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Mid July 2011
- LAND CELEBRATION IN NEWBURY, PUBLIC INVITED
- DFW TO HOST TORNADO DAMAGE SITE WALK FOR PUBLIC
- NEW FAMILY CAMPERS, SIGN UP NOW FOR AUGUST CAMPING WEEKEND
- UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
- BOATERS! REPORT ENTANGLED MARINE ANIMALS AT SEA
- NEW HUNTERS! SIGN UP NOW FOR COURSES
- QUABBIN DEER HUNT APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE JULY 1
- CRITTERS OF THE MONTH: Bats-Help DFW Locate Summer Bat Colonies
- 2010 DEER HARVEST FINAL NUMBERS AND 2011 DEER PERMIT DRAWING DATE
- CITIZEN SCIENCE REMINDER: TURKEY AND RABBIT DATA NEEDED
- UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
- CALENDAR OF EVENTS
LAND CELEBRATION IN NEWBURY, PUBLIC INVITED
On Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 11 AM, the Fisheries and Wildlife Board,
the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW), and the Department of
Fish and Game (DFG) invites the interested public to a celebration of
a recent 24.5-acre parcel addition to the Martin
Burns Wildlife Management Area (WMA) at 191 Scotland Road in Byfield
(Newbury). Other conservation partners joining the celebration will
include the Essex County League of Sportsmen, Parker River Clean Water
Association, Essex County Greenbelt Association, Newbury town officials,
sportswomen and sportsmen, and other local citizens and conservationists
who supported the acquisition of this critical parcel to Martin Burns
WMA. Directions: Take Exit 56 off Rt. I-95 toward Scotland Road,
Newbury. The site is adjacent to Rt. 95 and directly across from the
State Police barracks. Parking will be along Scotland Road where there
is a wide pull-off. Carpooling is recommended.
DFW TO HOST TORNADO DAMAGE SITE WALK FOR PUBLIC
On Thursday, August 11, 2011, from 6:30-7:30 pm, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) will host a public site walk to view and discuss tornado damage impacts at the McKinstry Brook Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Southbridge and Sturbridge. The tornado impact site walk has been added to a series of public walks on WMAs this summer and fall. Despite the damage and loss caused by the tornados, this dramatic wind event provides a unique learning opportunity to observe and discuss the historical role that natural disturbance processes have played in shaping a diversity of wildlife habitats across the Massachusetts landscape. Please join DFW biologists, ecologists, and foresters who will discuss habitat impacts associated with tornadoes and other high wind events. Staff will also talk about how land use changes by people have limited other natural disturbances such as beaver flooding and fires that historically provided additional open wildlife habitats across the landscape. Plan on the event occurring rain or shine--dress for the weather. Consider bringing insect repellant, binoculars, camera, sunscreen, leather or cotton gloves, and wearing sturdy boots. Meet at the gravel parking area at the south end of the WMA in Southbridge.
NEW FAMILY CAMPERS, SIGN UP NOW FOR AUGUST CAMPING WEEKEND
Calling all first-time family campers! A Becoming an Outdoors Family
Camping Weekend will be held August 13-14, 2011 at the Myles Standish
State Forest in Carver. This weekend is especially designed for families
new to camping. We welcome families of all kinds; bring your grandchild,
niece or nephew! No prior outdoor experience is necessary. Learn some
basic camping and outdoor recreation skills with knowledgeable and friendly
instructors to help you and your family enjoy the great outdoors! Fishing,
canoeing, and hiking along with outdoor cooking, and a bird walk are
among the activities offered. Fee is $30/participant and includes all
instruction, materials, 2 meals and limited loaner camping equipment.
More details and
registration materials are available online. Registration deadline
is August 5. Financial assistance (up to 50%) is available. This
weekend workshop is coordinated by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's
Becoming an Outdoorswoman Program (DFW) and the Department of Conservation
and Recreation (DCR).
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS & PUBLIC HEARING
July 28 - The Fisheries & Wildlife Board will hold its July meeting on Thursday, July 28 at 1:30 PM at the Newbury Public Library located on 0 Lunt Street in Byfield. The building is handicapped accessible.
The Natural Heritage
and Endangered Species Advisory Committee will not be meeting
in August. Their next meeting will be September 8, 2011.
BOATERS! REPORT ENTANGLED MARINE ANIMALS AT SEA
Massachusetts coastal waters are home to endangered marine animals including sea turtles and whales. Entanglement in marine debris and fishing gear such as rope, netting, and hooks are leading causes of serious injury and mortality for these animals. The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) ask all boaters to immediately report sightings of entangled marine animals, alive or dead, by calling the Marine Animal Entanglement Hotline at 1-800-900-3622 or 866-755-NOAA or by hailing the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16. An entanglement response team at PCCS is on-call and committed to providing safe and effective disentanglement of marine animals in the waters off Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.
- What else can a boat operator do? Though your first instinct may
be to try and free the animal, entanglement experts strongly urge
you to resist the understandably natural impulse to assist the animal.
Safety is a serious concern as disentanglement attempts by untrained
people can be detrimental to the animal and result in serious injury
to those involved. Cutting ropes or gear on your own may also cause
problems for the entangled animal or create future entanglement issues
for marine animals swimming through drifting lines or gear. Finally,
boaters do not have the legal authority to perform disentanglements
or touch another person's fishing gear. Sea turtles and most large
whales are protected endangered species and it is illegal to handle
them without a permit.
The following tips are offered by the partnering agencies for anyone encountering an entangled marine animal:
- Report the entanglement sighting immediately. Don't wait until you get back to land.
- Do NOT touch the animal or the entangled gear.
- Maintain a safe distance from the animal in trouble.
- Record the time and coordinates of the animal's location.
- Be alert for trailing lines which may foul props.
- Be prepared to stand by until responders arrive.
- Note the appearance of the animal and type of entangling gear.
- If at all possible, photograph or video the sighting from a safe distance.
In addition, operators of all vessels at sea are reminded to secure
trash, gear, and other items that may be mistaken for food by marine
animals or cause entanglements. Harbormasters, marinas, sporting groups,
and marine supply stores are encouraged to share the above information
and hotline number with others in order to make the boating public aware
of the safest and most effective way to assist entangled marine animals.
For further information, contact Scott Landry of the Provincetown Center
for Coastal Studies at email@example.com
or call him at (508) 487-3623 x102.
NEW HUNTERS! SIGN UP NOW FOR COURSES
New hunters of all ages are reminded that it is never too early to think about taking a Basic Hunter Education Course. First-time license buyers 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 from January through October and early November and are periodically updated on the agency website. Want early notification of a course? Provide your name and contact information on an online form and you will be notified when a course is offered in your area before the course is posted on line.
"Many people don't think about enrolling in a course until September," says Susan Langlois, DFW Hunter Education Administrator. "Unfortunately, most courses have either begun or are fully enrolled 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. Courses are offered in several formats including some that are scheduled over five or six weekday evenings. Some are conducted on weekends while other courses are a combination of weeknights and weekend days. 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. "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 incidents and firearms accidents in the field."
Massachusetts offered its first hunter safety course in 1954, and to date has graduated more than 180,000 students. Topics covered during the course include general knowledge of firearms, 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 Massachusetts residents 15 years old and over to apply for a firearm's license with their local police departments. The certificates are also accepted for the purchase of a hunting or sporting license in all U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico. Lost your certificate from years past? You may obtain a Duplicate Certificate from the Hunter Education Program by filling out a form or by contacting the office directly at (978) 772-0693.
QUABBIN DEER HUNT APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE JULY 1
Applications for the 2011 Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt are available
on the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) web page at www.mass.gov/dcr/watersupply/watershed/hunt.htm.
DCR Water Supply Division staff reminds prospective applicants that
regardless of the type of firearm used, all applicants must have a valid
MA gun license to be eligible to apply for this hunting opportunity.
To qualify for the permit selection process, all applications must be
postmarked by August 15 or hand-delivered to the Quabbin Visitor's Center
by 4:00 PM on that date.
Hunters may obtain hard copy applications at DCR administrative and field offices at the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs and the Boston office at 251 Causeway Street. Applications will be available from DFW offices in Boston, Westborough, and the District Offices. Obtain applications through the mail by sending a self-addressed, stamped, business-sized envelope to: Deer Hunt, Quabbin Visitor Center, 485 Ware Road, Belchertown, MA, 01007. The Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt will occur during the statewide deer shotgun season in four areas of the Quabbin Reservation: Pelham and Prescott on December 1 and 2, 2011; New Salem and Petersham on December 8 and 9, 2011. Approximately 1,100 permits will be drawn based on hunters' license numbers on September 7, 2011. Winning numbers will be posted on the website, and successful applicants will receive written notification from the DCR by early October.
CRITTERS OF THE MONTH: Bats-Help DFW Locate Summer Bat Colonies
Because Massachusetts and other northeastern states have lost thousands of bats due to a fungal infection on bat called White-Nose Syndrome, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) is asking for reports from property owners with a summer colony of 10 or more bats. Please provide the location (street address), type of structure where the bats reside, number of bats in the colony, and your contact information by calling (508) 389-6360 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bat mortality rates are at an alarmingly high level in Massachusetts and other northeastern states. Surveys in Massachusetts caves and mines conducted by biologists from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in February and March of 2009 have shown dramatic rates of mortality; perhaps as high as 98 percent. The state's largest hibernacula normally contained 8,000-10,000 hibernating bats in winter, but over the winters of 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, nearly all the bats died. Biologists are attributing this die-off to White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease characterized by a white, crusting fungus on their muzzles and other parts of their bodies. Biologists from state and federal agencies and other conservation organizations across the country are trying to find a way to protect bats from this deadly fungus. Efforts are underway to understand how this fungus is spreading and killing bats. The WNS fungus has just recently been described as a new species of cold-loving fungus, but why it has suddenly become a problem is unknown.
Ecologically, high bat mortality is a major concern to biologists because most types of bats raise only one pup per year. It would take decades for a bat population to rebound after a large die-off. Concerns have also been expressed about the agricultural and economic impacts of these die-offs. Bats are important predators of mosquitoes and other insects. In a recently published paper in "Science", estimates suggest that a single Little Brown Bat can consume 4-8 grams of insects each night during the active season. When extrapolated to the one million bats estimated to have died from WNS, between 660 and 1320 metric tons of insects, including pest species, are no longer being consumed.
With summer's hot, humid weather here, some Bay State homeowners may discover bats in their homes. 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. 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 where the bat is located 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 hair.
If a bat has landed, assist it out of the house (wearing gloves) in the following 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 simply pick up the bat and release it outdoors. Don't handle a bat with bare hands, use gloves but avoid cotton gloves. Whatever method is used, don't be surprised if 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 but 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. Otherwise only the adults will be evicted, leaving the young pups to die and creating a smelly attic.
Learn about the different kinds of bats in Massachusetts, how to evict
bats safely, and how to live with them using information from www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/wildlife/living/living_with_bats.htm.
A booklet, A Homeowner's Guide to Bats, is also available from
MassWildlife offices. To receive a hard copy of the booklet by mail,
send a self-addressed, $1.50 stamped 6-inch by 9-inch envelope to: "Bat
Booklet", DFW, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd, Westborough, MA, 01581.
2010 DEER HARVEST FINAL NUMBERS AND 2011 DEER PERMIT DRAWING DATE
Deer Project Leader Sonja Christensen reports a total of 10,813 white-tailed deer harvested by licensed hunters during the combined 2010 seasons. By season, the total breaks down to 5 deer taken during the special deer season for paraplegic sportsmen; 3,778 taken in the archery season; 4,846 taken during the shotgun season; 2,068 taken during the muzzleloading season; and 116 deer harvested during the Quabbin Reservation hunt. Christensen noted that 2010 was the highest deer harvest on record for the archery season. "Archery is a vital management tool particularly in suburban areas where deer densities are higher due to limited hunting access." Deer populations are managed according to deer density goals established to maintain healthy deer populations in balance with the environment. Goals are set at levels that allow sustainable deer harvest and deer viewing opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers, and at levels which minimize impacts on property damage, public health issues, and safety.
The 2011 Antlerless Deer Permit Drawing is scheduled for 7:00 PM, August 1, 2011, at the Hubbardston Rod and Gun Club located at 55 Williamsville Road, Hubbardston. The event will include a deer management talk by Deer Biologist Sonja Christensen, and the antlerless permit drawing. Interested hunters and their families are encouraged to attend this popular event.
CITIZEN SCIENCE REMINDER: TURKEY AND RABBIT DATA NEEDED
Don't forget to help MassWildlife count turkey broods (families) between
now and the end of August. Fill out a
form indicating the number hens, number of poults, their size compared
to the adult hens and the town where you saw the flock. MassWildlife
is also still in need of rabbit skull/carcass samples for the New England
cottontail survey effort. Directions
to MassWildlife facilities accepting cottontail carcasses.
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS & PUBLIC HEARING
July 14 - The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee will meet at MassWildlife's Field Headquarters in Westborough from 1:30- 4:30 pm. The meeting location is open to the public and is handicapped accessible. Directions, or call (508) 389-6360.
July 28 - Fisheries & Wildlife Board Meeting, Newbury Area-The
Fisheries & Wildlife Board will hold its July meeting at 1:30 PM
at a location to be determined in the Newbury area. When the meeting
location is finalized for Board meeting, information will be posted
on the agency website in the Public
Meetings and Calendar
of Events pages.
Calendar of Events
July 16 -- Project WILD Workshop, Sudbury - Educators of kids
in grades k-12 are invited to the Assabet National Wildlife Refuge for
a fun, useful and hands-on 6-hour workshop that focuses on the Project
WILD activity guides. Project WILD is an interdisciplinary, conservation,
and environmental education program that emphasizes wildlife, people
and the environment. Project WILD is sponsored by DFW and the Mass.
Wildlife Federation. Pre-registration is required--for more details
contact Kizette Orizvanger@fws.gov
or call (978) 562-3527 x117.
July 16 & 17 -- Trailblazing for Outdoorswomen, Savoy - The class is designed to introduce adult women to the idea of personally dealing with factors that are an inherent part of off-trail wilderness travel in Savoy State Forest. Learn how to handle what's out there when you venture from the trodden path. Registration materials are available. Registration deadline is July 8, 2011.
July 23 -- Houghton's Pond Family Fishing Festival, Canton - This family-friendly event will be held at Houghton's Pond at the Blue Hills Reservation from 10:00 - 2:30pm in cooperation with DCR's Blue Hills Reservation. Angler Education Program volunteers will be on hand to help novices cast a line, learn about fish in our waters, safety, ethics, and fishing equipment. If you have fishing equipment, bring it along. No fishing license required! A limited quantity of fishing equipment and bait will be available. Contact DCR at (617) 698-1802.
Last Updated: 07/18/2011