Buckley Appointed Director of Fisheries and Wildlife
New For 2015: Youth Deer Hunt Day
Pond Maps to Get Makeover
Antlerless Deer Permit Instant Award Period Begins August 1
Piping Plover Recovery
Attention Young Adults Interested in Pheasant Hunting
Quabbin Reservation Deer Hunt Application Deadline – August 15
Upcoming Meetings and Events


Buckley Appointed Director of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Jack Buckley was recently appointed Director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board. Buckley has been with MassWildlife since 1988 as Deputy Director of Administration.

“I am very grateful to the Board for giving me this extraordinary opportunity,” said MassWildlife Director Buckley. “While there are challenges ahead, I believe the future looks bright, and I look forward to working with hunters, anglers, trappers, environmentalists, and all citizens to fulfill our public trust responsibility to the people and natural resources of the Commonwealth.”
As a senior agency manager, Buckley has been directly involved with the development of fisheries and wildlife management and policy initiatives at MassWildlife. He has provided general management and research guidance to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; represented the Division’s interest to the legislature; worked with various constituent groups to implement agency initiatives; supervised the Federal Aid Program; provided supervision and guidance to the Information and Education staff; and coordinated programs with the Department of Fish and Game, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and other conservation partners.

In addition, Buckley has represented MassWildlife on several committees with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, including Legislative Affairs, Federal Budget, and International Affairs. He serves as the regional representative for the Northeastern states to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Technical Working Group.

Prior to working for the Division, Buckley was the Chief of Fisheries Management in Washington D.C. for the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. He was also a Project Leader at the Massachusetts Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he directed a multi-agency funded research project on the behavioral ecology and population dynamics of the endangered Shortnose Sturgeon. Buckley earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Fisheries Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Ripon College in Wisconsin. He lives in Hopkinton with his wife Jeanne Kelley.

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New For 2015: Youth Deer Hunt Day, Permits Available Soon

MassWildlife is pleased to announce the creation of a Youth Deer Hunt day in Massachusetts for hunters aged 12 to 17. This Hunt provides youth with an opportunity to hunt deer with their own deer tags during a special single-day season that precedes the Commonwealth’s annual archery, shotgun, and muzzleloader seasons. Hunters are reminded that all shotgun deer season regulations apply on the Youth Deer Hunt day. 

Season Date: October 3, 2015 (4th Saturday following Labor Day)

Hunting Implements: Shotgun, muzzleloader, or bow and arrow. Only one firearm/bow permitted between youth and adult.

License/Permit Requirements:

  • 12-14 years old –No hunting or sporting license required, Youth Deer Hunt Permit required. Youth must be accompanied by a duly licensed adult. (One adult per youth hunter.)
  • 15-17 years old –Massachusetts hunting or sporting license required, Youth Deer Hunt Permit required.

Youth Deer Hunt Permits are FREE, but must be obtained at a license vendor or MassWildlife office. Youth Deer Hunt Permits and tags are only valid for the Youth Deer Hunt day and cannot be used in later seasons.

Bag Limit: A Youth Deer Hunt Permit allows the take of one antlered deer in any Wildlife Management Zone OR one antlerless deer in Wildlife Management Zone(s) specified in the Permit. (In 2015, a deer of either sex can be taken statewide.) NOTE: Antlered deer taken during the Youth Deer Hunt day are NOT considered part of the statewide bag limit.

Blaze Orange: 500 square inches on chest, back, and head must be worn by youth hunters and accompanying adults.

Harvest Reporting: Successful hunters may report harvests online through the MassFishHunt system or at a traditional checkstation within 48 hours.

Read full regulation.

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Pond Maps to Get Makeover

MassWildlife has provided anglers and boaters with maps showing pond bottom topography, also known as bathymetry, since the 1940s and 1950s. Technology has changed a lot since that time, and MassWildlife has begaun the process of mapping ponds and lakes using new methods. The original maps were created by motoring (or in some cases rowing) a boat in a straight line across a lake at a constant, known speed. Echo soundings were taken at various points along this line and a timer was used to measure the time it took to travel the transect and the amount of time between each sounding.  Depths were assigned to locations on a map by first hand drawing each transect then using average speed and time signatures from each sounding to estimate its location along a specific transect.  Depth contours were then estimated and drawn often simply following the shape of the shoreline.

Today even common, commercially available technologies are capable of collecting similar amounts of data in a fraction of the time it took MassWildilfe biologists 60 years ago. Additionally, the use of modern equipment such as GPS measures depths and locations with pinpoint accuracy unlike past methodologies which were largely dependent upon a biologist’s approximation of location on the pond when the sounding was taken.

To create new pond maps, biologists use GPS sounders to record depth measurements and GPS coordinates at a user-defined interval; in our case every second. Depth readings are stored in the depth sounder as a boat is driven in a grid pattern on the lake or pond. Depth information is then imported into a geographic information system and plotted; any gaps are assigned a depth using a statistical model. While the original pond maps were created using anywhere between 50 and 150 data points, new maps often incorporate 8,000 to 12,000 points.  Modern statistical and data collection techniques using GPS, combined with a roughly 100-fold increase in the amount of data, result in pond maps that are far better representations of actual bathymetry.

So far, maps have been created for popular recreational lakes and ponds in the central and western parts of the state. As resources and time allow, it is MassWildlife’s goal to update all existing pond maps. Bathymetric mapping can only be done in the spring before aquatic vegetation prevents accurate bottom soundings and limits access to shallow sections of lakes and ponds. New pond maps will be available in color and will contain updated fisheries access information.

Click to view new pond maps:
Asnacomet Pond (Hubbardston)
Lake Singletary (Milbury/Sutton),
Lake Chauncy (Westborough)
Little Chauncy Pond (Northborough)
Long Pond (Rutland)
Pratt Pond (Upton)

View all pond maps by district, new maps will be posted as they become available.

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Antlerless Deer Permit Instant Award Period Begins August 1

Hunters who applied for an Antlerless Deer Permit by the July 16 deadline must return to the MassFishHunt licensing system to try to win a permit. The Instant Award Period begins August 1 at 8:00 A.M. and continues through December 31. This is NOT a first-come first-served system. The odds of winning an Antlerless Deer Permit during the Instant Award Period are the same whether a customer tries to win in August, September, or any time before December 31. (See below for allocations by zone). Hunters have one chance to try for an instant award Antlerless Deer Permit.

There are three ways in which a hunter may participate and try to win a permit: 1) Log into the MassFishHunt licensing system (see complete instructions below), 2) Visit a MassWildlife office, or 3) Visit a license agent location. Staff at these locations will access the MassFishHunt system on the customer’s behalf.

Instant Award Antlerless Deer Permit instructions using the MassFishHunt online system

  1. Log into the MassFishHunt system with your last name and customer ID
  2. Click the Enter Sales button at the bottom right of the screen
  3. Click Accept in the Customer Electronic Signature dialog box
  4. Choose Hunting Permits and Stamps from the main menu on the left
  5. Choose Add next to Antlerless Deer Permit
  6. The zone for which you previously applied will appear on the next screen. Click Select to check whether an Antlerless Deer Permit has been won for that zone
  7. One of two messages will appear in the center of the screen indicating the Antlerless Deer Permit win/lose status:
    Congratulations! You have been awarded an Antlerless Deer Permit which has been placed in your shopping cart. Close this window and click check out to purchase it.
    Unfortunately you did not win this product.

In the case of a “win,” an Antlerless Deer Permit will be placed in the shopping cart, and you may proceed to check out to complete the ($5.00) purchase. Antlerless Deer Permits will remain in the shopping cart until purchased or expired. Winning hunters are reminded to print their Antlerless Deer Permits upon completion of the transaction. All Antlerless Deer Permits expire on December 31 of the year issued. If you did not “win” a permit you do not have to take any further action.

MassWildlife uses regulated hunting during three distinct hunting seasons (archery, shotgun, and primitive) to manage the deer population across the state in 15 Wildlife Management Zones. The Fisheries and Wildlife Board oversees changes to the hunting seasons, bag limits, and Antlerless Deer Permit allocations, which are set annually to achieve population goals.

2015 Antlerless Deer Permit Allocations by Wildlife Management Zone


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Piping Plover Recovery

Did you know that Massachusetts is a leader in the protection and recovery of the Piping Plover, a threatened shorebird that nests on beaches from North Carolina to Newfoundland?  In 1986, the Atlantic Coast plover population was listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with only about 800 breeding pairs. Massachusetts also listed the Piping Plover as threatened pursuant to MA Endangered Species Act, with an estimated 140 breeding pairs present in 1986.

Since the listing, beach operators and owners, including many municipalities, have worked with MassWildlife to implement beach management measures to aid Piping Plover recovery. This commitment to Piping Plover management in accordance with guidelines developed by MassWildlife has led to a significant increase in the Massachusetts Piping Plover population. From 1986 – 2013, the population increased from an estimated 140 to 652 breeding pairs.  Because of this progress, Massachusetts now supports about 37% of the Atlantic Coast plover population.

All of this is great news; however, a healthier Piping Plover population can lead to greater challenges for beach managers trying to effectively manage habitat alongside recreation. For example, there are increasing incidences of Piping Plover nests in busy beach parking lots or chicks attempting to cross active roads. In these cases, avoiding all “take” (harm or mortality) has resulted in significant disruption of recreational beach use (e.g., parking lot or road closures). A larger population is also characterized by increased numbers of late-season nests, resulting in restrictions during the busy summer recreational season.  This situation threatens to erode community support for Piping Plover conservation, potentially jeopardizing the progress towards Plover recovery.

In order to ensure that Massachusetts continues to be a leader in Piping Plover conservation while maintaining and improving the public access, recreational opportunities, and economic activity associated with the Commonwealth’s beaches, MassWildlife is working to develop a Statewide Piping Plover Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This plan is written with input from stakeholders including local, state, and federal government; landowners; beach managers; non-governmental environmental organizations; and beach user groups.

The Draft Statewide Piping Plover HCP is expected to be available for public comment during the fall.  MassWildlife is pleased to be working cooperatively with beach managers on this important initiative to advance Piping Plover conservation in the Commonwealth while maintaining and improving recreational opportunities associated with our beaches.

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Attention Young Adults Interested in Pheasant Hunting

Hunter Education graduates between the ages of 12-17 can participate in the Young Adult Pheasant Hunt. This exciting program involves shooting instruction and practice, a pre-hunt workshop, and a mentored hunt prior to the regular pheasant season! All young adults ages 15-17 will need an FID card to participate in this program.

The Young Adult Pheasant Hunt takes place on Saturdays in September and October; specific dates vary and are determined by participating sportsman’s clubs.  For more information and to view participating clubs, please visit our website. If you have questions about this program, please contact Astrid Huseby at astrid.huseby@state.ma.us.

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Quabbin Reservation Deer Hunt Application Deadline – August 15

Applications for the 2015 Quabbin Reservation Controlled Deer Hunt are now available! Completed applications must be returned by August 15 to be eligible for the lottery drawing held in September. Hunters may obtain applications at DCR administrative offices at the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs, the Division of Water Supply Protection Office at DCR Headquarters, 251 Causeway Street in Boston, and DCR Quabbin Field Offices in New Salem and Oakham. Applications are also available at MassWildlife locations. Applications are also available through the DCR web page at www.mass.gov/dcr/deerhunt.

The 2015 Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt will occur during the state shotgun season in the Hardwick, New Salem, Petersham, and Prescott sections of the Quabbin Reservation. The hunt dates are: Petersham & Hardwick (December 3 & 4) and New Salem & Prescott (December 10 & 11). Applicants may apply in groups with a minimum of two hunters up to a maximum of six hunters on each application. There is an application fee of $5.00 per hunter.

All applications must be postmarked by August 15, or hand delivered to the Quabbin Visitor Center by 4:00 P.M. on that date to qualify for the permit selection process. Approximately 1,100 permits will be drawn based upon hunter’s license numbers in a special lottery on September 4. All successful applicants will receive written notification from the DCR by early October.
For more information, please call the Quabbin Visitor Center at (413) 323-7221 or click here.

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Upcoming Meetings and Events

August 8: DAR State Forest Fishing Clinic, Goshen – Join us with the Department of Conservation and Recreation for a fishing clinic at Upper Highland Lake in DAR State Forest in Goshen from 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. This is a free, non-competitive, family friendly, learn to fish event. Bring your own fishing equipment, or borrow ours- limited equipment and bait will be provided. *Open to the public – Contact Jim Lagacy at jim.lagacy@state.ma.us or 508-389-6309.

August 11: Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting and Public Hearing, Belchertown – The August meeting of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board will be held on August 11at 11AM at the Quabbin Reservoir, 485 Ware Road, in the Blue Meadow Conference Center, Blue Meadow Road, Belchertown. A public hearing will follow the Board meeting at the same location, at 2:00 PM to establish rules and regulations relative to the 2015-2016 migratory game bird seasons and methods of take. Please note: If you have a disability or medical condition and would like to request special accommodations, please contact Susan Sacco at 508-389-6342.

August 21 - 30: MassWildlife at the Marshfield Fair – Visit the MassWildlife exhibit while you enjoy the Marshfield Fair. Learn about some of the common wildlife living in your neighborhood and get your wildlife and outdoor recreation questions answered by MassWildlife staff. Click here for more information about the Marshfield Fair.

August 21 and 24: New England Cottontail Habitat Management Walks, Sandifield and Granville – MassWildlife Habitat Biologist, Marianne Piché, along with Natural Resources Conservation Services and Department of Conservation and Recreation Service Forestry staff will lead walks at two project sites. They will discuss New England Cottontail conservation, habitat management planning, funding, and permitting. One walk will be hosted by Chad Pease and the other by Charlie Sheets; two landowners who have completed habitat management on their properties. Join us to see these conservation efforts and learn what you can do to become involved! The walks will take place from 5:30 – 7:00 P.M. at 228 Sandisfield Rd. in Sandisfield on August 21 and on Main Rd. (0.1 miles east of Sheets Rd.) in Granville on August 24. Be prepared for a short walk on level but uneven and muddy terrain. Contact Marianne at 508-389-6313 or via email, marianne.piche@state.ma.us for more details.

August 29: Upton State Forest Anniversary Celebration, Upton – Join DCR and Friends of the Upton State Forest for an event celebrating the 80th anniversary of State Park designation of Upton State Forest and the opening of Camp SP-25, Civilian Conservation Corps. Did you know MassWildlife staff once worked at Upton State Forest in the Phillips Wildlife Lab in the 1940’s through 1955? MassWildlife staff will host a display at the celebration to share historical information about the agency. Click here for more information.  

Click here to view all upcoming meetings and events.

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