All Media Inquiries: Contact (617) 626-1809
MassWildlife News is published 1-2 times/month. If you are interested in receiving the MW News electronically, send an e-mail to the following address: Join-MassWildlife.email@example.com
- NEW ELECTRONIC LICENSING WEBSITE DEBUTS FOR 2011
- HELP COUNT EAGLES
- OUTDOOR USERS: THANK A LANDOWNER TODAY
- KEEP AN EYE ON THE ICE!
- RESOLVE TO SIGN UP FOR HUNTER EDUCATION
- UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
- NEWS AND NOTES--Preliminary Archery and Shotgun Deer Season Results, Broodstock Salmon Stocking, The Great Outdoors Blog, Cottontail Survey Reminder, Calendar of Events Summary
NEW ELECTRONIC LICENSING WEBSITE DEBUTS FOR 2011
A new electronic licensing system, MassFishHunt, has debuted online offering 2011 hunting, freshwater fishing, and trapping licenses from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW), as well as non-commercial lobster permits and the new saltwater fishing permit from the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). Both resident and non-resident license and permit buyers will find information and links to the MassFishHunt system at: www.mass.gov/MassFishHunt.
Benefits of the new MassFishHunt system to license holders include the ability to purchase and print their licenses and permits at their home computer. Lost a license in the wash or out in the field? MassFishHunt also provides online license holders the ability to print duplicate licenses free of charge.
The new licensing system is managed by a private vendor, Active Outdoors, of Nashville, Tennessee. Of the 81 million hunting and fishing licenses issued annually in the U.S., Active Outdoors processes 58% through its systems. Customer service inquiries regarding purchases of electronic licenses and permits from MassFishHunt should be directed to ActiveOutdoors by calling toll-free (888) 773-8450 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. After setting up electronic license sales at DFW and DMF offices, Active Outdoors will begin to make electronic license sales available at retail stores, sporting goods stores, bait and tackle shops, and city and town halls. License buyers will still be able to purchase the traditional paper hunting, trapping, and freshwater fishing paper licenses and stamps at license vendors throughout the state until the switch is made to an entirely electronic system. A list of current hunting, trapping, and freshwater fishing license vendors can be found at www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/recreation/licensing/vendors/license_vendors.htm.
"The switch from paper license sales to an entirely electronic system will vastly improve the accounting, record keeping, and efficiency of our licensing system," said DFW Director Wayne MacCallum. "The system will also enable anglers, hunters, and trappers buying a license online to print and use their license, immediately."
Electronic registration for boats, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles is not available through MassFishHunt, but will continue to be available through the Office of Environmental Law Enforcement website at www.mass.gov/dfwele/dle/elereg.htm as well as at their registration offices in Boston, Fall River, Hyannis, Springfield, and Worcester.
"We are very happy to offer this state-of-the-art service to the
people who support our conservation and management efforts by purchasing
fishing, hunting, and sporting licenses," said Department of Fish
and Game Commissioner Mary Griffin. "This new system gives people
multiple options to purchase these licenses, and in time will give our
Division of Fisheries & Wildlife and Division of Marine Fisheries
the ability to communicate directly with license holders, thus improving
HELP COUNT EAGLES
A target date of January 7, 2011, will be used for a concentrated survey across the state of major rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and the coast by Division of Fisheries and Wildlife staff and volunteers. This event is part of a nationwide Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey that is held every year in early January. "Our long time partner, National Grid, will be assisting in the survey by providing a helicopter for surveying the Quabbin Reservoir area and the Connecticut River," said Dr. Tom French. Ground teams will also be covering known eagle territories statewide during the day. In 2010, 72 bald eagles were documented in Massachusetts during the one-day event.
Anyone spotting an eagle from December 29, 2010 - January 12, 2011 is encouraged to report the sighting by email at Mass.email@example.com or by postal mail to "Eagle Survey" MassWildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581. Please provide date, time, location and town of eagle sightings, number of birds, juvenile or adult, and observer contact information. The best eagle viewing locations at this time of year include:
- Belchertown - Enfield Lookout at Quabbin Reservoir. Eagles can be viewed at a long distance.
- West Boylston, Clinton, Sterling, Boylston - Wachusett Reservoir. Eagles can sometimes be viewed at a long distance from Routes 140 or Route 70.
- Lakeville - Long Point Road on the causeway between Pocksha Pond and Great Quitticas Pond. Eagles can be viewed at a long distance.
- Newburyport - Merrimack River at Cashman Park Boat Ramp or at Deer
Island off Rte 1A (from the chain bridge) Newburyport. These are both
good areas for eagles to be seen fairly close without the need of
a spotting scope.
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 private 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. "Let them know you appreciate it. If you have been recreating on local land trust or other private non-profit conservation lands, be sure to include those groups on your thank-you list." Larson offers the following suggestions for hunters, anglers, and other outdoor users when thanking private property owners who allow access for outdoor recreation:
Be thoughtful and personal in expressing your appreciation, treating the landowner as you would like to be treated. If you are mentoring a new or young hunter, angler, birder or naturalist, include him or her in the process of thanking the landowner.
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 thanking him or her for the opportunity to use their land. Consider giving a small gift such as a certificate to a local restaurant, a gift basket, or a subscription to Massachusetts Wildlife magazine. In the case of a non-profit landowner, make a donation to their organization.
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 the property by documenting and reporting suspicious activities to the Environmental Police at (800) 632-8075.
"Hunting, fishing, birding, and other 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 2011 to ensure that these recreational opportunities will
continue to be available to you and other outdoor users for future generations."
KEEP AN EYE ON THE ICE!
Winter has made its appearance in Massachusetts but at this stage of the season the condition of ice on the Bay State's waterbodies can be unpredictable and treacherous. The Division of Fisheries & Wildlife urges outdoor enthusiasts to play it safe and check ice carefully before venturing onto ice-covered waters. A clear layer of 4-inch ice is a good, safe thickness for foot traffic. Ice strength table and safety tips.
How can you tell if ice is safe? There are no guarantees -- always consider ice to be 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 or picks 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, 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. Links to winter weather related
preparedness tips and a video on ice safety from the Minnesota Department
of Natural Resources can be found at the same
link as the ice strength table.
RESOLVE TO SIGN UP FOR HUNTER EDUCATION
New and novice hunters of all ages are encouraged to make a New Year's resolution to sign up for a free Basic Hunter Education Course in the winter or spring months of 2011. Students who successfully pass the course will receive a Certificate of Completion, that is acceptable for purchasing a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license. It also allows students 15 years or older to apply for a firearms license at their local police departments. These Certificates of Completion are also recognized in all the United States, Canada, and Mexico for the purchase of a hunting or sporting license. Basic Hunter Education courses for the beginning of 2011.
"Many people fail to consider signing up for a course in the winter or spring months because they aren't thinking about hunting," says MassWildlife Hunter Education Program Administrator Susan Langlois. "By completing a course early in the year, new hunters have time to apply for a firearms license, practice newly acquired skills, and scout potential hunting locations." By law, this course must be at least 12 hours in length but is typically 15-16 hours and is offered in different formats to meet the public's needs. Some courses are scheduled over five or six weekday evenings. Some are conducted on weekends while others are a combination of weeknights and weekend days. All classes are provided at no charge to the participating students.
Topics covered during the Basic Hunter Education course include: safe
handling of hunting arms and ammunition, hunting laws and ethics, wildlife
identification, wildlife management, care and handling of game, basic
survival skills, and first aid. It is the mission of the Massachusetts
Hunter Education Program to train safe, knowledgeable, and responsible
hunters; to promote the wise management and ethical use of our wildlife
resources; and to encourage a greater appreciation of the environment
through education. Funding is derived from the sale of hunting and sporting
licenses, and from federal excise taxes on firearms and archery equipment.
Massachusetts offered its first hunter safety course in 1954, and to
date has graduated more than 178,000 students.
Graduates who have lost their certificates may obtain a duplicate by calling the Hunter Education Program office in Ayer at (978) 772-0693 or filling out a form requesting a duplicate on the website.
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
January 13 -- Natural Heritage Advisory Committee Meeting, Westborough -- The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee will meet Thursday, January 13, 2011, at the DFW Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd (off North Drive) from 1:30 - 4:30pm. Directions or call the Field Headquarters at (508) 389-6300.
January 25 -- Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting, Westborough
-- The Fisheries and Wildlife
Board will meet on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at noon at the DFW
Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd (off North Drive). Both meetings
are open to the public. The building is handicapped accessible. Directions
or call the Field Headquarters at (508) 389-6300.
NEWS & NOTES
2010 Preliminary Archery and Shotgun Deer Season Results-- Preliminary information on the archery and shotgun deer season results have been compiled though some check stations have yet to report their tallies. For the 2010 archery deer season, a preliminary statewide total of 3,644 deer were checked in at official deer check stations. The Western District office tallied 387 deer while Connecticut Valley District office reported 431. Central District stations checked 624 deer; Northeast District, 944; and Southeast District checked 1,258 deer.
During the statewide shotgun season, licensed deer hunters checked
in 4,435 deer. The breakdown of deer checked by District check stations
were: Western District, 623; Connecticut Valley District, 737; Central
District, 928; Northeast District, 731; and Southeast District, 1,416.
These figures do not include the results of the Quabbin Reservation
Hunt. All reported figures are preliminary the final harvest numbers
will not be available until spring.
Celebrate the New Year with Broodstock Salmon!--Avid anglers should be pleased to learn that 1,724 retired broodstock salmon from the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program were released by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife into lakes and ponds across the Commonwealth in December. A list of the waters stocked with salmon. The majority of fish come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's White River National Fish Hatchery in Bethel, Vermont and the remainder from MassWildlife's Roger Reed Salmon Hatchery in Palmer. Fish were evenly distributed to each District and range in weight from 4-18 pounds. Dr. Ken Simmons, Chief of Hatcheries, expressed appreciation to DFW district and hatchery staff in getting the fish out in December. "Anglers may not realize this, but our people are working long hours in cold, icy conditions to bring the fish from central Vermont to stock ponds in Massachusetts."
Great Outdoors Blog--The Great Outdoors blog hosted by the Energy and Environmental Affairs Office is dedicated to engaging and informing Massachusetts residents and visitors about the Commonwealth's outdoor activities and events, wildlife, state recreation lands, and local agriculture. The Great Outdoors blog at www.mass.gov/blog/environment includes posts from staff in the departments of Fish and Game (DFG), Agricultural Resources (DAR), and Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Look for reports from biologists, animal inspectors, agricultural experts, and park personnel. Recent wildlife- related posts include information on ice fishing, a winter wellness weekend for adult women, and a field report from the Nantucket deer check station.
Cottontail Survey Reminder--Interested citizens are reminded they can help biologists with the statewide cottontail survey by bringing rabbit heads to DFW District Offices and Hatcheries. More information on this survey.
Calendar of Events--An Ice Fishing Event in Hopkinton, Winter Women's Wellness Weekend in Becket and Growing Up WILD Early Childhood Education wildlife workshops in Oxford and Belmont are among the January opportunities and events found on the MassWildlife Calendar of Events.
Last Updated: 01/06/2011