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11/5/14           #11

 

 

2015 LICENSES GO ON SALE DECEMBER 1 

LAKE TROUT SAMPLING

HUNT S.A.F.E. AND PREVENT FIREARM ACCIDENTS

HUNTERS HAVE OPTIONS FOR HARVEST REPORTING

RAFTING FOR LOONS

UPCOMING MEETINGS

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

 

 

2015 LICENSES GO ON SALE DECEMBER 1 

 

2015 hunting, sporting, fishing, and trapping licenses will be available for purchase starting Monday, December 1st at all license vendor locations, MassWildlife District offices, the Westborough Field Headquarters, and on the internet through the MassFishHunt system. Anyone 15 or older needs a license in order to fish in freshwater or to hunt. During December, it is possible to purchase either a 2014 or a 2015 license; therefore, license buyers should use care when selecting the year when making a purchase. Minors 15-17 years of age may not purchase hunting or sporting licensees online and must have certain documentation in their possession when making a license purchase at a MassWildlife District office or other license vendor location. Freshwater fishing licenses for minors ages 15-17 are free and can be obtained online. Learn more about license purchasing requirements.

 

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LAKE TROUT SAMPLING

 

This fall, MassWildlife will be sampling the waters of the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs in an ongoing effort to monitor Lake Trout populations. Each year, with the help of DCR and a few hardy volunteers, MassWildlife collects Lake Trout from the Quabbin Reservoir to examine population characteristics. This year MassWildlife will be conducting a similar effort on the Wachusett Reservoir. To capture Lake Trout, field crews set nets on the spawning grounds starting around sunset and check them about every 20 minutes. Captured fish are removed from the nets, placed in livewells, and length, weight, and sex are recorded. In addition, a small tag is inserted into the fish that can be used to identify the individual if caught at a later date. If that same fish is collected next year, biologists will know exactly how much growth occurred in a one-year time period. Lake trout are very slow-growing fish and traditional methods of determining age, (i.e. reading the rings on scales) do not work well.

 

Lake Trout typically spawn in late October and November when the surface water temperatures drop to or below 50˚F. The spawning grounds are typically shallow, rocky waters on windy shores of the Reservoirs; spawning occurs mostly after dusk. Night sampling on big waters can be cold and icy in November, but the information it provides biologists is well worth the effort. Sampling efforts like this are just one way that MassWildlife monitors the health of the fish resources of the Commonwealth.

 

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MASSWILDLIFE & NSSF URGE YOU TO HUNT S.A.F.E. AND PREVENT FIREARM ACCIDENTS

           

Responsible hunting is a time-honored tradition that plays an important part in managing wildlife in the Commonwealth. Responsible hunting means respecting game animals, hunting ethically, and hunting safely. Because this is a time of year when a lot of firearms are in use and in transport, MassWildlife and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reminds hunters that they can take steps to prevent firearm accidents in the field, at the range, at home, and everywhere in between. That means remembering that “The Hunt Isn’t Over Until You Are S.A.F.E.” 

 

S.A.F.E. stands for Secure your firearms when not in use; be Aware of those around you who should not have access to firearms; Focus on your responsibility as a firearm owner; and Educate yourself and others about safe firearm handling and storage.

 

Safe and secure storage of firearms is the best way to prevent firearm accidents. To complement MassWildlife’s hunter education program and provide additional resources on proper firearm storage and safety, NSSF has made several resources available on the project childsafe website. Together we want to help everyone hunt responsibly, return home safely, and store unloaded firearms securely.

 

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mobile reporting.jpgHUNTERS HAVE OPTIONS FOR HARVEST REPORTING

Successful hunters may report (“check”) their harvest online using the MassFishHunt system or by going to a traditional checkstation. Visit the MassWildlife website for detailed instructions and locations: game check information, checkstation map.

 

When reporting a harvest online, it is easiest to use a desktop computer. However, if you choose to use a mobile device for reporting, please consider the following: mobile device users should click Desktop View at the bottom of the screen (see photo). If Desktop view is not selected, you cannot access the Report a Harvest feature.

 

 

SHOTGUN DEER SEASON: All deer harvested during shotgun season MUST be checked at a traditional checkstation. Online checking will NOT be available during this time (December 1 – 13, 2014). Reporting deer at checkstations during these two weeks allows biologists to collect valuable data needed for deer management. Click here to find a checkstation.

 

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RAFTING FOR LOONS 

For years, MassWildlife has monitored loons nesting in the state. Observations during the summer of 2014 documented 39 loon pairs on 16 lakes and ponds. Out of the 23 chicks that hatched, 18 survived to fledgling. These fledglings will migrate to the coast to live in the ocean for the next few years, then will return to their natal areas and try to establish territories of their own.

 

Common Loons, listed as a Species of Special Concern under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, returned to nest in Massachusetts in 1975 after being absent as a breeding bird for almost a century. From 1975 to 1983 loon pair activity was only observed on the Quabbin Reservoir. In 1984, loon activity was also observed on the Wachusett Reservoir. By 1986, loon nesting activity began to spread to other water bodies in the state.

 

In addition to monitoring loon activity, MassWildlife has partnered with other agencies and organizations to improve nesting sites for loons. Common Loons cannot walk well and only come on land in spring to breed and build nests within a few feet of the shoreline. The fluctuating water levels of reservoirs can be a problem for loons. If water levels rise, nests and eggs flood and will not hatch. If water levels drop more than 6 to 12 inches, nests are abandoned because loons cannot walk to the nest. To reduce nest losses on reservoirs, rafts are constructed using cedar logs and foam with vegetation placed on top to resemble a small island. The raft is floated and anchored in loon territory. Because the raft floats, it protects the nest and eggs from being flooded or stranded. This past summer, loon rafts were deployed at the Wachusett and Quabbin Reservoirs and where loon pairs have been reported and on reservoirs operated by the Fitchburg and Pittsfield water departments.

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