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August 20, 2007
- STATE FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT PROTECTION TOPS 4,000 ACRES
- EARLY GOOSE SEASON DATES SET
- PERMIT UPDATES: ANTLERLESS DEER AND BEAR
- COME TO THE 11th MASSACHUESETTS OUTDOOR EXPO FOR FAMILIES!
- IN MEMORIAM-RAYMOND WHITAKER
- CONWAY HABITAT MANAGEMENT PARTNERSHIP EVENT, SEPT 7
- PUBLIC MEETINGS AND HEARING
- CALENDAR OF EVENTS
STATE FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT PROTECTION TOPS 4,000 ACRES
Over 4,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat were protected for wildlife and the public by MassWildlife in the past fiscal year (July 1, 2006 - June 30, 2007). Key wildlife habitat was protected through the efforts of MassWildlife and the Department of Fish and Game in 35 towns. Properties ranged from.1 of an acre to in Wareham to 400 acres in Leyden. These lands will be added to the list over 160,000 acres currently under the care and control of MassWildlife, most of which are Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). Most properties were purchased outright (in fee) but, on some properties, the agency purchased conservation easements (development rights), leaving the land held by the original landowner. A listing of the newly acquired FY 2007 properties by town can be found on the MassWildlife website. All lands are open to fishing, hunting, trapping, wildlife observation, boating, hiking and other passive wildlife related recreation.
MassWildlife's land acquisition program's primary mission is to protect the ecological integrity of the Commonwealth. The agency seeks to assure biological diversity by acquiring the most important fish and wildlife habitat and natural communities and to provide public access to the lands and waters of the Commonwealth. State WMAs include river corridors, wetlands, various type of forested upland, habitat for state listed endangered and threatened species and species of special concern, and high quality examples of other important habitat types. MassWildlife's holdings stretch from the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands. Maps for many WMAs are posted on the agency website. Boating and fishing access ramp information.
Support for the land acquisition program comes from several sources. The primary funding mechanism is the Commonwealth's open space bond authorization. Fishing, hunting and trapping license buyers contribute a $5 fee to the Wildlands Fund for wildlife habitat acquisition as an additional revenue source. Some individuals and organizations make direct donations to the Wildlands Fund. A significant amount of funding is also leveraged or received through non-profit conservation organizations. "Gifts or acreage acquired at no cost to MassWildlife were a major part of this year's habitat protection efforts," said Bill Minior, MassWildlife's Realty Chief. "With the assistance of the environmental community, over 1,149 acres of habitat were protected, amounting to nearly one third of the year's total habitat protection effort." The Massachusetts Land Conservation Trust gifted property while the Grafton Land Trust, Metacomet Land Trust and Essex County Greenbelt Association gifted conservation easements to MassWildlife. The Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust acquired 2 properties and subsequently transferred them to MassWildlife. Other groups provided assistance with surveys, title searches, negotiations, and other administrative support activities.
EARLY GOOSE SEASON DATES SET
The early Canada goose hunting season dates are September 4 - September
25, 2007 with hunters allowed a bag limit of 5 birds per day. Hunting
hours begin one half hour before sunrise to sunset. "Data collected
from agency goose banding activities this summer indicate the early
goose hunting seasons have kept populations stable in the central and
western parts of the state," commented MassWildlife's Waterfowl
Project Leader H Heusmann. "In the eastern part of the state where
there are more restrictions on hunting activities, goose flocks continue
to grow." The early season provides goose hunters with ample hunting
and landowners to allow hunters to reduce the size of nuisance flocks
of resident geese. Waterfowlers are reminded that state
and federal waterfowl stamps are required for hunting waterfowl.
Hunters planning to hunt ducks, geese, woodcock and other migratory
birds must also be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP)
after purchasing a hunting license. This free registration number may
be obtained by calling 1-800-WETLAND. Other migratory bird season dates
and bag limits will be set by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board immediately
following a public
hearing on August 30 at 7 PM at the VFW Post 448, 36 Linden St in
PERMIT UPDATES: ANTLERLESS DEER AND BEAR
Antlerless deer permit notification cards were mailed to deer hunters in mid-August. All applicants selected for their Wildlife Management Zone (WMZ) of choice were notified of their permit with a brown postcard. To ensure receipt of the permit by archery season, the postcard and $5 fee must be returned by September 3rd to: "Deer Permit" MassWildlife FHQ, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.
Applicants not selected for their WMZ of choice were sent blue postcards in mid-August to allow applicants to re-apply in WMZs where permit allocations exceeded applications. New for this year, re-applicants may circle and rank up to 3 choices for Wildlife Management Zones. Due to a limited number of permits available in certain WMZs, re-applicants should send in their postcards as soon as possible since re-applicant requests will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. As of August 20, WMZ 3 and 8 have already sold out through the re-applicant process.
The final opportunity for obtaining an antlerless deer permit, or acquiring additional permits, will occur October 9 when remaining permits will be available for sales over-the-counter. Specific information on WMZ availability will be posted on the agency website in late September. Each antlerless deer permit will come with an antlerless deer tag, increasing the hunter's bag limit for antlerless deer by the number of permits possessed. More details on antlerless deer permits are posted as a link on the front page of the agency website.
Bear hunters who applied for a permit should have received their permits
in the mail. Bear hunters who applied for a permit but have not yet
received the permit should contact MassWildlife Permit Specialist, Lori
Cookman at 508/389-6339. Bear permit applications, which are on paper
hunting and sporting licenses and also available on line for internet
license buyers, may still be mailed in with the $5 fee. At the end of
August, bear permits will issued for walk-ins at the MassWildlife
Westborough Field Headquarters or MassWildlife District offices. The
Southeast District Office in Bourne will not be issuing permits.
COME TO THE 11th MASSACHUSETTS OUTDOOR EXPO FOR FAMILIES!
Families, friends, Scouts and other youth groups should mark their calendars for September 30 and join the fun at the 11th annual Massachusetts Outdoor Expo (Big MOE) from 9AM - 4:30 PM held at the Hamilton Rod and Gun Club grounds, off New Boston Road, in Sturbridge. The Big MOE, sponsored by Facts About Wildlife and Nature Society (FAWNS), is a free, family oriented event celebrating Outdoor Skills, Nature, Art & Animals. This all day family event is free thanks to co-sponsors including MassWildlife, Hamilton Rod and Gun Club, The Weatherby Foundation and a new media sponsor, 100 FM The Pike (WWFX, Worcester). A number of sportsmens clubs, locally based outdoor related businesses, and other conservation groups sponsor a variety of skills stations, craft tables and other exhibits relating to wildlife and the outdoors. The "Big MOE" is the perfect opportunity to introduce young and old to outdoor skills and activities.
New activities and exhibits this year include: Map and Compass Skills, Chainsaw Wood Sculpture Demonstration, Eating Healthy with Wild Game, Take a Hike, and Boulder Climbing for Young People. Visit the information booths from the Worcester and Hampden County Leagues of Sportsmen, New England Freshwater Guides and the Western Massachusetts DSS Foster Parent Recruitment Office.
As in the past, impressive live birds of prey, snakes and turtles will be on display. There are opportunities to scale a rock climbing wall, paddle a kayak or get your face painted! Try your hand at tomahawk throwing, fishing, building a bird house, wildlife crafts, or testing marksmanship skills on the airgun, rifle, shotgun or archery target ranges under safe and expert supervision. Observe Taxidermy and Jr. Olympic Air Gun demonstrations and visit a New England Pioneer Encampment. Offerings from MassWildlife include: Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp drawing competition, forestry skills and fishing with the Angler Education Program. There is something at the Big MOE for the whole family! Admission and parking are free.
The Big MOE is also in need of enthusiastic, outdoor oriented volunteers
willing to assist at several skills stations or to host a skill station.
There is a specific need for assistance at the wildlife and nature crafts,
the bird box building and the safe firearms handling stations. Clubs
and other conservation organizations wishing to host a skill station
or assist others at an existing station are welcome! For more information
visit the FAWNS
website or contact Gary Zima, 508/389-6314.
IN MEMORIAM-RAYMOND WHITAKER
Raymond (Ray) Whitaker of Winchendon, who served on the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board member from 1982 - 1997, died in late June. Ray was an avid outdoorsman, trapper and a dairy farmer who made his living as an underwriter for New York Life Insurance Co. Born in New Salem in what is now the Quabbin Reservation, Ray grew up where his family had farmed for five generations. A member of what Tom Brokaw had called "The Greatest Generation", Ray joined the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and saw action in the Pacific where he was involved with the landing at Iwo Jima. Following his military service, he spent a year working at MassWildlife's Palmer Hatchery.
In 1948, Whitaker became a full time dairy farmer with a farm in Winchendon where he and his wife, Phyllis, raised their 7 children. In 1974, in recognition of his extensive knowledge and skill in trapping, Governor Francis Sargent appointed Ray to the state's trap study committee. In 1982, Ray Whitaker was named by Governor Ed King to the Fisheries and Wildlife Board, bringing to the job a background in agriculture, an active interest in fish and wildlife, and a wealth of experience with furbearers.
Ray was a civic leader with many interests and skills. An avid fisherman,
hunter and trapper, he was a founding member of the Massachusetts Trappers
Association, President of the Winchendon Rod & Gun Club and a Director
with the Worcester County League of Sportmen's Clubs. He served 27 consecutive
years on the Town of Winchendon Conservation Commission and was active
in Toys for Tots (a Marine based charitable association.) He was also
the author of two books that offered a glimpse of life during the waning
years of the Quabbin Valley communities. Ray Whitaker is survived by
7 children, 15 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, all of whom
inherit his love of the outdoors.
HABITAT MANAGEMENT PARTNERSHIP EVENT, SEPT 7
Landowners, sportsmen, birders and other conservationists are invited to join MassWildlife and non-profit conservation partners to celebrate a habitat management partnership at the Poland Brook Wildlife Management Area (WMA), North Poland Road in Conway on September 7 at 10:30AM. This management project is designed to benefit a variety of wildlife-from Woodcock and Wild Turkeys to Wood Turtles and Mourning Warblers. The event will feature a demonstration by a rubber tracked tree mowing machine (bullhog) that is helping to create the open habitats required for these types of wildlife. An adjoining grazing project on the WMA will also be acknowledged. Representatives from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, The Wildlife Management Institute and MassWildlife will be on hand to explain the details of the partnership.
PUBLIC MEETINGS AND HEARING
The August meeting of the Fisheries & Wildlife Board will be held on Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 2:00PM at the VFW Post 448, 36 Linden St in Pittsfield. A presentation on the proposed migratory bird regulations will be part of the agenda.
A Public Hearing will be held by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board at the VFW Post 448 in Pittsfield at 7:00PM to establish rules and regulations relative to establishing seasons and bag limits for the 2007 - 2008 migratory bird seasons. As part of the public hearing, a presentation on the proposed seasons and bag limits will be given. Immediately following the public hearing, the Board will vote on the proposed regulations.
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.
All meetings are handicapped accessible and open to the public.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
- August - Help Count Turkey Families - From now until August 31, interested citizens are reminded to report any sightings of turkey families observed. A form to report this information may be found on the MassWildlife website.
- August 17 - 26 - MassWildlife at the Marshfield Fair - Visit the MassWildlife exhibit at the Marshfield Fair. A historical display about MassWildlife's Game Farm at Marshfield in the early 1900's will be featured. Pick up information about local wildlife recreation opportunities in southeastern Massachusetts! More information about the Marshfield Fair can be found at their website.
- Sept 6 - 9 - MassWildlife at the Franklin County Fair, Greenfield - Visit the MassWildlife exhibit at the Franklin County Fair where you can see taxidermy mounts of native wildlife, pick up information about local wildlife recreation opportunities and talk with one of the staff from MassWildlife's Connecticut River Valley Office! More information about the Franklin County Fair can be found at their website.
- September 7 - MassWildlife at Arunah Hill Days, Cummington - Join members of Arunah Hill, an educational facility for astronomy, science, and nature, to learn more about MassWildlife's wildlife and habitat management activities from MassWildlife Forester Brian Hawthorne. Arunah Hill is located on Trouble Street in Cummington. Pre-registration is requested. For more information, contact Edward Faits, President of Arunah Hill at 413/569-6336 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Arunah Hill website.
- September 9 - Bowhunter Education Course, New Marlborough - The curriculum offered in this class by MassWildlife's Hunter Education program was developed by the National Bowhunter Education Foundation. The course is taught by volunteer certified Bowhunter Instructors. Course topics include the selection of equipment, safety, ethics, bowhunting methods, and care and handling of game. Students may bring their archery equipment to class to obtain advice on its use and care. Bring a pen and paper to take notes and dress for the weather outdoors! This course is accepted in other states and provinces which mandate the successful completion of a bowhunter education course for archery hunters. The course runs from 8 AM - 5PM. The course is free, but pre-registration is required. Contact the Hunter Education Program at 978/632-7648 to register. Other Hunter Education Course offerings.
- September 12 - 26 - 2008 Massachusetts Waterfowl Stamp Competition
and Decoy Art Exhibition, Salem - The Peabody
Essex Museum (PEM) is hosting an art exhibition featuring the
art entries submitted to the 2008 Massachusetts
Waterfowl Stamp Competition, samples of award winning work from
the 2007 Junior Duck
Stamp Competition and a selection of decoys from the PEM collection.
This exhibit is dedicated in memory of Jackson Parker, decoy authority
and devoted friend of the Waterfowl Stamp Program. The Massachusetts
Waterfowl Stamp is the only waterfowl stamp series in the country
requiring stamp designs to be of working decoys - ducks, geese or
shorebirds - carved and painted by deceased Massachusetts decoy makers.
The winning artist's work will be featured as will all other qualifying
entries in the contest. For more information on the exhibit, contact
the Peabody Essex Museum at 978/745-9500. For information on the Waterfowl
Stamp Competition, contact Ellie Horwitz at 508/389-6305.