Local turkey hunter is an inspiration to us all

On the last Friday of this year’s Spring Turkey Hunting Season, Zach Porio, of Adams, went hunting for toms. Normally, he hunts with friends Richard Frew or Nick Chenail but they couldn’t go with him that day. So, he went with his usual partner, his trusty black lab Roxanne. He likes to take her for she is quiet and in case he falls out of his wheelchair or stand, he can send her for help. (In case you didn’t notice from the photograph, Zach is a quadriplegic. That was the result of a motorcycle accident he had in 2012.)
It had rained the night before but this day was turning out to be a nice one. The only thing he had to worry about was the tires of his wheelchair getting stuck in the mud.
Dave Willette, author of Coyote Wars and columnist for the Northwest Sporting Journal wrote about that day in his August 2017, Mass Wanderings column, entitled, “Determination and Desire Personified”, and much of the following is derived from it.
“Zach couldn’t get into his normal spots that morning so he tried a new place where he had permission to hunt. It’s a real challenge for Zach to find suitable places to hunt as he has to take into consideration what his limitations are, especially if there is a slope of any kind and if it’s wet. He has to know that there are birds around there because he can’t do any scouting. He usually hunts out of his wheelchair, but if he has to use his truck, he has to be sure not to trample the farmers’ hay.
On this day, Zach drove his custom truck to the edge of the farmer’s field and backed out 30 yards to drop the turkey decoys out of the truck window. He then drove back to the edge and watched for birds by looking through his rear- view mirrors.
An hour after daylight ten or so turkeys popped out of the hedgerow 400 yards away so Zach started calling with his box call. By 10:00am, the birds had gotten within 200 yards and soon two jakes broke off and came within 50 yards. When Zach started to turn a little, they saw him and ran off. He then got into a better position.
He can’t sweat like he used to due to his injuries and he got very hot sitting in the truck. Around 11:00am, he was getting ready to quit, but before doing so, he decided to try his new turkey call. He got a response! Zach slowly turned to see two toms about 20 yards from the decoys but the bigger one detected him and decided to bail. He shot the second one with his .20 gauge shotgun and “it dropped like a stone”.
Because Zach only has partial use of his upper extremities, he had to pull the trigger with both hands while supporting the gun on his knees. He then had to drive his truck closer, grab a rope, get into his wheelchair and push it 20 yards over a meadow to retrieve his turkey. (He doesn’t have a motorized wheelchair). He had to bend over, tie the turkey by its feet, push himself back upright, put the rope into his mouth and drag it to the truck while pushing his wheelchair. (That bird weighed over 12 lbs!). “I was exhausted by the time I got back into the truck”, he said.
Zach, who is married (to Samantha) and has two children, is quite a guy. He hunts other birds and animals, too, including bears.
He felt funny about relaying this story. He prefers to keep stuff like that to himself. It wasn’t until I stressed upon him that he is such an inspiration to all of us, especially to others who are battling physical disabilities, that he relented.
Many thanks to Dave Willette for providing much of the above information. Incidentally, you may want to check out the Northwoods Sporting Journal. It is an excellent outdoor sporting magazine which focusses mainly on northern New England.
The Friends of the Berkshire Hatchery Fund Raiser Lobsterfest will be held next Sunday afternoon, August 20 from 2 to 5pm, at the Hatchery at 240 Hatchery Road, Hartsville, MA. This event supports the programs and scholarships that the Foundation provides. The full lobster dinner, which will be catered by Other Brother Daryl’s, costs $65 pp. Tickets can be obtained by calling (413)528-9761.
Basic Hunter Education Courses
All first-time hunters who wish to purchase a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license must complete a Basic Hunter Education course. One will be taught at the Lee Sportsmen’s Club, 565 Fairview Street, Lee, on August 21 and September 9. The times are 6:00 to 9:30pm on August 21 and 8:00 am to 2:30 pm on August 19. Participants must attend all class dates and times to successfully complete the course. To enroll, call (508)389-7830.

Young Adult Pheasant Hunt
Hunter Education graduates aged 12–17 can participate in the Young Adult Pheasant Hunt. The program involves shooting instruction and practice, a pre-hunt workshop, and a mentored hunt prior to the regular pheasant season. All young adults between the ages 15 and 17 will need a hunting license and FID card to participate in this program.
This hunt takes place on Saturdays in September and October; specific dates vary and are determined by participating sportsman’s clubs. For more information and to view participating clubs, visit the MassWildlife website or contact Astrid Huseby by email at astrid.huseby@state.ma.us.
F&W Board
The August meeting of the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board will be held on Tuesday, August 22, at 1:00 pm, at the Stationery Factory, 63 Flansburg Avenue, Dalton, MA.


Another successful Youth Turkey Hunt Day

Saturday, April 22, was the day when the youths and their mentors took to the woods to bag a gobbler.  For the kids it was the culmination of classroom instructions, safety classes, shooting practice, etc. Traditionally, the special youth turkey hunting day occurs on the Saturday before the opening day of the spring turkey hunting season.  Each year I try to cover the kids at a different sportsmen’s club that has the youth turkey hunting program.   Last year I was at the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club, this year the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club and next year I hope to be at the Lee Sportsmen’s Club.


This year the SSC had a fairly large group of kids (20) to mentor.   As you can see by the photo, they did very well with 5 kids bagging birds and just about every kid and mentors had action, either by having toms respond to their calls or having opportunities to see some.  That’s really important for it takes a great deal of fortitude for the youngsters to get up early and be out in the woods before daybreak.  If they don’t have some kind of positive action, they may get immediately discouraged and not ever go turkey hunting again.


Mike Buffoni, who heads up the Stockbridge program and who also is a mentor had a memorable morning himself.  He and his accompanying youth spotted a female moose during the hunt.  Others hunters spotted a bear of two.  Mike has to be super proud of his two sons Max and Marco for they both bagged gobblers.


The day started off damp and raw with a few sprinkles here and there but as the day progressed, it warmed up.  When the kids and mentors returned to the club around noon, (turkey hunting must cease at noon) they were treated to a hot roast beef dinner expertly prepared by Chef Peter Delgrande.


After the meal, the customary procedure is to teach the kids how to dress the birds, breast them out for consumption, and save the tail feathers, beards and spurs for display.   Getting that first turkey was a big event for these kids and I’m sure they wanted to save such items for fond memories and bragging rights.


While one of the mentors was eating his meal, he picked at least 20 ticks off of his shirt – both wood ticks and deer ticks.  He had hung his hunting jacket on the back of his chair and they were jumping off of that onto his shirt.  He said that he had also pulled a lot of ticks off of him when he finished hunting and was leaving the woods.


From what I hear and see, this is going to be one heck of a year for ticks, so please make sure you use a tick repellent spray on your clothes, such as permethrin, and be sure to carefully inspect yourself when you get home.


Matt Ranzoni, who headed up the Lee Sportsmen’s Association youth hunt, had 6 kids participate this year and 3 of them were successful.  Donavan Coccomo got a tom weighing 21 lbs, Hunter Briggs got a 20 lb bird and Matt Driscoll got a 15 lb jake.  Travis Bush passed up a jake because he saw a tom that he was after.  The other two hunters, Dorian Page and Owen Bush had close calls.


No word was received as to how the kids at the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club did.


The Lee and Cheshire youth turkey hunt programs are similar to that of the Stockbridge Club, but I doubt very much that they had the kind of delicious meal that Delgrande prepared.


As of midweek, MassWildlife only had harvest numbers on what had been reported online. Many check stations still issue physical seals so they aren’t able to obtain harvest numbers until they get information back from all the check stations statewide after the season closes.


Incidentally, readers may recall my March 5 column, ”NE Turkey Hunting Hall of Fame inductees announced”, wherein I mention that MassWildlife’s James Cardoza was one of the inductees for supervising the recovery of Massachusetts wild turkey.  Following that article, 90-year old Joe Robinson called me to tell the rest of the story.  Robinson, a former DFW Western District biologist, retired 35 years ago, but he remembered the turkey recovery effort quite well and related the following:


The real credit for reintroducing the turkeys back into Massachusetts belongs to the then DFW Western District Supervisor Winn Saville, and his staff including Frank Putnam, Ed Hover, Fred Bohlman and Joe.  “We were the pioneers”, he said.  “Members of the staff traveled to New York in the early 1970’s, got the birds and released them in Beartown State Forest.  We kept an eye on them to see how they were doing.  We built feeders for the turkeys and put bags of corn into them.  The deer got a lot of that corn.”  Joe said that the first turkeys migrated to the Great Barrington area along with their poults.  After some years of reintroducing them and their own self populating, the hunting season was opened 1980.


Fishing Derbies

The Berkshire Hatchery Foundation in Hartsville-New Marlborough is having a free children’s fishing derby next Saturday, May 13  from 9 to 10:30am at its lower pond.  Children aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.


Trout Stocking

The following waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout last week:  West and Middle Branches of the Westfield River in Becket, Chester, Huntington, Middlefield and Worthington; Littleville Reservoir in Chester and Huntington, Trout Brook in Peru, York Lake in New Marlborough, Otis Reservoir, Laurel Lake, Richmond Pond and Windsor Pond in Windsor.


Questions/comments:  Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com.   Phone:  (413) 637-1818


Front left to right; Curt Wilton III, Max Buffoni, Madison Gilmore, Nick Powers, Zack Lupioni  Back row left to right; Kadin Shafiroff, Brady Whalen, Matt Fletcher, Bailey Gilmore, Marco Buffoni, Nick Puntin, Darrin Cloran, Nate Smith.  Not in picture; Kade Groeber, Kevin Triono, John Field III, Myles Houle, Juliana Hektor, Briel Winters, Brett Smith.

Four honored at BCLS Conte Banquet


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.


Trout Stocking

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.


New England Turkey Hunting Hall of Fame inductees are announced

On January 28, Bass Pro Shops in Hooksett, New Hampshire, hosted the first New England Turkey Hunting Hall of Fame inductions, recognizing those who played pivotal roles in bringing wild turkeys back from extinction in New England.  Wild turkeys were extinct for about a century. Their return is an improbable story of long-dedicated, cooperative biologists helping each other spread the right wild stock back here. Once they figured out how to do that, wild turkeys naturally did the rest.

The New England Hall of Fame was the brainchild of two Massachusetts National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) chapter presidents: Keith Fritz of central Mass. and Kevin Antonovitch of Cape Cod.

These first Hall of Fame inductees came from all six New England states, and included the 10 giants of our region’s turkey conservation: Massachusetts’ James Cardoza and Jim Bolduc, New Hampshire’s Chip Page and Ted Walski, Vermont’s Doug Blodgett and Ron Lafreniere, Maine’s Jim Wescott and Gene Howard, Connecticut’s Steve Jackson and Rhode Island’s Jim Chadwick. All 10 received a decorative plaque along with a handsome, custom, curly-maple box call with their names, states and Hall of Fame credentials inscribed on the striker top.  If you hunt turkeys anywhere in New England, you owe thanks to one or more of these dedicated men.

I will highlight our Massachusetts inductees.  Beginning in 1969, Jim Cardoza supervised the recovery of Massachusetts’ extinct wild turkey. They originally were common everywhere in the state, except on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, but as a result of deforestation and overhunting, they were extirpated by the 1850’s.

In 1972-73, Cardoza’s team live-trapped 37 wild turkeys from southwestern New York and released them in Beartown State Forest in Monterey where they flourished.  In 1978, there were enough surplus birds for Cardoza to trap and release them to other areas within the state. Between 1979 and 1996, they released 561 birds in 10 counties.

As a result of Cardoza’s efforts, Massachusetts now has a population of about 25,000 wild turkeys.  Thanks to their success, we have both a spring and fall hunt, which produce a perennially sustainable harvest of about 3,000.  Cardoza wrote a book entitled, “The Wild Turkey in Massachusetts”, which is considered the definitive book on our wild turkeys.  It explains why they originally failed in their restoration attempts and how they finally succeeded.

Jim Bolduc was honored for being the first NWTF Massachusetts state chapter president.  Established in 1983, his was the first chapter established in year three of Massachusetts turkey hunting.  He contacted the NWTF about starting a chapter in Massachusetts and became the first Massachusetts Chapter president.  With help from his officers and board, he helped set the foundations for inspiring and educating our state’s sportsmen to support wild turkey restoration here.

Back then, less than a 100 hunters were chosen annually by lottery and restricted to hunting towns across a northwest strip of the state. The hunting territory included the northern Franklin and Berkshire County border towns where turkeys started spilling in from southern Vermont and Upstate New York.  Today, his chapter is one of six in the state; the others are Eastern Mass. (1986), Central Mass. (1996), Western Mass Longbeards (1996), Pioneer Valley Longbeards (1996), and Cranberry Country Longbeards (2000). It is anticipated that a seventh chapter, the Greylock Gobblers (Northern Berkshires), will come to fruition later this year.

Back at the time of their reintroduction, wild turkeys were found in pockets of western Massachusetts but they began to spread into the central part of the state with the assistance of aggressive MassWildlife stocking initiatives. Today there are turkeys statewide.

Without pioneers like Bolduc and Cardoza, who were leaders of the successful restoration program, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts alike would not have such easy access to what has since become our state game bird.


Much of the information for this article was gleaned from MassWildlife and articles written by Mark Blazis of the Worcester Telegram (“Getting to know wild turkey hunting’s hall of famers”, February 6, 2017) and from Gary Sanderson’s article in the Greenfield Recorder (“Colrain turkey hunter inaugural New England Hall of Famer”, February 14, 2017).


Staying with the subject of wild turkeys, the Massachusetts Young Adult Turkey Hunting Program is a partnership program between MassWildlife, the Massachusetts State Chapter of the NWTF, and participating sportsmen’s clubs. The program is designed to provide hunters ages 12-17 an opportunity to: (a) Participate in a field workshop that provides specialized training in turkey hunting and safety, including firearms instruction and practice; and (b) Hunt wild turkey under the supervision and guidance of a safe, experienced adult hunter serving as a mentor on a special day set aside just for young adults.

Information on this program can be obtained from the MassWildlife web page under the caption Education & Events.  The listing of local participating sportsmen’s clubs and schedules are listed there.


Incidentally, this year the Youth Turkey Hunt day is Saturday, April 22.



The Lee Sportsmen’s Association is beginning its spring turkey shoots next Sunday, March 12 from noon to 3pm and they will run until the Sunday before Easter.  Shoots cost $2 per shot and $3 for the money shoots.  If you prefer, you could win strip steaks, pork loins or spiral hams.


The Pittsfield Sportsmen’s Club is having a venison buffet next Saturday, March 11 at the ITAM Lodge, 22 Waubeek Rd, Pittsfield.  The proceeds will benefit its Land Development Fund.  Cocktails start at 5pm, dinner at 6pm.  There will be a 50/50 and assorted raffles.  Donation are $17 for adults and children under 10 years of age $8.50.  For tickets contact:  Stan Bushey (413) 841-8345, Travis Delratez (413) 441-7979, Dave Pemble (413) 443-0646, Rich Powers (413) 822-6581, Fran Tremblay (413)443-5133 and  Mike Furey (413) 822-1959.

2016 Black Bear harvest was a record


MassWildlife Furbearer and Black Bear Project Leader Dave Wattles recently reported that a new record of 283 bears were harvested over the three 2016 seasons. The previous record harvest of 240 bears occurred in 2014.

During the first (September) season, 190 bears were taken, 46 were taken in the second (November) season, and 47 were harvested during the shotgun deer hunting season. According to Western District Supervisor Andrew Madden, 205 bears were taken in the Western District with 94 in Berkshire County.  Some of the higher Western District  harvests occurred in the following towns: Blandford accounted for 17 of them, Granville 13 and Cummington 10.

Madden also reported that 93 wild turkeys were harvested statewide during the fall turkey hunting season.  Some 15 of them were harvested in the Western District.  Earlier this year, MassWildlife’s Wild Turkey Project Leader David Scarpitti reported that the statewide spring preliminary harvest figures indicated that 3,054 wild turkeys were taken   So it looks like about 3,147 wild turkeys were harvested this year.


No 2016 deer harvest figures have been released yet.


Remembering Peter Mirick

It was reported in a recent MassWildlife newsletter that Peter Mirick, retired editor of Massachusetts Wildlife magazine, avid sportsman and herpetologist, passed away in December from cancer. He began his career with MassWildlife in 1977 as a staff writer for the magazine and served as an assistant biologist before becoming the magazine editor in 1981.


During his time with the Division, he earned a Master’s Degree in Biology from Worcester State College. Pete was an avid herpetologist, conducting research on the endangered Black Rat Snake and assisting with projects related to other reptiles and amphibians. During his career, he was active with professional organizations including The Wildlife Society, New England Outdoor Writers Association, and the Association of Conservation Information. He received a number of awards for his writing and editing and was the lead editor of the “Trapping and Furbearer Management in North American Wildlife Conservation” publication, which is used by state conservation agencies across the country.


He also authored the recently published “Massachusetts Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles.  (An excellent book currently on sale at the DFW Western District Headquarters in Dalton, MA).


Pete was a strong believer in educating people, particularly youth, about wildlife conservation and was a passionate advocate for hunters, anglers, and trappers. He will be greatly missed by many, including the folks at MassWildlife, natural resource professionals, naturalists, and sportsmen and women.


Water Flowing at McLaughlin Fish Hatchery

In the same MassWildlife newsletter it was announced that last month officials turned on the water pipeline at the McLaughlin Fish Hatchery in Belchertown. Construction began in June 2016 on the nearly mile-long water pipeline and hydropower turbine that will supply six million gallons of water daily to the hatchery, produce renewable energy, and reduce the hatchery’s electric demand.

McLaughlin Hatchery, built in 1969, is located in Belchertown near the Swift River and is the largest of MassWildlife’s five trout hatcheries. This hatchery is responsible for half of the state’s entire annual trout production, approximately 225,000 pounds, with a “retail value” exceeding $2 million dollars. Fish raised at McLaughlin Hatchery are stocked in nearly 500 rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds throughout Massachusetts.

The water pipeline project taps water from the Chicopee Valley Aqueduct and provides the McLaughlin Trout Hatchery with a reliable, gravity-fed source of cold water, eliminating the environmental and biological risks associated with the water withdrawal from the Swift River. The result will be an energy cost savings of $60,000 per year. The project also includes installation of a hydropower turbine on the pipeline. The construction of the building for the hydropower generator is well underway and the hydropower generator has been delivered to the site. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) has received a grant to fully cover the cost of the hydropower unit which will generate almost $53,000 in annual revenue for the MWRA. As MassWildlife put it, “This project is a win – win scenario for the MWRA, the hatchery, and the Commonwealth”.

 Fly Fishing Show

The annual Fly Fishing Show will take place from January 20 through 222 at the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough, MA. There will be over 50 talks and demonstrations each day.  While there, you might shop for the newest tackle, book your next dream trip, watch tying and casting demos and learn from the experts.  I always pick up one or two autographed books and fly tying stuff while there


All the new rods, reels, fly tying materials, books, DVDs and latest equipment will be on display to test and purchase. There is a casting pond for casting demos and it is available to test your new rod.  Some of the celebrity authors this year include Gary Borger, Bob Clouser,  Ed Engle, Bob Popovics and many other flyfishing stars and they will be happy to autograph your books. There will be more than $60,000 in door prizes.


Show Hours are:  Friday:  10AM – 6PM, Saturday:  9AM – 5:30PM and Sunday:   9AM – 4:30PM.  Ticket costs:  One day $15, Two-day pass $25, Three-day pass $35, Children under 5 free, under 12: $2, Scouts under 16 in uniform: free and Active Military with ID: $10.   Click onto  flyfishingshow.com/Marlborough__MA.html for more details.


Every year I write this,  but it is true – for flyfishers/flytyers this is a must-attend event.


Truckload of goodies raffle

The Cheshire Rod & Gun Club Truckload of Goods raffle winners were:   Truckload – Cara Aherne of Pittsfield, 2nd – Derek Wells of Adams, 3rd – Joe Fuller of Lee 4th – Dave Harmon of Pittsfield, and 5th – C. Barrie of Pittsfield.  Now that’s a good way to start off the new year

2016 spring turkey harvest totals are tabulated

MassWildlife’s Wild Turkey Project Leader David Scarpitti reported that preliminary harvest figures indicate 3,054 wild turkeys were taken by licensed hunters during the 2016 spring hunting season. According to Scarpitti, this represents the second highest spring season wild turkey harvest since turkey hunting began in the Commonwealth in 1980.  The highest spring season harvest occurred in 2009 when 3,085 turkeys were harvested. This year, 83 turkeys were reported during the one-day youth season, and 2,971 turkeys were reported during the regular four-week season. Some 346 were harvested in Berkshire County and 577 in the Western District.

Above average brood production in 2015 was likely the biggest factor influencing the near record harvest. In addition, winter conditions in 2015-2016 were quite moderate compared to the previous two winters, which likely further enhanced juvenile turkey survival and recruitment.

The 2016 fall turkey season is October 24 through November 5 statewide (except Nantucket) and open to all hunters possessing a valid hunting or sporting license and a wild turkey hunting permit, provided they didn’t harvest their season limit of two in the spring. More turkey hunting information and regulations are posted on the Wild Turkey Hunting page.

August is the last month to participate in the Wild Turkey Brood Survey where all turkey sightings are listed, including jakes and toms. After August 31, completed forms should to be mailed to: Brood Survey, MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see many birds in June, but lately they came on like gangbusters and I am seeing large broods everywhere, some with very small poults for this time of year.

Antlerless Deer Hunting Permits

Hunters who applied for an Antlerless Deer Permit by the July 16 deadline must return to the MassFishHunt licensing system to try to win a permit. The Instant Award Period began on August 1 and continues through December 31. This is NOT a first-come first-served system.

Finding out if you won one is a bit complicated:

Log into the MassFishHunt system with your last name and customer ID, click the Enter Sales button, then click Accept in the Customer Electronic Signature dialog box, then choose Hunting Permits and Stamps from the main menu, then choose Add next to Antlerless Deer Permit, the zone for which you previously applied will appear on the next screen, then click Select to check whether you won a permit.

One of two messages will appear, either “Congratulations! You have been awarded an Antlerless Deer Permit and click check out to purchase it”, OR “Unfortunately you did not win”.

If you won, an Antlerless Deer Permit will be placed in the shopping cart, and you may proceed to check out to complete the $5.00 purchase. These permits will remain in your shopping cart until purchased or expired. Winners should print their permits upon completion of the transaction. All permits expire on December 31.

If you don’t have a computer, visit a MassWildlife office, or a license agent location.  Staff at these locations will help you.

Forest Tours

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) foresters will be leading pre-harvest forest tours of prepared timber sale areas, discussing forest management techniques, providing a view of the trees designated for harvest, and explaining how harvest operations will take place.  A detailed silviculture prescription for each harvesting operation will be provided to attendees.  These tours culminate a public process that included public meetings and a written comment period on each project.


The tours will be conducted rain or shine as indicated below.  Attendees are encouraged to dress for the weather and to wear sturdy shoes.  For additional information about the tours and DCR forest management on State Forests, Parks, and Reservations, please contact William Hill, Management Forestry Program Supervisor, at 413-545-3891.


Two tours are scheduled for the Berkshires as follows:


Pittsfield State Forest, August 16 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. DCR Forester Kevin Podkowka will lead a tour of the 97 acre planned timber sale in a northern hardwood forest.  Meet at the parking area in front of the gate, 1 mile south of Rt. 43 on Potter Mountain Road.  Potter Mountain Road is accessed by taking Rt. 20 west past Hancock Shaker Village to Lebanon Springs, NY.  From Rt. 20 in Lebanon Springs turn right and take Rt. 22 north to Stephentown, NY.  From Rt. 22 in Stephentown turn right and take Rt.43 east for approximately 2.8 miles and Potter Mountain Road will be on the right.  Follow Potter Mountain Road for approximately 1 mile south and the parking area will be on the left.


Sandisfield State Forest, August 17 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. DCR Forester Jeff Martin will lead a tour of the 75 acre planned timber sale in a northern red oak forest type.  Meet at the York Lake Day Use Area, from where tour attendees will carpool to the site.  The Day Use Area is .3 miles east from the intersection of Route 183, New Marlborough-Sandisfield Road and East Hill Road in New Marlborough.  The tour of the timber sale will require an approximate 20 minute non strenuous walk to reach the project area.


Basic Hunting Course

All first-time hunters who wish to purchase a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license must complete a Basic Hunter Education course. A course will be taught at the Becket Town Hall, at 557 Main Street, on September 12 and 14 from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, and on September 17 from 7:00am to 5:00pm.  Attendance is required at all classes.


Questions/comments:  Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com.   Phone:  (413) 637-1818.

Bateman derby nets $5,000 for Jimmy Fund


According to Steve Bateman, organizer of the 23rd annual Harry A. Bateman Memorial Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby, over 220 anglers registered for the event on Saturday, June 4 at the Onota Lake pavilion.  Thanks to them and the numerous sponsors, the derby realized its $5000 goal.    This derby has county-wide support with many sponsors digging deep into their pockets, possibly because so many people’s lives are touched by cancer these days. The weather that day couldn’t be nicer nor the food tastier. Here are the derby winners:

Children’s Heaviest Game Fish Category: 1st Place:  Jason Sweetser – rainbow trout – 2 lbs 5 oz, 2nd Place: Rebecca Stimpson – rainbow trout – 2 lbs 2 oz, 3rd Place:  Rose Proper – rainbow trout 2 lbs 2 oz.

Children’s Heaviest Non-Game Fish Category:  1st Place: Brody Baumgartner – white perch – 9 oz, 2nd Place: Marissa Wendling – bullhead – 9 oz, 3rd Place: Brandon Barde – pumpkinseed – 7 oz.


Adult Heaviest Game Fish Category:  1st Place: Alex Kent – Largemouth bass – 3 lbs 8 oz, 2nd Place: Steven Fones Sr. – Largemouth bass – 3 lbs 7 oz, 3rd Place Martin Farrell – Rainbow trout 2 lbs 7 oz.


Special Heaviest Fish:  Bass – Tim Lambert largemouth bass 3 lbs 9 oz, Perch/Crappie – Shaun Hereforth  – crappie 1 lb 3 oz, Carp – Matt Clark 11 lbs 1 oz common carp, Trout (adult) – Dave Christman – rainbow trout 2 lbs 10 oz, Trout (child) – Dylan Lambert – rainbow trout 2 lbs 6 oz.

The Sportsman Award, won by 13 year old Angel Sayers, was well deserved. According to Steve Bateman, she was out there all day fishing sometimes over her waist in water.

Dylan Lambert was the winner of the award dedicated in memory of Chris Porter,   Alex Kent was the winner of the award dedicated in memory of John and Thelma Drury.   All passed away in the last year or so.  Six kids won bicycles that day.


Report Wild Turkey Sightings Sportsmen and women, birders, landowners, and other wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to assist with the annual Wild Turkey Brood Survey. MassWildlife conducts a survey from June through August each year to evaluate turkey brood numbers. “The brood survey serves as a long-term index of reproduction,” explains Dave Scarpitti, Turkey Project Leader. “It helps us determine productivity and allows us to compare long-term reproductive success, while providing some estimation of fall harvest potential.”   Turkey nesting success can vary annually in response to weather conditions, predator populations, and habitat characteristics.


New this year, they are asking people to record observations of male turkeys, so be sure to count all jakes and tom turkeys that are seen.  Scarpitti also points out that citizen involvement in this survey is a cost-effective means of gathering useful data, and he encourages all interested people to participate.  A new turkey brood survey form is posted on the agency website. You are encouraged to look carefully when counting turkey broods as the very small poults may be difficult to see in tall grass or brush. Multiple sightings of the same brood can also be noted.


The survey period runs from June 1 – August 31. Completed forms should to be mailed to: Brood Survey, DFW Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.


New Bowhunting/Archery Workshops

Here in the Berkshires, there has been a need for bowhunting instructors for some time.  Well, MassWildlife is introducing two new archery programs: Explore Archery and Explore Bowhunting.   Educators from town recreation centers, school groups, 4-H, scouting groups, and other community groups looking to provide a new learning opportunity might consider implementing one, or both, of these new programs.

Explore Bowhunting is designed to help instructors teach outdoor skills to students age 11 and older. Using 23 versatile lessons and hands-on activities, students gain confidence interacting with the environment and strengthen their appreciation for wildlife and the woods. MassWildlife trains and certifies instructors and offers all Explore Bowhunting equipment for loan free of charge.

Explore Archery is an international style target shooting program that promotes a lifelong interest in the sport of archery to participants of all ages. Again, MassWildlife trains educators and allows them to borrow equipment free of charge. This allows any certified instructor the ability to create an archery program in their area.

Both programs have a mandatory training course and one can attend either training workshop or both. The local workshop will be held at MassWildlife Western District Office, 88 Old Windsor Road, Dalton on July 18.   The Explore Bowhunting workshop will start at 8:00 am and run until 1:00 pm.  The Explore Archery course will run from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

For more information about these workshops, check out the MassWildlife Explore Bowhunting and Explore Archery pages.


Are you encroaching on DFW’s Wildlife Management Areas?  If you are, better look out.  They have new tools for spotting encroachment and other illegal activity.  Using aerial photography, GIS surveys and official survey plan anchor points they can see exactly where their boundary lines are.  If you have a shed on their property or are mowing parts of it, etc., they will know and may come knocking at your door.


Don’t rely on obtaining ownership through adverse possession.   According to the DFW legal department, there is no adverse possession with state property.

Students release 500 trout into Windsor Lake



Last Friday the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen sponsored an elementary school trout stocking day at Windsor Lake in North Adams.  The participants included all of the 4th graders in North Adams including students from the Greylock, Brayton and Cole Avenue grammar schools.    MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Western (DFW) District Manager Andrew Madden and staff brought 500 beautiful, frisky rainbow trout to be liberated.


DFW staff netted a few trout at a time from the hatchery truck tank, placed them into 5 empty gallon buckets and one or two kids ran the buckets to the lake’s edge and tossed the fish out of the pails into the water.  Lofting those fish from a pail can be tricky and sometimes the fish, pail and everything went flying into the waters, as evidenced by the picture.   Some also landed on the ground, but DFW staff immediately picked them up and tossed them into the water unharmed. The kids did a great job and all 500 of the fish were released – shook up, but unharmed.  Even some teachers got into the act by running the buckets of fish to waterfront and releasing them, too.


In addition to DFW personnel, there were representatives from the County League, Adams Outdoor for Youth, Cheshire Rod & Gun Club, DCR, MA Angler’s Education, and others.  Environmental Police Officer Terry Davis was there to ensure that no anglers caught any of the fish in front of the kids while they were stocking.  After the stocking, the kids ate their lunches in the pavilion building


What a great day for the kids.  What better way for them to spend a school day connecting with nature, especially following a grueling week of exams.


Youth Turkey Hunt follow-up

Here are the names of the last week’s successful youth turkey hunters who were sponsored by the Lee Sportsmen’s Association:  Matt Fletcher, Curt Wilton III, Devon Atwell, Sam Harding, Kade Groeber and Miles Houle.


Incidentally, according to Astrid Huseby, who heads up this program for the DFW, 73 toms were checked in online statewide.  That doesn’t include any birds checked in at any physical check stations.  Congratulations to all the youth turkey hunters, the clubs that sponsored the programs and to the mentors.


Trout stockings

The following waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout last week:  Westfield River in Becket, Chester, Huntington, and Middlefield; Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida; Green River in Alford and Great Barrington, Farmington River in Otis and Sandisfield, Housatonic River in Lee (C/R) and Pittsfield (S/W), Green River in Williamstown, Hemlock Brook in Williamstown, Dry Brook and South Brook in Cheshire, Wahconah Falls Brook in Dalton, Town Brook in Lanesborough, Ashfield Pond, Greenwater Pond, Pontoosuc Lake, Laurel Lake, Lake Buel, Garfield Lake, Otis Reservoir, Richmond Pond Stockbridge Bowl and Windsor Pond.


Fishing Derbies

The Berkshire Hatchery Foundation in Hartsville-New Marlborough is having a free children’s fishing derby next Saturday, May 14  from 9 to 10:30am at its lower pond.  Children aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.


The Onota Fishing Club is having a Trout Derby at the Controy Pavilion at Burbank Park on Onota Lake next Sunday, May 15, from 6am to 1pm.  The entrance fee is $10 with kids 12 years and under free.  There will be a 50/50 raffle, prizes for kids, and a cash prize for the biggest fish.  A fish fry will follow which is included with the paid entry, including hot dogs and hamburgers.  The cost is $10 for non entry.


Wildlife Walk

Next Saturday, May 14, there will be a Western Mass Woodlands for Wildlife Walk at Haskell Farm in Peru, MA.  You are invited to join MassWildlife’s Habitat Biologist, Marianne Piché, and others for an easy field walk and discussion to highlight forestry and habitat management work done on the Haskell Farm. You will be able to hear songbirds as you tour young forests and grasslands that provide critical food and shelter for birds and other wildlife. Mass Audubon, MA DCR’s Service Forester, and Steve Hayes consulting forester will be on hand to share information about why certain wildlife species are declining, forest management practices that enhance wildlife habitat, and new cost share programs available to help you manage your woods for wildlife. Free and open to all, pre-registration is requested.  Call (413)625-9151 or email melissa@masswoodlands.com for more information, directions, or to register.


Bass Information

Tournament bass fishermen can help MassWildlife collect information on trophy bass by submitting bass creel survey forms.  Data such as how long it takes to catch a bass, average weight and the number of trophy bass landed allows biologists to track trends in individual waters.  A copy of the data you submit will be sent to your e-mail address. If you prefer to report your Creel Survey in paper format and mail or fax it to the DFW Field Headquarters address on the bottom of the form.


Questions/comments:  Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com.   Phone:  (413) 637-1818



Young turkey hunters experience mild weather, successful hunts

Along with their mentors, youths took to the woods in the wee morning hours last Saturday morning taking advantage of the special Youth Turkey Hunting day.   The early morning weather couldn’t have been better and lots of gobblers were seen by most. Rick Gale was responsible for teaching the class and organizing the hunts for the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club.   Eleven kids participated with five of them bagging gobblers.   Three others had shot opportunities but didn’t connect.  Successful hunters were 13 year old Grace Krzanik who was mentored by her father Scott.  This was her 3rd season hunting and 1st tom.  She took it at 23 yards and it weighed 19 lbs.  14 year old Bryant Martin, who was mentored by Bill Adelt,  took a 20 lb 12oz tom at 30 yards.  Both were one shot kills. Other successful hunters were Mia Gale, Lucas Jamros and Paolo Kareh, but they did not return to the club after their hunt. At the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club, spokesman Mike Buffoni reported that 18 youths went out and 6 of them got gobblers.  All of them saw plenty of turkeys and had a great day.  The largest tom, weighing in at 21 lbs, was taken by Matthew Fletcher of Lenox.   (Sorry, I was unable to get the names of the other successful hunters.)  Buffoni reported that there were a lot of big toms around this year due to the non-existent winter.

At the Lee Sportsmen’s Association, spokesman Matt Ranzoni reported that 6 youths participated and three of them were successful.  The lucky hunters were Owen Bush, Hunter Briggs and Donovan Caccomo.  (Donovan came all the way from Milton, NY to participate.)  All three birds were jakes.  The other hunters also came close to bagging their birds.   It is interesting to note that some of this year’s mentors participated in the Youth Turkey Hunt when they were kids and they are now passing on their knowledge to younger hunters.  Such was the case with Sam Polastri.  He was mentored by his dad John and now that he has turned 18, he was mentoring his younger friend Matt LeProvost this year.

After the hunts, each club provided tasty lunches.  Incidentally, the regular spring turkey hunting season opened the following Monday and runs until May 21.  Turkey hunting is one of the most dangerous types of hunting.  Unfortunately, we had an accidental shooting last week in Williamstown.  If you have youngsters interested in taking up this sport, I strongly urge that you to get them enrolled into next year’s Youth Turkey Hunt program. If you plan  to be a mentor, you might listen in yourself.  Check out the MassWildlife web site to find out which local clubs are involved, how the program works and how to enroll. izes are given away to the winners of the fishing derby 8 trophies for the Children 4 trophies for Adults & 3 trophies that can be won by adults or children, there is even a special category for those fishing with a bow & arrow. All fish must be weighed in at 12:00 p.m. and can be caught at Onota Lake from a boat or the shore. * SCALE WILL BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY AFTER 12:00 Pm. * Fishing tackle is given with the trophy prizes & 2 prizes for heaviest trout. A sportsman award is given out to a child which includes a tackle box with over $100 of tackle. Fee is $10 Adults $5 for Children 14 years old and younger. Fee includes Food & Beverages. All children receive a free gift and a children 5-14 years old a chance at winning a Mountain Bike boys girls. The carp shoot is part of the Fishing derby because that was something that Harry enjoyed. Food and beverages are provided to all entrants. Hamburg’s hotdogs, coffee, doughnuts, soda. No alcohol is served at this event. Advanced tickets may be purchased at Avid Sports, Dave’s Sporting Goods, Maces Marine & Onota Boat Livery. Everyone still needs to register before all fish can be weighed in

Trout stockings

The following waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout last week:  Westfield River in Chester, Chesterfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Russell, and Worthington; Housatonic River in Hinsdale and Dalton, Hop Brook in Tyringham and Lee, Pelham Brook in Charlemont and Rowe, Sackett Brook in Dalton and Pittsfield, Farmington River in Otis and Sandisfield, Hudson Brook in Clarksburg, Kinderhook Creek in Hancock, Bennett Brook in Hinsdale, Yokun Brook in Lenox, Dunbar Brook in Monroe, Trout Brook in Peru, Windsor and Westfield Brooks in Windsor, Norwich Pond and Littleville Lake in Huntington, Goose Pond, Windsor Lake in North Adams, Big Pond in Otis, Onota Lake, Pelham Lake in Rowe, and Stockbridge Bowl.


Pistol shooting

The Lee Sportsmen’s Association will stage a steel fun match at the club on Thursday, May 5, starting at 5:30 pm.  Rim fire and center fire pistols only, 9mm to .45. No Magnums. Steel is 5 consecutive rounds, so it works best if you have 5 magazines that you can change one right after another.  But if you don’t, they can accommodate by having a person reload.  Match cost is $7.


Also at the Lee club, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is having a mandatory orientation for new shooters on May 7 at 10am prior to its scheduled match.  The match cost is $15, with sign-up by 12pm.  There will be a safety briefing at 12:45pm.  First shot at 1pm.  Cold Range Rules apply, six stages, bring 150 rounds.  There will be a classifier after the Match for an additional cost of $15.00.   For more information on both of the above events, contact Shawn Sullivan at ssullee@icloud.com.

Ducks Unlimited Banquet

The Berkshire Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will be having its annual banquet at the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club on Saturday, May 14 from 5 to 9 PM.  There will be general raffle prizes, a silent and live auction.   Proceeds will be used to support wetlands conservation.   Tickets cost $40 and can be obtained from Joe Delsoldato at 413-717-0983 or from JP Murphy at 413-822-3915 or from Dave’s Sporting Goods in Pittsfield.


Massachusetts spring trout stocking has begun

Due to the mild winter and apparent early spring, Mass DFW has already begun trout stocking. According to DFW Western District Manager Andrew Madden, they stock 25 lakes and ponds and 54 rivers and streams throughout all regions of the District.   Madden cautions that stocked waters are subject to change based on water body conditions, staffing, and stocking trucks functioning.

On Friday, March 7, they stocked Onota Lake in Pittsfield and Stockbridge Bowl in Stockbridge. The following waters were scheduled to be stocked last week:   Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida; Laurel Lake in Lee, Lake Garfield and Lake Buel in Monterey, West Branch of the Farmington River in Otis and Sandisfield, Pontoosuc Lake in Pittsfield and Richmond Pond in Richmond.

As in past years, I hope to get the trout stocking information to you as soon as possible. Many thanks to Andrew Madden and receptionist Deb Lipa for taking on the extra work of getting that information to me in time to include it in this column. The stocking schedule is also updated on the MassWildlife web page every Friday by noon.

Here’s a little tidbit of information that I picked up from the MassWildlife Facebook page. The question was asked if there is any success of naturally spawning trout from stocking, or does the current infrastructure require annual stocking. The answer received from MassWildlife was, “Our stocking program is meant to provide trout fishing opportunities for anglers–we’re not trying to get trout to reproduce.” *****

The Massachusetts Young Adult Turkey Hunting Program is a partnership program between MassWildlife, participating sportsmen’s clubs, and the Massachusetts State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The Young Adult Turkey Hunt Day this year will be April 23.

Hunter safety is emphasized in all aspects of the program to help build the confidence of young hunters so they may feel comfortable hunting alone or with others in the field. This program is more than just a day in the field hunting turkey; it is a comprehensive recreational program that includes two parts: a pre-hunt workshop and a one-day mentored hunt.

Western District participating clubs are: East Mountain Sportsmen Club, Cheshire Rod & Gun Club, Lee Sportsmen’s Club, Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club and Worthington Rod and Gun Club. *****

Only 11 coyotes were entered into Dave’s Sporting Goods Coyote Contest this year, and the winners were as follows:  Once again, Carl Dolle of North Adams bagged the most coyotes with a tally of 7.   Dave Willette of Williamstown got the heaviest one which weighed 47.6 lbs., and   Samantha Trybus of Lanesborough won the random raffle.


You may be familiar with all of these names.  Last year, Dolle bagged the most coyotes with a tally of 22.  He also got the largest one last year weighing 46.8 lbs.  He bagged the largest coyote in the prior year, one weighing 50 lbs.  In the 2013 contest, Carl got the most coyotes with a tally of 24, and in 2012, he bagged the most coyotes with a tally of 16.    Willette, the author of the book “Coyote Wars”, has also bagged some 40+ lb coyotes in the past.  Trybus was featured in this column on March 23, 2014.   You may remember her picture kneeling next to three coyotes that she bagged.


Dave “DJ” Benham, proprietor of Dave’s Sporting Goods, commented that coyotes don’t get much bigger that what Dolle has been bagging.  On average, he said, they have been running between 30 and 37 lbs.   Out of about 1,000 coyotes that have been checked in at his store over the years, only two weighed 50 lbs or more.*****

The Lee Sportsmen’s Association will be conducting a NRA basic pistol course on March 26 from 5:30 to 9: 30pm.  This is the new blended learning course.  Sign up at the NRA at www.nraonlinetraining.org, NRA Basic Pistol Shooting.  The NRA charges a fee.  In this course participants will learn the attitude, skills and knowledge necessary to become a responsible gun owner in your home, on your time line.  The cost is $100.00 and LSA members get a discount.


Once you complete the online learning, sign up through the NRA website for its course on the range with instructors.  The course includes handling, range live and dry firing, cleaning, opportunities to shoot in different venues, and the current MA gun laws.  Upon successful completion, participants will receive a MA State Police Certificate for application for a License  To Carry. New candidates get a year membership included.   Call Vicki 413-770-9007 or lady45white@gmail.com for more information.  *****


So you have your FID card.  Do you want to learn how to shoot a shotgun?  The Lee Sportsmen’s Association will be running a one day course entitled Shotgun 101 for beginners on April 10 from 10am to 2:30 pm.  It will take you from the classroom learning about various types of shotguns, operation and components, to live shooting on their field in trap and skeet.   Limited spots are open.  The cost is $35 for LSA members and $45 for non-members.  Shotgun instructors will be Ken Pixley and John Ballard.  To register, call 413-770-9007. *****

MassWildlife caution us that black bears are starting to emerge from their winter dens. If you live in an area with bears, it’s time to take bird feeders down. Eliminating food is the first step in preventing conflicts with bears and other wildlife. Please remember the old saying which goes “A fed bear is a dead bear.”  Nothing good can come from a situation where a bear loses its fear of humans and seeks food in our neighborhoods.  To learn how to prevent conflicts with bears, click onto the MassWildlife web page.