About 130 people packed the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club banquet hall last Saturday evening for the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen’s (BCLS) Silvio O. Conte Memorial Awards Banquet. Award recipients included Doug Frank of Lee (2016 Sportsman of the Year), Karen Karlberg of Becket (Lifetime Achievement Award), Tom Macy of Sheffield (Sportsmen’s Appreciation Award) and Robert McDermott of West Stockbridge (John Zuber Outstanding Achievement Award).
All were selected by the delegates of the various sportsmen’s clubs which make up the BCLS. Their individual feats were highlighted in my March 26, 2017 column, “2016 BCLS Award winners announced”. The banquet was dedicated in honor of George “Gige” Darey of Lenox. Mark Jester of Pittsfield was the emcee for the event. Congratulations to all of the recipients.
Gige Darey respectfully declined to accept an award preferring that one go to one of the above deserving recipients. He did give a moving speech recounting his 38 years on the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board. Gige has been kept busy giving talks these days. Recently, he received an award from the Worcester County League of Sportsmen and two weeks ago, he received a Special Recognition award from the Massachusetts Sportsmen’s Council. At that banquet, Lt Governor Polito, several State Senators and Representatives and many other dignitaries honored him for his many achievements.
As you may know, Gige recently stepped down from the F&W Board, of which he served as its chairman for 35 of years. During that time he accomplished a great deal. He oversaw the restoration and recovery of the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, osprey, turkey, deer, bear and piping plover. He was instrumental in increasing land acquisition and protection, habitat identification and management, education and outreach and the new environmentally state-of-the-art Field Headquarters in Westborough.
One of his proudest achievements was to getting “Presumption of Openness” into the language of the Open Space Bond Bills, ensuring that all state land so purchased would be open to passive recreation including hunting, fishing and trapping. He led the efforts to transfer the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program to the DFW, now a model for the nation.
Referred to as the champion for all wildlife, from fish and big game, to the less heralded species greatly needing our understanding and protection, it is no wonder that the 818-acre Housatonic Valley Wildlife Management Area bears his name.
Gige is not done receiving accolades yet. On May 13, there will be an event celebrating his lifelong commitment and achievements as well as raising funds for the MA Outdoor Heritage Foundation. It will take place at the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club, 24 West Stockbridge Road (Route 102), MA.
The event, co-chaired by Bob Durand former Secretary of Environmental Affairs, Dave Peters former Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game, Wayne MacCallum former Director Division of Fish and Wildlife and Steve Sears President of the MA Outdoor Heritage Foundation Board, will take place from noon to 4:00pm. Buffet at 1pm, speaking program at 2:00pm, silent auction and raffle at 3:00pm. The cost is $50 per person.
If you are unable to attend but still wish to contribute to the Outdoor Heritage Fund, of which Gige is a founding Board member, make checks payable to: Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation (note George L Darey fund) P.O. Box 47, Westborough, MA. 01581. You may want to consider a sponsorship and tax deductible donation that will honor and further the mission of natural resource protection which has been Gige’s lifelong commitment.
Some sponsorships categories are: Woodcock -$100, Whitetail Deer-$250, Black Bear -$500 and Bald Eagle-$1000. For more information about the Foundation, visit them at massoutdoorheritage.org.
On April 29, the Lee Sportsmen’s Association is holding a fundraiser called Aiming for Zero Steel Match. The purpose of the event is to support the fight against veteran suicide. Shoot times are 9:00 am and 1:00 pm with no preregistration required, $25 registration fee, $5 side match. Centerfire pistols and .22LR pistols and .22 rifles welcome. If you can’t attend but would like to donate, visit the Aiming for Zero/Active Heroes website. Click on join existing club then List on registered teams. Choose individual fundraiser and type in Paddy Sullivan. He is registered as an individual, and not with a team. He is doing this for His National Honor Society service project.
The following local waters were scheduled to be stocked last week. Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida; Chickley River in Charlemont, Hawley and Savoy; Cold River in Charlemont, Florida, and Savoy; Westfield River in Chesterfield, Cummington, Huntington and Russell; Housatonic River in Lee and Pittsfield, Hop Brook and Goose Pond Brook in Lee and Tyringham, Upper Highland Lake in Goshen, Mansfield Lake in Great Barrington, Kinderhook Creek in Hancock, Norwich Pond in Huntington, Greenwater Brook in Lee, York Lake in New Marlborough, Berry Pond in Pittsfield, Buck and Clam River in Sandisfield, Larrywaug Brook in Stockbridge and Onota Lake in Pittsfield.
Spring Turkey Season
The spring turkey hunting season opens tomorrow in Massachusetts and runs through May 20. Immediately following harvest, hunters must fill out and affix the tag from their turkey permit to the turkey. The turkey must be reported either online via the MassFishHunt system or at a traditional check station within 48 hours of harvest and before the bird is processed for food or taxidermy. The MassFishHunt system generates a confirmation number which must be written on the harvest tag attached to the turkey; the confirmation number serves as the official seal. The tag (or metal seal from a check station) must remain on the bird until it is processed for food or taxidermy.