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July 24, 2007
- BATS IN THE BELFRY
- CHICKS ARE BANDED
- ARCHERY AND PRIMITIVE FIREARMS STAMP ART WINNERS SELECTED
- NEW HUNTERS! SIGN UP NOW FOR COURSES
- ANTLERLESS DEER PERMIT DRAWING EVENT JULY 31
- MUZZLELOADERS PERMITTED FOR QUABBIN HUNT
- NEWS & NOTES - Help Count Turkey Families!, Young Adult Pheasant Hunt Reminder, Public Meetings, Calendar of Events
BATS IN THE BELFRY
With summer's hot, humid weather, some Bay State homeowners may discover
bats residing in their home! Attics are the most common portion of a
house in which bats roost and raise their young. After a few hot summer
days, an attic may become too warm for the bats, forcing them out and
sometimes into people's living quarters as they search for cooler places
to roost. Inexperienced young bats may fall down a chimney, fly in open
windows or down attic stairs. What's a homeowner to do? Fortunately,
a single bat flying in a room can usually be dealt with quite easily.
Open an outside window or door in the room containing the bat and close
off the rest of the room from the house. It's usually only a matter
of a few minutes of circling before the bat locates the open window
and leaves the house. Bats do not attack people or fly into people's
If a bat has landed, it can be assisted out of a house in several ways.
For a bat on a curtain, place a jar, coffee can or small box over the
bat, carefully working the animal into the container, and cover it.
A bat on the floor can be covered with a towel. Another method is to
put on leather gloves and simply pick up the bat and release it outdoors-don't
use cotton gloves or handle a bat with bare hands. Whatever method is
used, don't worry when the bat squeaks loudly when handled. Take the
bat outdoors and release it. If anyone has had direct contact with a
bat or if a bat is found in a room with a sleeping person, the bat should
be safely captured and not released. Contact local health officials
for assistance in evaluating potential rabies risk and submitting the
bat to the Department of Public Health for rabies testing.
Little Brown Bats and Big Brown Bats are the most likely species to
be found in buildings. In some cases, with small numbers of bats, people
don't mind their presence and concentrate on blocking holes and cracks
leading into the human living quarters. Where there is a large colony
in house walls, biologists recommend that homeowners wait to initiate
eviction proceedings until the first week of August through November.
Waiting to evict the colony allows time for young bats to mature and
leave the house on their own.
Learn how to evict bats safely or live with them using "A Homeowner's
Guide to Bats" booklet available from MassWildlife. This publication
contains tips on handling a bat in the house, designs for one-way doors,
bat house plans, and a key to identifying the nine bat species in Massachusetts.
The booklet is posted in the Wildlife area of the agency website and
is also available in hard copy at MassWildlife offices. To receive a
hard copy of the booklet by mail, send a business sized, self-addressed,
82 cent stamped envelope to: Bat Booklet, MassWildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill
Rd, Westboro, MA 01581. Homeowners who wish to hire someone to evict
a bat colony can find a list of licensed Problem Animal Control agents
in the Wildlife area of MassWildlife's website.
CHICKS ARE BANDED
The Bay State's resident Bald eagles and Peregrine falcons were the focus of a banding effort by MassWildlife biologists during the months of May and June. Dr. Tom French, Assistant Director of MassWildlife's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, reported a total of 25 peregrine falcon chicks at 11 nests. "Peregrine nests are popping up everywhere with a total of 14 nesting pairs of falcons in the Bay State," said French, "For the first time since the 1950's, a historic nesting site on Mt. Tom in Holyoke was occupied by a pair of falcons and produced one chick. Another new nest was discovered in a Saugus quarry." Other nest locations include Boston, hosting four peregrine nesting sites, while Worcester, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Deerfield, Amherst and Springfield each host one nest.
Ralph Taylor, supervisor of MassWildlife's Connecticut Valley District office in Belchertown, spearheaded efforts to band chicks at known eagle nests in the state. Taylor and crew, with assistance from their colleagues in the Southeast, Central, Northeast and Western Districts, visited known or suspected nesting territories from Middleborough to Sandisfield, to the Merrimack River as well as the "core" population on Quabbin Reservoir and the Connecticut River. Of 34 eagle nesting territories, 30 were successful, producing a total of 32 eaglets, 27 of which were banded. One nest tree was not safe to climb. Eagle nesting highlights included the discovery of new nests in Pittsfield, Quabbin and Northfield. Several other nests in the state failed to produce checks due to a variety of factors.
The banning of DDT in 1972 and subsequent restoration efforts brought
the peregrine and bald eagle back from the brink of extinction in Massachusetts
and across the country. Banding of the young has proven to be an important
scientific tool in measuring the success of restoration programs, learning
about raptor survival rates, dispersal distances, habitat preferences
and causes of death. The peregrine falcon was removed from the federal
Endangered Species list in 1999. Federally downlisted from Endangered
to Threatened status in 1995, the American Bald Eagle will be delisted
at the end of July by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a tribute
to the restoration efforts from states like Massachusetts.
ARCHERY AND PRIMITIVE FIREARMS STAMP WINNERS SELECTED
Winners of the 2008 Archery and Primitive Firearms Stamps were selected and for the first time in three years both winners reside in Massachusetts. Both are also self taught artists. In 2006, the archery and primitive firearms stamps were created with separate images. This concept was so well received that the agency has decided to continue to use two different images for these stamps. The 2008 Archery Stamp will feature an acrylic of a buck and doe in silhouette by Paul Michetti of Nantucket. A colored pencil image depicting a blackpowder hunter sighting a buck by Leo Ross of Ashby was selected for the Primitive Firearms Stamp. The stamp competition was judged in mid-July at MassWildlife's Field Headquarters in Westborough. Both images will be reproduced on the state's 2008 archery and primitive firearms stamps.
All deer hunters who hunt in the archery and blackpowder hunting seasons are required to purchase the stamps. Increasingly, these stamps are also being sought by philatelists and other collectors of wildlife art. The annual sale of archery stamps and primitive firearms stamps generates over $250,000 for wildlife research, management and restoration in the Commonwealth. The 2008 stamps will go on sale in early December at hunting and fishing license outlets throughout the state.
An active bowhunter and Nantucket native, Paul Michetti is a carpenter by trade who loves to draw and paint as a hobby. No stranger to the Archery/Primitive Firearms contest, Michetti has also entered the Massachusetts Waterfowl Art Stamp Program. His original artwork and prints are on sale in various island shops. He paints Nantucket scenes, wildlife and portraits of dogs. His art may be viewed on his website at: www.michettiart.com.
Muzzleloader stamp winner and sportsman Leo Ross read about the art
competition in the MassWildlife Newsletter and decided to submit an
entry. He has never participated in any art competitions and was extremely
surprised to learn his artwork was selected. As a youngster in New York,
Ross wanted to develop his art skills and applied to the NYC High School
of Music and Art but was unable to attend. A retired tool and die maker,
Ross began drawing and carving wildlife. Ross has taken a few classes
in acrylic painting but loves pencil work.
NEW HUNTERS! SIGN UP NOW FOR COURSES
New hunters of all ages are reminded that it is never too early to sign up for a Basic Hunter Education Course. New hunters in Massachusetts are required to show proof that they have taken a basic hunter education course in order to purchase a hunting or sporting license. Basic courses are available across the state and many begin in August and September.
"Many people fail to consider enrolling in a course until the weather turns cool in late September," says Susan Langlois, MassWildlife Hunter Education Administrator. "Unfortunately, most courses have either begun or are full by then and the opportunity to hunt during the fall may disappear." Langlois points out that courses are scheduled through much of the calendar year, including the summer, but most are offered in the spring and early fall. Basic hunter education courses average 15 hours in length and are taught by volunteer instructors. The course is usually scheduled over five or six weekday evenings. Some courses are conducted on weekends. Students must attend all scheduled sessions as part of the requirement for passing the course. All instruction and class materials are provided at no charge to the student. Funding is derived from the sale of hunting and sporting licenses, and from federal excise taxes on firearms and archery equipment.
"Today's hunters are better educated than ever before," said
Langlois. "Completion of the Massachusetts' Hunter Education program
coupled with mandatory use of blaze-orange clothing contributes to the
reduction of hunting related firearms incidents in the field."
Massachusetts offered its first hunter safety course in 1954, and to date has graduated more than 165,000 students. Topics covered during the course include safe handling and storage of hunting arms and ammunition, hunting laws and ethics, wildlife identification, wildlife management, care and handling of game, basic survival skills and first aid. Students who successfully pass the course receive a Certificate of Completion that is accepted for purchasing a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license and for people 15 or older making application for a Firearms Identification Card with their local police departments. The certificates are also accepted in all states and Canadian provinces for the purchase of a hunting license.
Information on course
locations and schedules is posted on the MassWildlife website. Graduates
who have lost their Certificates may obtain a Duplicate
Certificate from the Hunter Education Program through the MassWildlife
website or by contacting the office directly at 978/632-7648.
ANTLERLESS DEER PERMIT DRAWING, JULY 31
Massachusetts deer hunters and other conservation minded families are invited to attend this popular event at the US Fish & Wildlife Service Regional Office at 300 Westgate Center Drive (at the junction of Rte 9 and 116) in Hadley on Tuesday, July 31 at 4 PM. It will include a Deer Management presentation by MassWildlife's Assistant Director of Wildlife, Tom O'Shea; followed by the Antlerless Deer Permit Drawing. Hunting seasons, bag limits, and antlerless deer permit allocations are established to achieve population goal densities set by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board. The presentation will explain how these elements are integrated to manage deer populations in Massachusetts. Traditionally, the permit drawing occurs in an area where there are limited numbers of antlerless deer permits. Questions, comments and feedback from sportsmen and women as well as other interested citizens are encouraged. 42,500 permits are allocated for licensed hunters this year.
MUZZLELOADERS PERMITTED FOR QUABBIN HUNT
For the first time, permitted hunters will be allowed to use muzzleloaders for the Quabbin Deer Hunt. However, all hunters must possess a valid Firearms Identification Card in order to participate in the hunt. Applications and information about the 2007 Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt are now available through the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) web page. All applications must be postmarked by August 15th or hand delivered to the Quabbin Visitor's Center by 4:00 PM on that date to qualify for the permit selection process.
Hunters may also obtain hard copy applications at DCR administrative offices at the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs, the Division of Water Supply Protection office at DCR headquarters, 251 Causeway Street in Boston, and DCR Quabbin Field Offices in New Salem and Oakham. MassWildlife will provide applications from their headquarters at 251 Causeway St. in Boston, field office in Westboro, and District offices in Acton, Belchertown, Bourne, Pittsfield and West Boylston. Hunters may also obtain applications through the mail by sending a self-addressed, stamped, business sized envelope to: Quabbin Visitor Center, 485 Ware Road, Belchertown, MA. 01007.
The 2007 Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt will occur during the statewide deer shotgun season in the Hardwick, New Salem, Pelham, and Prescott sections of the Quabbin Reservation. Each of the four areas will have one, two-day segment: Pelham and Hardwick on Nov. 29 and 30, and New Salem and Prescott on Dec. 6 and 7.
Approximately 1,100 permits will be drawn based upon hunter's license
numbers in a on September 15th. All successful applicants will receive
written notification from the DCR by late September. For further information,
contact the Quabbin Visitor's Center at 413/323-7221.
NEWS & NOTES
- Help Count Turkey Families - From now until August 31, interested citizens are encouraged to report any sightings of turkey families observed. A form to report this information may be found on the MassWildlife website.
Young Adult Pheasant Hunt Reminder - Young women and men ages 12-17 years old interested in pheasant hunting and who are successful graduates from a Basic Hunter Education course should contact sportsmen's clubs offering the Young Adult Pheasant Hunt Program. The Young Adult Pheasant Hunt Program was developed by MassWildlife to provide an opportunity for young adults to practice firearms safety, develop shooting skills, and participate in a special pheasant hunt with a safe, experienced hunter in a friendly environment. The program is run by participating sportsmen's clubs in the following towns: Ashburnham, Ashfield, Carver, Concord, Danvers, Deerfield, Falmouth, Harvard, Hopkinton, Lee, Middleton, Millis, Oxford, Princeton, Sturbridge, Williamstown, and Worthington. More details on the YAP,are available in the Education area of MassWildlife's website.
- Public Meetings--Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting,
Hadley - The July meeting of the Fisheries & Wildlife Board
will be held on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 1:00 p.m.at the U.S. Fish
& Wildlife Service Regional Office, 300 Westgate Drive at the
junction of Rtes 116 and Rte 9. The Antlerless Deer Permit Drawing
will take place at the same location at 4PM.
The next meeting of the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee will be on Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 1:30 PM at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters in Westborough. There is no meeting scheduled in August.
All meetings are handicapped accessible and open to the public.
- CALENDAR OF EVENTS -- For a complete listing, visit the MassWildlife Calendar.
- July 28 -- Beavers in the Connecticut River Valley, Amherst - The Notchview Visitor's Center at Mt. Holyoke State Park will host a presentation about beavers by MassWildlife Biologist Trina Moruzzi. Find out more about this semi-aquatic furbearer, its life history and how to live with them. This program is open to all and will begin at 6PM. For more information, contact the Visitor's Center at 413/586-0350.
- July 28 -- Houghton's Pond Family Fishing Festival, Canton
- This event is designed to introduce curious or beginning anglers
of all ages who have an interest in learning about fishing. On the
shores of Houghton's Pond, cast a line, learn about fish in our waters,
safety, ethics, and fishing equipment. No equipment (or fishing license)
is needed, but if you have your own, bring it along! 10 AM - 2:30
PM. The Festival is organized in cooperation with the Department
of Conservation and Recreation's Blue Hills Reservation. MassWildlife
volunteers will be on hand to assist. For more information, contact
Marie Feely at 781/340-6976.