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DRIVERS, BRAKE FOR MOOSE AND DEER THIS FALL! 8/30/13 #8
Because fall is the breeding season for both moose and white-tailed deer, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) reminds motorists to be mindful of increased deer and moose activity, especially during early morning and evening hours. September and October is the breeding season for Massachusetts' moose population found primarily in central and western Massachusetts. The breeding season (also known as "the rut") for white-tailed deer closely follows the moose breeding season from late October through early December. Male deer and moose experience "tunnel-vision" during the mating season created by the urge to reproduce. They will often chase females across roads, unaware of motor vehicles. Additionally, because moose have no natural predators in Massachusetts and are protected by law from hunting, these large (500-1,000 lbs) members of the deer family are unconcerned as they move through populated areas. The dark color and height of moose make them difficult to see at night (moose eyes rarely shine like deer eyes because moose eyes are above headlight levels). Long legs and top heavy bodies make moose very dangerous to motorists when struck.
Be aware and heed "Moose and Deer Crossing" signs erected by highway departments. Motorists are advised to slow down. Do not swerve to avoid hitting a deer because it may lead to more risk and damage than hitting the deer. Moose are less likely to move from the road than deer; so braking and driving defensively for moose is your best policy! Police and other departments responding to moose or deer/car collisions are reminded that while drivers or passengers are allowed by law to keep white-tailed deer they have hit with their vehicle (salvaged deer must be officially reported), only the DFW or the Environmental Police can make decisions regarding the disposition of moose. All moose or deer/vehicle collisions should be reported to the Environmental Police (800) 632-8075 and to DFW Wildlife District offices.
People in kayaks and canoes are reminded that from September 15, 2013 to May 15, 2014 and every year, paddlers must wear their life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) while boating. According to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, most boating fatalities in Massachusetts are due to boaters who fail to wear PFDs while in small craft in cold water or cold weather situations. Waterfowl hunters using canoes or kayaks are reminded that this law also applies to them.
Migratory game bird seasons, bag limits, and methods of take for the 2013-14 seasons are posted on the agency website . The early statewide goose season began Tuesday, September 3, 2013. Hard copies of the migratory game bird regulations will be available at license vendor locations and MassWildlife offices later in September.
All migratory game bird hunters are reminded they must complete an online Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey for Massachusetts each calendar year. Waterfowl hunters register with HIP automatically when they buy their state waterfowl stamp. If you only hunt woodcock or other migratory game birds you must also complete the HIP survey to be in compliance. If you have not completed the HIP survey, visit a local license vendor, MassWildlife office, or go online to www.mass.gov/massfishhunt directly from any online computer to be sure you have completed the survey. Your license must have either the notation “HIP Survey Completed” or “Waterfowl Stamp” when printed.
O n September 22, 2013, families, friends, Scouts, and other groups are invited to a free day of outdoor skills activities and demonstrations at the 17th annual Massachusetts Outdoor Expo (Big MOE), held on the Hamilton Rod and Gun Club grounds from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, in Sturbridge. The Big MOE, sponsored by the Facts About Wildlife and Nature Society (FAWNS), is a free, family-oriented event celebrating outdoor skills, nature, art, and wildlife. The Big MOE is the perfect opportunity to introduce young and old to outdoor skills and activities such as fishing, kayaking, shooting, archery, building a bird box, geocaching, mountain biking, forest management, nature arts and crafts, eastern and western pioneer encampments, live birds of prey, native reptiles, and tree stand safety demonstrations. This year, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will feature their mobile pellet gun range, turkey call making, turkey feathers and decoys and the opportunity to talk to a turkey biologist. New this year, a Camping station will be staffed by a Girl Scout Troop and Tekoa Mountain Outdoors and a new Watershed station will be run by The Last Green Valley National Corridor. This year’s Kayaking station will be staffed by ZOAR Outdoors.
The Big MOE is cosponsored by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, the Hamilton Rod and Gun Club, the Weatherby Foundation, Whitetails Unlimited, and the Worcester County League of Sportsmen's Clubs. Sportsmen's clubs; locally-based, outdoor-related businesses; and other conservation groups host a variety of skills stations, craft tables, and other exhibits relating to wildlife and the outdoors. More information and a Big MOE flyer to share with others can be found at www.fawnsexpo.com.
Over the past year, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has worked with its licensing vendor, Active Outdoors, to address the problems experienced in 2012 by hunters purchasing surplus Antlerless Deer Permits. Many system improvements have been put in place, but as an added precaution, the Division has made the following changes to the sale of Surplus Antlerless Deer Permits for 2013:
Staggered Sales Dates -- This year, to reduce user volume, sale of Surplus Antlerless Deer Permits by Wildlife Management Zone will be staggered over the following days beginning in early October:
- Zone 11 permits will go on sale on Tuesday, October 1st at 8AM
- Zone 10 permits will go on sale on Wednesday, October 2nd at 8AM
- Zone 13 and 14 permits will go on sale on Thursday, October 3rd at 8AM
Once on sale, permits will remain available until sold out in each Wildlife Management Zone. Hunters are reminded that they can only purchase permits through www.mass.gov/massfishhunt on an online computer, at a license vendor location, or at a DFW office.
New Menu Option -- Surplus Antlerless Deer Permits will be in a more visible location on the web page and will no longer be located within the "Hunting Permits and Stamps" area. Information on antlerless deer permits is posted on the Antlerless Deer Permit Update webpage.
If you are 12-17 years old and a Basic Hunter Education graduate, the Youth Pheasant Hunt Program may be for you! This program provides youths who don’t have family or friends to take them hunting with an opportunity to develop their shooting skills and take part in a hunt with an experienced adult mentor hunter on designated youth hunt days prior to the regular pheasant hunting season. The program is conducted by sporting clubs across the state with the assistance of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
The Youth Pheasant Hunt Program consists of three segments—shooting instruction and practice, a pre-hunt workshop, and finally, the actual pheasant hunt. During the shooting instruction, participants learn and practice the fundamentals of shotgun shooting and firearms safety by receiving hands-on instruction at a club range prior to the hunt. The pre-hunt workshop is a hands-on "in the field” session that includes instruction, working with dogs, and other upland bird hunting practices. The actual pheasant hunt takes place in the field under the watchful eye of a safe, responsible, experienced adult hunter. To find out what clubs offer this youth program, visit the Youth Pheasant Hunt Program web page or contact Youth Hunt Program Coordinator, Astrid Huseby at email@example.com or call her at (508) 389-6305.
Since 1972, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has offered the opportunity for paraplegic sportsmen and sportswomen to hunt deer in several locations across the state during a special three-day season. This year's hunt dates are October 31 – November 2, 2013. Locations will include Devens (Harvard/Lancaster), Quabbin Reservation (Belchertown), two properties in northern and southern Berkshire County, and Otis/Edwards Military Reservation (Falmouth). Licensed paraplegic hunters who have an interest in participating in this hunt should contact Trina Moruzzi at (508) 389-6318 or email her at Trina.Moruzzi@state.ma.us for more details.
The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) will be conducting wildlife habitat management site walks on the following state wildlife lands for interested conservation-minded citizens and landowners.
- September 24 – West Stockbridge, Maple Hill WMA
- October 3 – Hardwick, Muddy Brook WMA (Patrill Hollow)
- October 10 – Southwick, Southwick WMA
These walks are designed to provide an opportunity for attendees to learn how habitat management benefits different kinds of wildlife in special need of conservation. Conducted by DFW biologists and foresters, these walks will cover planned habitat management activities on the agency’s wildlife lands. Attendees may have a chance to encounter some of the wildlife benefiting from these activities while learning about the enhanced recreational opportunities that result from this work. DFW encourages landowners interested in managing their own properties for wildlife to take advantage of this opportunity to find out more about wildlife habitat management. Dress for the weather; plan on all events occurring rain or shine. Consider bringing binoculars, camera, and wearing sturdy boots. For cooler weather, dress warmly! More details about meeting times and locations will be posted later in September in the Wildlife Habitat Conservation area of the DFW website.
September 12 – Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Advisory Committee Meeting, West Boylston – The Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Advisory Committee will be meeting on Thursday, September 12, 2013 from 1:30PM - 4:30PM at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's Field Headquarters, 100 Hartwell Street in West Boylston on. The building is handicapped accessible. Call (508) 389-6360 for further information.
September 24 – Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting and Public Hearing, Dalton – The Fisheries & Wildlife Board will meet on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 1:00PM at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Western District Office located on 88 Old Windsor Road, Dalton. A Public Hearing will be held at the same location at 3:00PM to establish and amend rules and regulations relative to the Artificial Propagation of Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians; the Exemption List; and the List of Domestic Animals. Call (508) 389-6300 for more information.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS—Visit the Calendar and Events page at www.mass.gov/masswildlife for more listings.
September 6 – History and Status of Bald Eagles in Massachusetts, Medford –Andrew Vitz, MassWildlife State Ornithologist will be giving a short presentation on Bald Eagles in Massachusetts at the Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch Annual Meeting to be held at the Congregational Church, 400 High Street in West Medford on Friday, September 6. Social hour begins at 6, the meeting and guest speakers program begins at 7 PM. This event is free and open to the public. The keynote speaker, Dr. Bryan Watts, will talk about Eagles of the Chesapeake. Further details on the meeting and speakers are at: http://www.massbird.org/emhw/2013_Meeting.htm.
September 5-8 – MassWildlife at the 165th Franklin County Fair, Greenfield -- Visit the DFW exhibit while you enjoy the fair. Learn about some of the common wildlife living in your neighborhood or community. Ask your wildlife and outdoor recreation questions of the DFW staff at the exhibit. More information about the Franklin County Fair.
September 7 – Harold Parker State Forest Family Fishing Festival , Andover-- At Harold Parker State Forest’s Sudden Pond from 10 AM - 2 PM, you can cast a line, learn about fish in our waters, safety, ethics, and fishing equipment. If you have fishing equipment, bring it along. A limited quantity of fishing equipment and bait will be available. MassWildlife’ Angler Education Program is participating in this festival in cooperation with Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Harold Parker State Forest. Contact the State Forest at (978) 686-3391.
September 14 – Fall Wildflower Walk, Warwick – The Town of Warwick is celebrating it’s 250th Anniversary with a series of events throughout the year. The Warwick Conservation Commission and the Mt. Grace Land Conservation Trust are co-sponsoring a wildflower walk to be led by Karro Frost, MassWildlife Conservation Botanist. Meet at the Arthur Iverson Conservation Area on Gale Road at 2 PM. Bring a hat, water, camera, and be sure to wear sturdy footgear and weather-appropriate clothing. For more information, contact the Mt Grace Land Trust at http://www.mountgrace.org/ or call (978) 248-2043.
September 18 – A Tale of Two Weasels, Upton – The Friends of the Upton State Forest is sponsoring a talk about river otters and fishers presented by MassWildlife Biologist Trina Moruzzi. The program is free and open to the public and will begin at 7PM at the Nipmuc Regional High School Professional Development Center (2nd floor) located at 90 Pleasant St, Upton. For more information, contact the Friends of Upton State Forest.
September 19 – Beavers in Massachusetts, Westhampton –Join MassWildlife biologist Laura Conlee who will talk about this industrious aquatic mammal that can create valuable habitat for many types of wildlife, but sometimes can cause problems for people. This free presentation begins at 7 PM at the Westhampton Public Library, 1 North Road, Westhampton. This venue is handicapped accessible. The sponsoring organization is the Red Oak Hill Neighborhood Association. (413) 527-5386.
September 21 – Growing Up WILD Workshop for Pre-School Educators, Turner’s Falls (Montague) -- Pre-school educators are invited to this fun, practical 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. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, it provides a foundation for developing positive impressions about nature while also building lifelong social and cognitive skills for students ages 3-7 years. The Guide is correlated to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards and the Head Start Domains. Workshop participants will receive a copy of the Growing Up WILD guide and a certificate of completion. Please bring a brown bag lunch, mug or water bottle and wear comfortable clothes & shoes for outdoor activities. Project WILD is sponsored by DFW and the Massachusetts Wildlife Federation. Pre-registration is required, fee is $25. Please contact Pam Landry at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (508) 389-6310.
September 25 – Black Bears in Northampton – A free, public presentation about black bears titled “Our Neighbor the Black Bear; How to Keep Them and Us Safe” will be presented at 7PM in t the Forbes Library, 20 West Street, Northampton. Ralph Taylor, MassWildlife District Supervisor will talk about black bears, the Division’s long term studies on bears, and how state agencies respond to bear situations. A Northampton Public Health representative will discuss the new city ordinance on feeding wildlife. This talk is co-sponsored by MassWildlife, the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, City of Northampton and Riverbend Animal Hospital.
September 28 –Myles Standish State Forest 5th Annual Take Me Fishing Event, Carver – This family-friendly event will be at Fearing Pond at Myles StandishState Forest from 10:00 - 3:00 PM. The event is held in cooperation with the Friends of Myles Standish State Forest and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. 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. A limited quantity of fishing equipment and bait will be available. For more information, contact Sharl Heller at email@example.com.