light conditions.
  • Hikers should stay on marked trails and hunters should make sure they know the location of all trails.
  • Dog-walkers should be especially careful to keep dogs leashed.
  • Give hunters their space:  State law protects a hunter’s rights to legally take game, and BNRC supports their right.

As BNRC puts it, “Keeping land is not an easy task. We’re constantly in the field, working with landowners who want to donate land, scouting for new acquisitions, and planning, building, and maintaining trails that give you easy access to nature. We put rafts on the ponds so you can swim and fish. We build bridges and boardwalks over the streams and wetlands. We do all of this with you, and for you…..all of you.”

Each year, the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen (BCLS) gladly makes a donation to this most worthy organization.  Now you know why.

No Game Dinner

Around this time of year, the Onota Fishing Club usually has its annual game dinner.  However, according to Board Member Clem Caryofiles, it has been cancelled this year.  No explanation was given, but I suspect the passing of director Chris Porter last December had a lot to do with it.  He dedicated a tremendous amount of his time expertly preparing and cooking the wild game.  He was posthumously awarded the BCLS 2015 Sportsman of the Year Award for all of his efforts.

It sounds like the Onota Club will resume having this dinner sometime in the future as Caryofiles noted that they are still taking donations of deer and other game.

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