MassWildlife Monthly: February 2015

Appointments and Retirement Announced
Save Something on Your Taxes this Year
2014 Freshwater Sportfishing Award Winners Announced
Enter Junior Duck Stamp Contest Before March 15th
Hunters, Fill Out the Electronic Hunter Survey
Preliminary 2014 Deer Harvest Report
2014 Black Bear Harvest Report
Upcoming Events and Meetings

 

Appointments and Retirement Announced

At the January 29 Fisheries and Wildlife Board meeting, officials announced that George N. Peterson, Jr. of Grafton was appointed to serve as the Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game and that Mary-Lee King of Hudson will serve as Deputy Commissioner.  “As an avid outdoorsman and former commercial fisherman, George will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as a unique understanding of the issues most important to sportsmen and commercial fishermen across the Commonwealth,” said Matthew Beaton, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Peterson served for 20 years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives representing the Ninth Worcester District. Prior to his time on Beacon Hill, George served in municipal government for 10 years in the town of Grafton. In the private sector, George worked as a commercial fisherman based out of Gloucester, MA, and also owned a wholesale and retail seafood business. George is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts – Stockbridge School in Amherst where he earned a degree in Park Management and Arboriculture.  Peterson expressed his thanks for the opportunity, “I am honored to lead the Department of Fish and Game and look forward to upholding the Department’s ongoing commitment to the protection of the Commonwealth’s wildlife, open space, and outdoors educational programs.”

Mary-Lee King served as the Interim Commissioner for the Department of Fish and Game for the past month and before that, served as Legislative Director for the Department. “Having worked for the last six years in the Department, I look forward to continuing to work with the agency’s talented and committed staff,” said King.

At the same meeting, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Director Wayne MacCallum announced his retirement effective the end of February 2015. He has been Director for 27 years. MacCallum received his Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Massachusetts in 1968 and his Master’s Degree from Penn State University where he studied the nesting ecology of Black Ducks. MacCallum joined the then Massachusetts Division of Fish & Game as a waterfowl technician. Shortly thereafter, he entered the private sector and over a ten year period progressed from Staff Scientist, to Manager of environmental management services for Woodward Clyde Consultants.  MacCallum returned to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) in 1983 as the Assistant Director of Wildlife and became Director in 1988. MacCallum has served as president of the Northeast Fish and Wildlife Directors Association and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.  Wayne MacCallum served as chairman of the Atlantic Flyway Council, the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture, and the Woodcock Task Force.  He also served as a member of the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, the Sea Duck Joint Venture, and the International Task Force on Waterfowl Regulations.  He has been honored by numerous conservation and sporting groups in Massachusetts and by professional and national conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, The Wildlife Society and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

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Save Something on Your Taxes this Year

More than 425 plants and animals are recognized as rare in MA. Please contribute to endangered wildlife conservation on your MA income tax form this tax season. Look for line 32a. “Endangered Wildlife Conservation” on your state income tax form. All donations go into the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Fund, a critical source for the annual budget of MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. About 20,000 tax-filers support the Program each year. If you have a contribution in the past, thank you for supporting the Program and its conservation efforts! Visit our website to read more about contributing to rare species conservation this year.

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2014 Freshwater Sportfishing Award Winners Announced

Winners of the 2014 Freshwater Sportfishing Awards have been announced! Mark Mohan, Jr. of Pembroke and Todd Matera of Palmer tied for 2014 Adult Angler of the Year, catching 10 species each. Jake Souza of Berkley is 2014 Youth Angler of the Year, catching 11 species. The list of 2014 Adult and Youth Gold Pin winners are posted on our website. The Freshwater Sportfishing Awards ceremony will be held this spring; details will be announced when the date is finalized. Meanwhile, interested anglers of all ages who would like to participate in the 2015 program should visit our Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program web page to learn more. Remember, anglers now have two options for submit their trophy catch: catch & keep and catch & release.

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Calling All Youth Artists! Enter the Junior Duck Stamp Contest Before March 15th 

2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program in Massachusetts. “There is still time to enter the Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp (JDS) contest,” advises MassWildlife’s Education Coordinator Pam Landry. “Any student, from kindergarten through grade 12, regardless of whether they attend public or private school or are home-schooled, can submit original artwork in this fun and educational competition. Even if students do not enter the art competition, the related information can be valuable in an art or science classroom.” The entry deadline is March 15, 2015.

The JDS program links the study of wetlands and waterfowl conservation with the creation of original artwork. Students in grades K-12 learn about the habitat requirements of various kinds of ducks and geese and then express their knowledge of the beauty, diversity, and interdependence of these species artistically, by creating a drawing or painting and submitting it to the JDS art contest. The art is judged in four age group categories in a statewide competition; the entry judged Best of Show moves on to represent Massachusetts in the national JDS competition. Art teachers, science teachers, and parents who home-school can visit our website for an information packets and entry information.

Landry also noted that there are opportunities for aspiring artists to see artwork from last year’s contest:

  • Through February 15th, young artists in the southeastern part of the state can visit the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford to view an exhibit of 2014 JDS art. Bring family and friends to see these terrific works of art by children of all ages!
  • In early March, an exhibit of JDS art will be on display at the Notre Dame Academy in Worcester.

For the full JDS exhibit schedule, click here. For more information contact Pam Landry at (508) 389-6310, or pam.landry@state.ma.us.

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Hunters, Fill Out the Electronic Hunter Survey

Beginning in mid-February, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife will send out an electronic hunter survey to approximately 32,000 licensed hunters through Novi Survey, an online survey company. The survey is designed to understand hunter effort and preferences and to collect important local “on-the-ground” information that will help manage game in the Commonwealth. The survey takes approximately 5-15 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous; identifying information such as email and IP address will not be recorded. In the coming weeks, sporting or hunting license holders with an email address in the MassFishHunt system will receive an email invitation from MassWildlife /Novi Survey with a link to the hunter survey. Surveys are being sent in batches through the end of March.

If you haven’t received the survey by the end of March, hunters should check junk or spam folder for an email from MassWildlife/Novi Survey. The link is specific to each email address; therefore, hunters should not forward the invitation to others as it can only be filled out once. A reminder will be emailed to license holders who have not responded within a week. Division staff thanks those who have already taken the time to fill out the survey. In order to receive future surveys, make sure to enter an email address in the customer profile section of the MassFishHunt system.

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Preliminary 2014 Deer Harvest Summary

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) reports that the preliminary deer harvest for 2014 (excluding Quabbin and any data not yet received) is 11,165, which is close to last year’s harvest. The preliminary archery season harvest is 4,456, the preliminary shotgun season harvest is 4,742, and the preliminary primitive season harvest is 1,967.

Zone

Archery

Shotgun

Primitive

Total

1

63

129

42

234

2

122

230

96

448

3

111

254

79

444

4N

133

213

86

432

4S

76

62

41

179

5

186

324

108

618

6

25

91

31

147

7

220

302

97

619

8

242

427

137

806

9

386

409

188

983

10

1205

656

470

2331

11

1176

873

423

2472

12

106

114

37

257

13

198

337

59

594

14

207

321

73

601

Total

4456

4742

1967

11165

Click here for a wildlife management zone map.

Preliminary Summary by Zone: The 2014 preliminary harvest data for zones 1-5 shows low female harvest and a corresponding increase in adult male harvest, indicating that deer densities in these zones are generally increasing toward DFW’s goals. Deer densities in zones 6-9 appear to be within DFW’s goals. Densities in Zones 10 and 11 are still above goal, but more towns are increasing access to lands for hunting, which is one of the most important parts of managing deer in a suburban setting. Deer densities on Martha’s Vineyard (zone 13) and Nantucket (zone 14) remain significantly above DFW’s management goals.

While total harvest by zone can be informative, it doesn’t provide the complete picture for monitoring trends in deer density because total harvest is influenced by antlerless deer permit allocations in each zone. The DFW Deer Project Leader analyzes harvest, biological, and hunter effort data, along with hunter success rates, female versus male harvest, and other factors to manage deer populations in each zone. An analysis of this information is now underway for the annual spring deer management review. A complete harvest summary will be posted on the DFW website shortly after the annual deer review, so please check back in May or June.

Keep an eye on your email inbox for our annual hunter survey. All hunters who included a valid email address in their MassFishHunt profile will receive a hunter survey by email in February or March.

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2014 Black Bear Harvest Report

Bear Project Leader Laura Conlee reports that a record 240 bears were harvested during the split fall season, 203 in September and 37 in November. In total, 132 males and 107 females were taken. Harvest breakdown by county is as follows: 78 in Berkshire; 56 in Franklin; 51 in Hampden; 43 in Hampshire; 4 in Middlesex; and 8 in Worcester.

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Upcoming Events and Meetings

February 6–8: New England Fishing and Outdoor Expo, Boxborough – Stop by MassWildlife’s booth to purchase fishing/hunting licenses, ask questions, and pick up information on fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation in MA. The Expo is located at the Holiday Inn at 242 Adams Place, Boxborough. For more information, directions, and show times, visit the Expo website.

February 7: Merrimack River Eagle Festival, Newburyport – Come to Newburyport for a full day of activities celebrating the restoration of bald eagles! Visit Eagle Hot Spots, go on a guided tour, see live raptors, make an eagle mask, or dissect an owl pellet. Coordinated by MassAudubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, this annual winter event is a great opportunity to learn about eagles in the area. While there, visit MassWildlife biologist Pat Huckery who will be stationed with a spotting scope at one the Eagle Hot Spots at Deer Island near the chain bridge (accessible only from Newburyport). Dress for the outdoors and wear sturdy, water proof boots.

February 7: Growing Up WILD Professional Development Workshop, Plymouth – Pre-school educators are invited to this fun, hands-on, 6-hour workshop that focuses on early childhood education. The Growing Up WILD Activity Guide builds on a children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. The workshop takes place at Southeastern Mass Pine Barrens Alliance office. Please contact Karen Kurkoski at kkurkoski@yahoo.com or (508) 747-0526. Registration deadline is January 23, 2015.

February 7: Growing Up WILD Professional Development Workshop, Westborough – Pre-school educators are invited to this fun, hands-on, 6-hour workshop that focuses on early childhood education. The Growing Up WILD Activity Guide builds on a children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. The workshop takes place at Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Field Headquarters. Please contact Pam Landry at pam.landry@state.ma.us or (508) 389-6310. Registration deadline is January 28, 2015.

February 8: Annual Meeting of the Hubbardston/Ware River Nature Club, Barre (Storm date: February 15)

  • The Unexpected and Sudden Decline in Massachusetts Bats, Barre – Presented by Tom French, Assistant Director of DFW for the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
  • Massachusetts Grassland Birds and Bluebird Trail Restoration – Presented by DFW State Ornithologist, Andrew Vitz.

Both talks will take place at the annual meeting of the Hubbardston/Ware River Nature Club. The event, celebrating the organization’s first year of existence, includes dinner and silent auction. The event will take place at Hartman’s Herb Farm (1026 Old Dana Road, Barre) is from 12:30 – 5:00. For more information, to make a reservation, or to donate to the auction, contact hubbardstonnatureclub@yahoo.com.

February 12: Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee Meeting, Westborough – The meeting will take place at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters Office located at 1 Rabbit Hill Road in Westborough from 1:30- 4:30 P.M. in the Southwest Meeting Room, Room #103. 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.

February 15: Wildlife Habitat Management Options, Sterling – Rebecca DiGirolomo, MassWildlife Habitat Biologist, will discuss the importance of management for animals like ruffed grouse, New England cottontails, woodcock, and whip-poor-wills. She will talk about different types of management and about how to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife on your land. The talk will be held at First Church Parish Hall, 6 Meetinghouse Hill Road in Sterling at 2:30 P.M. The event is free and open to the public and the building is handicapped accessible. For more information, contact Marion Larson, SLT Board Member, at (978) 422-5162 or email marion46@verizon.net.

February 19–22: Springfield Sportsmen’s Show, West Springfield – The Springfield Sportsmen’s Show is loaded with hunting, fishing, boating, and outdoor recreation activities. Swing by MassWildlife’s exhibit to pick up hunting/fishing information, ask questions, or purchase hunting/fishing licenses. This event is located at the Eastern States Exposition, Home of the Big E at 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. For more information, directions, and show times, visit the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show website.

February 23*: Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting, Westborough – The meeting will begin at 10:00 A.M. at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Field Headquarters, Richard Cronin Building, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, off North Drive in Westborough.  If you have a disability or medical condition and would like to request special accommodations, please contact Susan Sacco at (508) 389-6342. (*Note new date.)

March 7: Growing Up WILD Professional Development Workshop, Lenox – Pre-school educators are invited to this fun, hands-on, 6-hour workshop that focuses on early childhood education. The Growing Up WILD Activity Guide builds on a children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. MA Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox.  Click here to for more information about this workshop pdf format of GUW Audubon Pleasant Valley. Please contact Pam Landry at pam.landry@state.ma.us or (508) 389-6310 for registration details. Registration deadline is February 20, 2015.

March 7: Basic Freshwater Fly Tying Course, Worcester  – This course will be held at the Lower Forty Fly Shop at 134 Madison St, Worcester, MA 01610 in cooperation with the Charlton Conservation Department from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. This is a beginner’s fly tying course with the focus on simple trout fishing patterns. Todd Girard will be the lead instructor, and all materials and equipment will be provided. *Open to the public -  limited to 6 people – minimum age is 12 - PRE-REGISTRATION IS MADATORY. Contact Jim Bender at 508-752-4004.

March 10 & 12: Basic Freshwater Fly Tying Course, Westborough – This course will take place at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters, Westborough (1 Rabbit Hill Rd), from 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. This is a free, two session course for beginning fly tyers only – weather permitting participation is strongly encouraged for both sessions. All tools and tying materials provided. *Open to the public – Minimum age is 12 - PRE-REGISTRATION IS MANDATORY – contact Jim Lagacy @ 508-389-6309, or jim.lagacy@state.ma.usto pre-register.

March 11: Massachusetts Environmental Education Society Conference, Worcester – Join MEES for their 2015 Annual Conference at the College of Holy Cross Hogan Campus Center. This year’s conference will explore Environmental Education principles for all ages, spaces, and places. Join fellow environmental educators and advocates in exploring ways to reach the very young, get those in urban environments outdoors, and deepen our experiences outdoors. For the program brochure, including a full list of workshops, click here. To register, click here.

For a full list of events, visit our calendar page.

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