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- OUTDOOR AND WILDLIFE-RELATED HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS
- PHILLIPSTON HABITAT SITE WALK, PUBLIC INVITED
- BROODSTOCK SALMON STOCKING UPDATE
- RESOLVE TO SIGN UP FOR HUNTER EDUCATION
- RESULTS OF 2011 DEER SEASON FOR PARAPLEGIC HUNTERS
- JOIN THE 112TH CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT
- SAVE JANUARY DATES TO COUNT EAGLES
- FLY TYING CLINICS TO BE OFFERED IN WESTBOROUGH
- UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
OUTDOOR AND WILDLIFE-RELATED HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS
Now is the time to consider a wildlife-related gift for the outdoor
or wildlife enthusiast on your holiday list! The following suggestions
from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) are suitable gifts
to consider for all ages.
A 2-year subscription to Massachusetts Wildlife magazine ($10) delivers eight full-color issues of the Commonwealth's best wildlife publication. For the budding conservationist, try a copy of the Critters of Massachusetts book ($5). Critters is a great gift for the curious youngster or the beginning adult naturalist with an interest in backyard wildlife and beyond. For the more advanced naturalist, the Field Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies ($20) or A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools ($12) might be just the ticket. In-depth descriptions and detailed photographs help the reader identify and learn more about these creatures. For the budding herpetologist, there are a couple of options: The Field Guide to the Reptiles of Massachusetts features information on breeding, feeding habits, range, habitat, and conservation issues. This unique issue of the Massachusetts Wildlife Magazine is $3 per copy and also offers spectacular color photos of the various species, including color and pattern morphs of those species with variations and a list of key features that allows you to identify any native snake or turtle (except sea turtles) found in the Bay State. The turtle enthusiast in your life may also enjoy the Introduction to the Threatened Turtles of Massachusetts ($5), a video available from the DFW's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. More publications information, or call the Westborough Field Headquarters at (508) 389-6300.
The sportsman or sportswoman in your life will appreciate a 2012, hunting, fishing, or sporting (combination) license and any stamps they will need. New this year, freshwater fishing licenses for minors ages 15-17 years of age are free! (Minors under 15 do not need a license to fish.) 2012 licenses are available for sale online or through license vendors throughout the state. License purchases support the DFW and its wildlife conservation, management and restoration of wildlife, and wildlife habitat protection programs in Massachusetts. Information on purchasing a license online or through a license vendor.
Give them the gift of the outdoors! Purchase a gift certificate for one of the 2012 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, workshops. Workshops on skills such as animal tracking, shooting, fishing, kayaking, and photography are designed for adults and families new to that particular skill. The 2012 schedule of workshops will be posted in January. A terrific outdoor experience for teen girls and boys, 13-17 years old, is the Junior Conservation Camp, a 2-week overnight camp session packed with outdoor skills learning such as shooting, fishing, canoeing, and camping and field trips with biologists. The camp is located in Chesterfield and will be held in August. A link to camp.
For the person who has everything, make a donation in his or her name
to support one of the following two funds. Wildlife habitat protection
can supported by donating to the Wildlands
Fund, a fund dedicated to acquiring important wildlife habitat open
to wildlife-related recreation. Send the honoree's name with a check
made out to "Comm. of MA - DFW Wildlands Fund" and send it
to: DFW Wildlands Fund, DFW Field HQ, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough,
MA 01581. The Natural
Heritage and Endangered Species Fund supports efforts to protect
rare and endangered wildlife. A donation in the form of a check made
out to "Comm. of MA - NHESP" can also be sent to the DFW Field
HQ, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.
PHILLIPSTON HABITAT SITE WALK, PUBLIC INVITED
The public is invited to a DFW Habitat Site Walk on December 13 at
2PM at the Phillipston Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Meet at the parking
pullout on Queen Lake Road (Rte 101) .1 mile west of the intersection
with Narrow Lane in Phillipston. John Scanlon, DFW Forestry Project
Leader, will discuss planned habitat management activities for this
property. The planned management will establish small patches of young
forest habitat that results in a forest with greater structural and
wildlife diversity. It will also assist the Town of Phillipston in resolving
a public safety issue associated with winter icing on Queen Lake Road
(Route 101). In addition, the site walk will provide an opportunity
for interested conservation-minded citizens and landowners to learn
about habitat management operations that benefit different kinds of
wildlife in special need of conservation. Landowners interested in managing
their own properties for wildlife are encouraged to take advantage of
this opportunity to find out more about wildlife habitat management.
Dress warmly for the weather and wear sturdy boots; the walk take place
with rain, light snow, or sunshine. Consider taking binoculars and a
camera. If there is inclement weather, site walk cancellation information
will be recorded at (508)389-6324.
BROODSTOCK SALMON STOCKING UPDATE
Depending on weather and access to water, broodstock salmon stocking
will begin in mid-December and will be completed by the end of the year.
This year, each district will receive 60 fish, all from the Division
of Fisheries and Wildlife's Roger Reed State Fish Hatchery in Palmer.
The fish will range in size from 5 to 18 pounds, with an average weight
of about 10 pounds each. There will be no broodstock salmon available
from the White River National Fish Hatchery in Bethel, Vermont, this
year due to the extensive damage to the hatchery from flood waters caused
by Tropical Storm Irene earlier this fall. To find out which lakes and
ponds are stocked, contact the DFW District office in Ayer (978) 772-2145;
Belchertown (413) 323-7632; Bourne (508) 759-3406; Dalton (413) 684-1646;
or West Boylston (508) 835-3607. When stocking is complete, the list
of stocked water bodies will be posted on the DFW website.
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 2012. Students who successfully pass the course will receive a Basic Hunter Education Certificate of Completion, which is needed to purchase a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license. These Certificates of Completion are recognized in all the United States, Canada, and Mexico for the purchase of a hunting or sporting license. The Certificates allow individuals 15 years of age or older to apply for a firearms license with their local police departments. The MassWildlife Hunter Education Program offers courses from January through October, and some January 2012 courses have already been scheduled and posted on the website. Additional 2012 courses will be announced monthly and students who want to be notified about courses in their area are encouraged to complete and submit an online form, so that they can receive advance notice of courses scheduled in their area.
"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 to cover all required topics. Courses are offered in different formats to meet the public's needs. Some courses are scheduled over several 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 students. Topics covered during the Basic Hunter Education course include the safe handling of hunting arms and ammunition, hunting laws and ethics, wildlife identification, wildlife management, care and handling of game, and personal preparedness.
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 183,000 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 completing an online
form requesting a duplicate.
RESULTS OF 2011 DEER SEASON FOR PARAPLEGIC HUNTERS
In early November, 28 hunters participated in a special deer season hunt for paraplegic hunters at five locations in Massachusetts. A total of seven deer (one buck, one button buck, and five does) were taken for an overall success rate of 25%. The hunt was coordinated by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW), with assistance from state agencies, military personnel, and volunteer sportsmen and women. Hunt locations included: Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown, South Post in Devens, private land in Williamstown, property in and around Mount Washington State Forest, and new this year, the Otis/Edwards Military Reservation in Falmouth. The Falmouth site provides a convenient opportunity for eligible hunters living in southeastern Massachusetts to participate.
Two of the seven deer taken during this hunt were the first deer ever for the successful hunters. "It is satisfying to be able to provide the opportunity for people to enjoy the outdoors and to have the experience of harvesting an animal. This special hunt's success is due to the assistance of staff, dedicated volunteers, and continuous support from involved both private and public," said Trina Moruzzi, DFW Biologist and Hunt Coordinator.
The Division has been offering interested paraplegic hunters the opportunity
to hunt deer during a special
3-day season since 1972. When a hunter successfully shoots a deer,
volunteers assist the hunter by retrieving the deer, field dressing
it, and getting it properly checked by DFW staff on site. Hunters and
volunteers alike enjoy this opportunity to spend time together outdoors.
Next year's hunt will be held November 1-3, 2012. Paraplegic sportsmen
and women interested in participating in next year's hunt should contact
Trina Moruzzi at (508) 389-6318.
JOIN THE 112TH CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT
Make the Christmas Bird Count part of your seasonal outdoor tradition in Worcester County! From December 14, 2011, through January 1, 2012, bird lovers in Massachusetts will be participating in the nation's longest running wildlife survey, the 112th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Families, students, birders, and scientists armed with binoculars, bird guides, and checklists go out on an annual seasonal mission - often leaving before dawn. For decades, the desire to both make a difference and experience the beauty of nature has enticed dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the holiday season. The data collected by bird observers over the past century allow researchers, conservation biologists, and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, the CBC provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years.
In Massachusetts, there are 33 geographic "count circles"
where bird counts occur. Each count circle is coordinated by an experienced
Count Compiler who works with teams of birders who've signed up for
that circle's bird count. Beginning birders can join a group that includes
at least one or two experienced birdwatchers in charge of covering a
portion of the circle. In addition, if your home is within the boundaries
of a count circle, you can report the birds visiting your feeder. In
either case, if you have never been on a CBC before, locate and contact
your local Count Compiler to find out how you can participate. For more
information visit the MassBird
website. Information and history about the CBC can be found at National
Audubon's web page.
SAVE JANUARY DATES TO COUNT EAGLES
As part of an annual nationwide Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey, anyone
spotting an eagle in Massachusetts from January 4, 2012 - January 18,
2012 is strongly encouraged to report their sighting to the Division
of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW). Please provide date, time, location,
and town, number of birds, juvenile or adult bird, and observer contact
information. Images are welcome, but not required. Report sightings
either to: 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.
Dr. Tom French, DFW's Assistant Director of Natural Heritage and Endangered Species, noted that citizen interest in the eagle survey has been very help ful. "With higher numbers of eagles dispersing throughout their range, we can't possibly cover the entire state. Citizen spotters play an increasingly important role in our survey efforts. In January of 2011, we received 61 emailed reports from people who saw eagles during the 2-week survey period."
A target date of January 6, 2012 will be used for a concentrated survey
of major rivers, lakes, reservoirs and the coast by staff from the Division
of Fisheries and Wildlife and volunteers across the state. In 2011,
a record 107 bald eagles were documented in Massachusetts during the
one-day event. A
fact sheet on bald eagles.
FLY TYING CLINICS TO BE OFFERED IN WESTBOROUGH
During the winter months, fly fishermen and -women are busily tying
flies in anticipation of the spring fishing season. Two free clinics
will be offered at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters
in January and February. Join Jim Malo with the Angler Education Program
from 7:00 - 9 pm at the DFW Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd (off
North Drive) Westborough to learn about tying flies! The first clinic,
Basic Fly Tying, will take place January 17, 19, 24, 26. The second
clinic, Advanced Fly Tying, will be held on February 7, 9, 14, and 16.
Space is limited, enroll by calling Jim Lagacy, Angler Education Program
Coordinator at (508) 389-6309 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
December 8 -- Natural Heritage Advisory Committee Meeting, Westborough -- The next meeting is scheduled for December 8, 2011, 1:30 - 4:30 pm at the DFW Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road (off North Drive), in Westborough.
December 21 -- Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting, Westborough -- The Fisheries and Wildlife Board will hold its November meeting on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at Noon at the DFW Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road (off North Drive), in Westborough.
Both meetings are open to the public and the building is handicapped
to the Field Headquarters or call (508) 389-6300.
MASSWILDLIFE CALENDAR OF EVENTS - A
complete listing of wildlife related events, meetings and talks.
Last Updated: 01/20/2012