Governor Charlie Baker recently appointed Stephen A. Sears, of Dalton, to the seven-person Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Board representing the Western District. This Board is assigned the responsibility of supervision and control of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW). Sears replaces George (Gige) Darey of Lenox who recently retired from that Board.
Steve was introduced to the delegates of the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen by Darey at its February meeting. (The League had previously petitioned Massachusetts EOEA Secretary Matthew A. Beaton and Governor Baker to appoint him).
He said that he is truly humbled to be able to take Darey’s place. Steve is a lifelong sportsman, having caught his first trout when he was 3 years old. He recounted how he had an opportunity while he was working at Crane & Co to protect all of the land where he caught his first trout. “If we hadn’t done that 15 years ago, it may have been sold for condos last year.” He’s an avid hunter, shotgun or bow hunting almost every day of deer season until he gets his limit.
He acknowledged that he has a big job to do and huge shoes to try to fill. He said he will do the best he can to support the sportsmen to preserve the (outdoor sports) for the kids and their kids. It’s a big job and he will do his best to make the meetings, bring information back to the Berkshires, listen to the concerns of sportsmen and address them the best that he can.
Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from UMASS, Amherst. He was with Crane & Co., Inc., for over 25 years, most recently as Vice President in charge of manufacturing, engineering, and environmental services. In his tenure at Crane, he oversaw all the energy procurement and environmental policies, and was instrumental in applying many leading edge process developments in U.S. currency production as well as spearheading many environmental efforts.
He is the president of the Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation where money is raised to do projects in support of the DFW. The Foundation has done some great things so far and he is looking forward to continuing that work as well. He is the Vice-Chair of the Berkshire Brownfields Commission and serves or served on the boards of the Center for EcoTechnology, Mount Greylock Ski Club, Upper Housatonic National Heritage Area and The Trustees’ Notchview Advisory Committee. He served as a long-term member of the Dalton Development and Industrial Commission, where he led the development and implementation of multiple new bylaws for the Town of Dalton.
He is currently developing a former Crane & Co., Inc., factory building in Dalton, creating a quality –oriented marketplace for local artisan products and sustainable businesses.
Steve grew up and still lives in Dalton with his wife Maria. They have three grown children. Behind his house is a mountain of which he knows just about every inch. It has about 25 square miles of good hunting land. “ It’s a big place, it’s a great place” he said. He lives only 2 miles from the DFW Western District Headquarters in Dalton. He worked for Crane & Company when they sold the building to the Boy Scouts. That was before the Boy Scouts sold it to the DFW.
Steve said that he is thrilled to work with all of (the sportsmen and women). He thanked the League for its support. In turn, the League wished him the best of luck with a round of applause.
Prior to Steve’s introduction, former Chairman Darey had a few words. He recounted how Steve was one of his students at Wahconah Regional High School. Later on they both coached cross country skiing. They worked together a lot helping other schools that did not have cross-country ski teams, running workshops and other projects. Gige feels very comfortable leaving the Board knowing that Steve is going to be there. “He will do a great job”’ he said.
Darey also mentioned how he was on the Board for 38 years, its chairman for 35. He remembered the great people he met over the years and the wonderful accomplishments. “Its been a wonderful time serving the sportsmen”, he said, “and wouldn’t trade the life he had for anything”. He thanked everyone. He received a rousing, extended round of applause from the delegates.
Ice Fishing Derbies
The Locker Room Ice Fishing Derby will be held on Sunday, February 26, dawn till 2pm, Laurel Lake, $10 Adults, $5 Students.. There will be a Raffle and Pasta Dinner at the Locker Room on Main Street in Lee at 2pm. All proceeds will to benefit the Lee Youth Football
The Ashfield Rod & Gun Club will be having a kid’s ice fishing derby on Ashfield Lake on Saturday, February 18. The free derby will run from 8am to noon. A free luncheon and awards presentation follows. Call Joe Miraglia (413) 628-4400 for more info.
2016 Deer harvest
MassWildlife recently reported that the preliminary statewide deer harvest for 2016 was 12,233. This compares with last year’s harvest of 10,042. Both archery and primitive firearms seasons saw record harvests in 2016. The total harvest was near record levels as well. This good harvest was likely due to the low harvest in 2015 due to unseasonably warm weather, lack of snow, and an abundance of food. The increased harvest during the 2016 season was likely making up for the low harvest of last season and the weather was much more favorable for hunters.
The Western District accounted for 2,197 of them which compares to 1,887 last year. I hope to have more detailed harvest information in a future column.