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- KEEP AN EYE ON THE ICE!
- OUTDOOR USERS: THANK A LANDOWNER TODAY
- OUTDOOR SHOW SCHEDULE
- EAGLE COUNT REMINDER
- MOOSE SUCCESSFULLY RELOCATED FROM LOWELL
- WATER SUPPLY GULL STUDY/li>
- REMEMBERING JIM MCDONOUGH
- UPCOMING MEETINGS
- CALENDAR OF EVENTS
KEEP AN EYE ON THE ICE!
Winter has made its appearance in Massachusetts, but the variable temperatures that have been experienced in the state so far this season mean the condition of ice on the Bay State's waterbodies is unpredictable and could be treacherous. There have already been several instances in the state where people have fallen through the ice. The Division of Fisheries & Wildlife urges outdoor enthusiasts to play it safe and check ice carefully before venturing onto ice-covered waters. Foot traffic on a layer of 4" ice is a good safe thickness. An ice strength table is posted on the agency website.
How can you tell if ice is safe? There are no guarantees -- always consider ice potentially dangerous. Assess ice safety by using an ice chisel to chop a hole in the ice to determine its thickness and condition. Make sure you continue to do this as you go further out on to the ice, because the thickness of the ice will not be uniform all over the pond or lake. Be aware that ice tends to be thinner on lakes and ponds where there are spring holes, inlets or outlets. Don't venture on to ice bound rivers or streams because the currents make ice thickness unpredictable.
What if you fall through the ice? As with any emergency, don't panic! Briefly call for help. It doesn't take long for the cold water to start slowing your physical and mental functions, so you must act quickly. Air will remain trapped in your clothes for a short time, aiding your buoyancy. Kick your legs while grasping for firm ice. Try to pull your body up using "ice pins" that should be hanging around your neck. Once your torso is on firm ice, roll towards thicker ice. This will better distribute your weight. Remember that ice you have previously walked on should be the safest. After you reach safe ice, don't waste precious time because you need to warm up quickly to prevent hypothermia. Go to the nearest fishing shanty, warm car, or house. Don't drive home in wet clothes!
If a companion falls through the ice remember the phrase "Reach-Throw-Go."
If you are unable to reach your friend, throw him or her a rope, jumper
cables, tree branch, or other object. If this does not work, go for
help before you also become a victim.
Pet owners should keep pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue the pet, go for help. Well meaning pet owners can too easily become victims themselves when trying to save their pets.
For other cold and winter weather related preparedness tips, check
Emergency Management Agency website.
OUTDOOR USERS: THANK A LANDOWNER TODAY
As the year comes to a close and our fishing, hunting, or wildlife watching adventures become fond memories, it's time to remember the landowners who, through their generosity helped to make these experiences possible. "Access to fishing, hunting, hiking, or watching wildlife is a privilege provided by landowners," says Marion Larson, Outreach Coordinator for the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife). "Let them know you appreciate it. If you are mentoring a new or young hunter, angler, or birder; include that person in the process of thanking the landowner."
Larson suggests the following for hunters, anglers, and other outdoor users to keep in mind when thanking those who allow access their property for outdoor recreation:
* Be thoughtful and personal in expressing your appreciation, treating the landowner as you would like to be treated.
* Visit the landowner at the end of the season to express your appreciation in person; if possible, provide him or her with some of your fish and game harvest, share images or a list of the wildlife you saw on their property.
* Send a personal note or card to thanking him or her for the opportunity to use their land. Consider giving a small gift -- a certificate to a local restaurant, a gift basket or perhaps a magazine subscription from MassWildlife.
* Offer to assist with tasks around the property that would be helpful or to identify, clean up and properly dispose of any illegal dumping that has occurred.
* Assist the landowner in protecting his or her property by documenting and reporting suspicious activities to the Environmental Police at 1 (800) 632-8075.
"Hunting, fishing, birding, and wildlife-related activities are
traditions that will continue only if everyone follows the basic principles
of being a good neighbor," Larson said. "Take a few moments
to reflect on our outdoor traditions, including the importance of access
to private lands in maintaining these traditions, and what you can do
in 2009 to ensure that these recreational opportunities will available
for future generations."
OUTDOOR SHOW SCHEDULE
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is participating in a number of outdoor oriented shows in January and February. At most of these venues, licenses will be sold and sporting information and wildlife recreation opportunities will be made available to show attendees. This is a great opportunity for families, youth groups and other outdoor oriented people to meet agency staff and pick up some of the latest outdoor and sporting information.
- January 16-18, 2009 - The Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough located at the Royal Plaza Trade Center on Route 20. MassWildlife will be selling licenses and providing fishing and other outdoor information to attendees. For further information, visit The Fly Fishing Show website or call toll free (866) 481-2393.
- January 24-25, 2009 - The 30th Annual Southeastern Massachusetts Sportsmens Show held at the Standish Sportsmen's Association in East Bridgewater on 1 Burr Lane. MassWildlife staff will sell licenses at this show and offer information on outdoor recreation opportunities and safety. For more information about the show, contact Hugh Hurley (508) 588-9327 or check the Standish Sportsmens Association website.
- February 5-8, 2009 - Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Exposition at the DCU Centre in Worcester. MassWildlife staff will be on hand to sell licenses and offer recreation information. The agency's Angler and Hunter Education programs will also be providing information and schedules at this show. Check out MassWildlife's Freshwater Sport Fishing Awards Ceremony on Saturday, February 9, 2009, at 4PM and see the youth and adult anglers who caught the biggest fish in 2008. The ceremony will be held near the casting pool. For information about the Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Exposition, visit or call (603) 431-4315.
- February 13-16, 2009 - Recreational Vehicle, Camping, and Outdoor Show in West Springfield at the Big E. MassWildlife and Department of Conservation & Recreation staff will be sharing space and outdoor recreation and safety information for camping enthusiasts. For more information check the Camping show website or call (413) 781-CAMP.
- February 19-22, 2009 - Sportsmen and Boat Show in West Springfield at the Big E. Visit with MassWildlife's Angler Education Program, buy a sporting license, or chat with the Environmental Police who will be set up nearby. For specific information about this show check the Sportsmens and Boat Show website or call (413) 467-2171.
EAGLE COUNT REMINDER
Birders and other wildlife enthusiasts are reminded to notify the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) if they see any eagles in the state during the period of December 31, 2008 - January 14, 2009. A concentrated survey of major rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and the coast by MassWildlife personnel, cooperators, and volunteers across the state will take place January 9, 2009. Reports of eagle sightings can be made by email at Mass.email@example.com or by postal service to "Eagle Survey," MassWildlife, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581. Please provide date, time, location, and town of eagle sightings, number of birds, whether juvenile or adult, and, observer's contact information.
MOOSE SUCCESSFULLY RELOCATED FROM LOWELL
On Thursday, December 18, state Environmental Police Officers responded with the assistance of Division of Fisheries and Wildlife biologists to reports of a 600-700 pound cow (female) moose wandering in the Crown Point Plaza area, a densely populated part of Lowell. Because of the public safety threat posed if the moose wandered into neighborhood traffic or nearby Route 3, the moose was immobilized by Environmental Police Officers of the Large Animal Response Team (L.A.R.T.). The moose was then transferred to MassWildlife biologists and technicians who successfully relocated the moose to a wildlife management area in northern Worcester County. Prior to the release, a GPS collar was placed on the animal as part of an ongoing moose study conducted by a graduate student working for the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. For more information about moose in Massachusetts and what to do if a moose is seen in an urban area, visit the agency's moose web link.
WATER SUPPLY GULL STUDY
This summer and fall, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) began conducting a research program to track the habits and flight patterns of gulls near the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs, and is now asking the public's help in reporting any sightings of tagged gulls. With funding from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's (MWRA) Water Supply Protection Trust, permit and capture assistance from the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, and advice from the Massachusetts Audubon Society, DCR staff have already caught and tagged nearly 250 Ring-billed, Herring, and Greater black-backed gulls around the reservoirs in an effort to track their feeding habits and daily whereabouts. Information from sightings will be used to help identify local food sources for the birds and determine the best way to try to prevent them from spending the night at the reservoirs. From fall through spring, thousands of gulls spend the night sitting in the water at the reservoirs. For almost 20 years, DCR has used various techniques to scare the birds away from the MWRA intake pipes and prevent their droppings from polluting the water. While those techniques - which involve setting off loud noises near the gulls, for example - have proven effective, DCR is looking for a more ecological and efficient approach.
Each gull species has its own tag color with a unique identification
number for each tag. With help from the public, DCR has already been
able to record the whereabouts of many of the birds at various times
during the day, week, and season. Sightings have already been received
from central Massachusetts to Maine, as well as from the Canadian provinces
of Manitoba and Newfoundland. Anyone who sees a wing-tagged bird is
asked to try to obtain the alpha-numeric combination on the tag (e.g.,
A57) and report it using the contact information below. Be sure to include
the time and place the bird was sighted. Contact Dan Clark at (508)
792-7423, ext. 215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
REMEMBERING JIM MCDONOUGH
Jim McDonough, former game biologist for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, passed away in October. McDonough received an Associate's Degree from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture in Amherst in 1939. After temporary work with the Civilian Conservation Corps, he was employed by then-named Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Game from 1948 to 1984 as a technician and then a game biologist. Veteran sportsmen and -women will remember that McDonough was particularly noted for his work with white-tailed deer management and was instrumental in developing the Massachusetts antlerless deer permit system and ecologically-based deer management zones. He was also deeply involved with research and management of cottontail rabbits and early successional habitats and conducted some of the earliest status surveys and habitat investigations of the New England cottontail. McDonough was a member of The Wildlife Society (TWS), the professional association of wildlife biologists and was among the first biologists to be certified by TWS in the late 1970s, when the certification program was initiated. Through his efforts and financial support, TWS implemented the "Jim McDonough Award" in the 1980s to recognize Certified Wildlife Biologists who are members of TWS at all levels and who have made significant contributions to the wildlife profession. Along with his friend and colleague, the late Dr. Robert McDowell of Connecticut, Jim McDonough was instrumental in the formation of the New England Chapter in 1979 and served as its first president. McDonough's knowledge and advice also extended across the Atlantic, where he served as an advisor to the Irish Deer Society and a younger generation of Irish deer biologists.
The Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Advisory Committee will be meeting on January 8 at 1:30 PM at the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Field Headquarters off North Drive in Westborough.
The Fisheries & Wildlife Board meeting in January will be held on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 1:00 PM at the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Field Headquarters off North Drive in Westborough. In case of inclement weather the meeting will be held the following day, Wednesday January 28, at 1:00 PM at the same location. Both meetings are open to the public and the building is handicapped accessible.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS-An updated Calendar of Events can be seen anytime.
- January 8 - February 26-Quack, quack! Junior Duck Stamp Traveling Art Exhibit, New Bedford--Bring your family to see top youth entries in the 2008 Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp Contest at the Buttonwood Park Zoo at 425 Hawthorn Street. The Duck Stamp contest is modeled after the adult versions of both the state and federal duck stamp competitions. Youth of all ages are encouraged to learn about waterfowl and the importance of wetlands through this conservation contest. For further information on the exhibit, contact: Gail Janeczek at (508) 991-6178. For information in participating in the program, contact Pam Landry at (508) 389-6310.
- January 11-Wildlife in Your Backyard, Belchertown - The Quabbin Visitor's Center will be hosting a talk by Trina Moruzzi, MassWildlife Biologist, who will be talking about the common wildlife that can be found in the region's neighborhoods and back yards. This free talk will begin at 2 PM. For more information, contact Maria Beiter-Tucker, Quabbin Visitor's Center at (413) 323-7221.
- January 18-Project WILD Workshop for Educators, Dorchester - Zoo New England's Franklin Park Zoo (FPZ) invites all K-12 educators to participate in an exciting six-hour interdisciplinary hands-on/minds-on workshop focusing on terrestrial wildlife and ecosystems. Participants will actively engage in activities, evaluate materials for unique needs and settings, share experiences with other educators, take home ideas and resources to integrate in to their teaching, and make correlations to national and state content standards. Hours may be used toward obtaining PDP's. Pre-registration is required by calling the Education department at FPZ (617) 989-3742. The cost for the workshop is $15 per person. Franklin Park Zoo is accessible by MBTA or there is free parking at the Zoo.
- January 31-Black Bears in Massachusetts, Monson - As part
of a Winter Lecture Series, the Norcross
Wildlife Sanctuary has invited MassWildlife Biologist Ralph Taylor
to give a talk about black bears. Taylor has been extensively involved
in the black bear research program that has been ongoing for more
than 2 decades. This program will be offered at 1 PM at the Sanctuary
located on 30 Peck Road. Contact Norcross at (413) 267-9654.
Last Updated: 01/15/2009