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MassWildlife Monthly September 2023

News from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Table of Contents

Fall trout stocking

Over 61,000 trout will be stocked across Massachusetts starting around mid-September. Go to mass.gov/trout to see a map and list of fall stocking locations.

Summer may be winding down, but the fishing opportunities are still going strong! Fall is a great time to fish, get tips for fall trout fishing and fall bass fishing.

Antlerless Deer Permit announcement

Antlerless Deer Permits (ADPs) are required to harvest antlerless deer (deer without antlers or antlers less than 3” long). You can only harvest antlerless deer in the zone specified on your ADP. Allocations are set by wildlife management zone to help meet deer management goals.

ADP award period underway

Hunters who applied for an Antlerless Deer Permit before the July 16 deadline can now return to MassFishHunt to see if they were awarded the permit and they may check their permit status any time between August 1 and December 31. The easiest way to check the award status and purchase an ADP is online through MassFishHunt. In-person sales are also available at select license vendor locations and MassWildlife offices.

Surplus Antlerless Deer Permits

All hunters will have the opportunity to buy surplus permits in September for zones 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. MassWildlife makes surplus permits available for zones that have permits remaining after the Application/Award process. Surplus permits provide additional opportunity for hunters and minimize the number of permits that go unused. Anyone with a valid hunting or sporting license can buy a surplus ADP. You do not need to have applied for an ADP by the July 16 deadline to be eligible for surplus permits. The easiest way to buy a license or a surplus permit is online through MassFishHunt. In-person sales are also available at select license vendor locations and MassWildlife offices. 

Limited permits available for Zones 3, 7, 9, and 12
A limited number of Antlerless Deer Permits are available for zones 3, 9, and 12. Surplus ADPs for zones 3, 7, 9, and 12 will be available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 27. Limit 1 ADP per zone per day until they sell out.

TIPS: Limited surplus permits for Zones 3, 7, 9, and 12 will sell out very quickly. In some cases, they may sell out in less than 5 minutes. To improve your chances of getting a limited surplus permit in zones 3, 7, 9, or 12, prepare ahead of time. Make sure you have already purchased your hunting or sporting license beforehand. Purchasing online is your best chance for securing a limited surplus permit.

  • Buying online: Make sure you know your email address and password to log in. Check to make sure your password isn’t expired in advance, as it will take time to reset your password if it is expired! Have a credit card ready. Log in by 8:50 a.m. on Wednesday, September 27; surplus permits will become available at 9 a.m. Do not log in on more than 1 internet browser or device. After you add a surplus ADP into your cart, it will be reserved for 10 minutes. If you do not complete the checkout process in 10 minutes, the permit will be removed from your cart and other customers will be able to claim it. Once all permits have been claimed, you won’t see these products available for purchase and you will not be able to add permits to your cart. There is a limit of 1 permit per transaction. This keeps the surplus process fair for all hunters.
  • Buying at a MassWildlife office: Arrive on time, as sales will begin promptly at 9 a.m. Make sure you have purchased your hunting or sporting license beforehand. Come with your customer ID written or printed. Cash or check only (credit and debit cards are not accepted). You will only be able to buy one surplus permit at a time per person. If you are planning to buy for someone else, you will be asked to wait in line again to ensure the process is fair for everyone waiting in line. Find a MassWildlife office near you.

Unlimited permits available for Zones 10, 11, 13, and 14
There is no daily or season purchase limit set for Antlerless Deer Permits in zones 10, 11, 13, and 14. Surplus ADPs for zones 10, 11, 13, and 14 will go on sale starting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 26 and will be available throughout the entire 2023 deer season.

Printing your permit
After purchasing a surplus ADP, you will receive an email with your permit attached so you can print it from the convenience of your home. You can also access your permit to reprint at any time by logging into your MassFishHunt account. To reprint:  

  • Log into MassFishHunt 
  • Once you’ve logged in, click on My Account  
  • From the My Account menu, select Active Licenses, Permits & Privileges 
  • Select Print Active Licenses (make sure pop-up blockers are turned off) 

Listed moth found in Hardwick

About 75 plants, insects, and animals on the Massachusetts Endangered Species List depend on habitats that experience periodic fires. But natural wildland fires that support fire-dependent ecosystems have been suppressed for decades in the interest of public safety. Fortunately, many of these specialized plants and animals are incredibly resilient. Plants can lie dormant as seeds in the ground for decades waiting for the right growing conditions to return. Mobile species, like birds, bees, and moths, can travel to restored areas to recolonize fire-influenced habitats. This plant and animal resilience is on full display at MassWildlife’s Muddy Brook Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Hardwick.

The greater Muddy Brook Valley contains a collection of globally rare, fire-influenced habitats. After 70 years of fire exclusion, most of these habitats were not able to support the specialized plant and animal species that once occurred there. MassWildlife began habitat restoration work at Muddy Brook WMA in 2014 after years of planning. Restoration included tree canopy thinning and prescribed fire treatments. Within a year of the first prescribed fire, an abundance of native plants—some that been absent for decades—began to emerge from the seedbank and become established. After a few growing seasons, long-absent insects and birds were observed making use of the restored habitat. 

The most recent marker of success was discovered in the summer of 2023. MassWildlife biologists observed the orange sallow moth (Pyrrha aurantiago) at Muddy Brook WMA. This is the seventh MESA-listed moth species recorded in the valley since the habitat restoration work began. 

The orange sallow moth is listed as a Species of Special Concern in Massachusetts. The moth’s larva (caterpillar) feed exclusively on the flowers, seeds, and leaves of false foxglove plants (Aureolaria spp.). False foxglove grow in areas with occasional fire. Surveys show that false foxglove was not growing in the Muddy Brook Valley in the years leading up to the restoration work. Following initial canopy thinning and the introduction of prescribed fire, a small patch of fern-leaved foxglove emerged from the seedbank in 2019. By 2023, more than 1,000 foxglove plants were counted, and in August the orange sallow moth was discovered at this foxglove patch. 

The false foxglove plants at Muddy Brook likely originated from seed that had been dormant since the late 1950s. Habitat restoration allowed sunlight to reach the soil and re-introduced fire where it had been absent for decades. The nearest orange sallow population is about 5 miles away. The moths detected the growing patch of foxgloves (likely signaled by the fragrant flowers) and set out to colonize this new habitat.

The orange sallow at Muddy Brook is just one of many amazing examples of the resilience displayed by fire-adapted plants and animals. Less than a decade after restoration work began, Muddy Brook WMA now supports over 20 MESA-listed species, including whip-poor-wills, rare bees, and Endangered plants. All of these have similar stories to the orange sallow that show how their highly specialized adaptations allow them to reemerge and flourish following long periods of time.

Restoration success stats

Muddy Brook WMA is showing an impressive ecological response to MassWildlife’s habitat restoration work including:

  • The emergence of 28 fire-influenced plants not observed prior to restoration, including 4 Endangered, 1 Threatened, 1 Special Concern, and 5 Watchlist species;

  • The return of the eastern whip-poor-will bird to the site following a documented 30-year absence;
  • A significant increase in early successional breeding birds, including the American woodcock, prairie warbler, field sparrow, and eastern towhee;
  • An increase in bee species from 36 to 150 species (including 1 Threatened); and
  • A growing list of specialized moths and butterflies that includes several state-listed species.


Learn more about MassWildlife’s habitat restoration work.

Learn more about the orange sallow moth.

Habitat management grant opens September 1, 2023

Private and municipal landowners of conserved lands can apply for grant funding to support active habitat management projects that benefit wildlife and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities. MassWildlife’s Habitat Management Grant Program (MHMGP) provides financial assistance for projects that:

  1. improve habitat for game species (species that are hunted, fished, and trapped),
  2. manage for State Wildlife Action Plan species (Species of Greatest Conservation Need), with an emphasis on State Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern species, and
  3. enhance habitat in ecological communities disproportionally susceptible to climate change.

Although MassWildlife and other conservation organizations have made unprecedented investments in land acquisition in Massachusetts, acquisition alone is not enough to guarantee the persistence of biological diversity. Investment in habitat restoration and management is urgently needed on public and private lands across the state. To address this need, MassWildlife and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs have substantially increased their investment in habitat management on state wildlife lands and are committed to working with partners to promote these efforts on conserved lands across the state. Over the past 8 years, the MHMGP has awarded over $2.8M in funding to 40 different organizations and individuals for 105 habitat improvement projects.

Grant applications will be accepted starting September 1, 2023 and are due by October 31, 2023.  Visit the MHMGP webpage time to learn more about the application process and to see examples of funded projects. For general questions about the grant program, contact James Burnham, Program Coordinator.

Dr. Eve Schlüter named MassWildlife Deputy Director

Dr. Everose Schlüter (Eve) has been promoted to Deputy Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife). Schlüter has been with the agency for 16 years and fills the vacancy left when Dr. Jon Regosin retired in March of 2023. This is the first time a woman has been appointed to the role of Deputy Director.
“I’m extremely excited to announce this well-earned promotion,” MassWildlife Director Mark Tisa said after the Fisheries and Wildlife Board approved the promotion. “During her 16 years with MassWildlife, Eve has proven to be an unwavering voice for conservation. Eve’s deep knowledge of science and leadership abilities will be valuable assets to the agency and to all of our constituents.”
Schlüter started working at MassWildlife in 2007 as a reviewer and then advanced to Chief of Regulatory Review in the agency’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP). After a two-year stint as Assistant Director for the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, she returned to MassWildlife. Since 2019, Dr. Schlüter has been serving as Assistant Director of NHESP. While in this role, she oversaw all aspects of the program including research, habitat management, rare species restoration, data management, and regulatory reviews of proposed projects under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. Highlights from her time as Assistant Director include development of the expanded and upgraded BioMap online planning and conservation tool and representing MassWildlife at state and regional committees and working groups on topic ranging from the impacts of mosquito control and offshore wind projects to wildlife diversity and landscape-level conservation.
“I am grateful, humbled, and excited for this opportunity,” said Schlüter. “I look forward to working with Director Tisa and agency staff to continue advancing the conservation and resiliency of all Massachusetts wildlife and habitats, and to ensure that all Massachusetts residents have access to nature and outdoor recreational opportunities.”
Eve grew up in New Jersey. She received a Ph.D. in Biology and a Certificate in Community Environmental Studies from Tufts University in 2003. She lives with her family in Maynard.

BioMap Town Reports now available

MassWildlife and The Nature Conservancy are pleased to announce that BioMap Town Reports are now available! The Town Reports allow quick and easy access to the most relevant information for each municipality to support planning and grant proposals. Actions at the local level play a critical role in advancing the strategic protection and stewardship of the lands and waters that are most important for biodiversity conservation.

Users can visit the BioMap Town Reports webpage to explore and print the reports. The reports provide an overview of BioMap, a detailed summary of BioMap’s biodiversity components within each municipality, and a link to the map. The reports can also be accessed from the BioMap website which offers additional resources including StoryMaps and Fact Sheets.

BioMap is an online tool that identifies critical lands and waterways throughout the Commonwealth in need of conservation. An updated and expanded version of BioMap was released in late 2022. The creation of Town Reports marks the latest feature improvement designed to help conservation partners protect and conserve biodiversity in Massachusetts.

Non-lead ammo workshop

The North American Non-Lead Partnership is holding a public workshop on Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. – 1p.m. at the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Hadley, MA. Learn about non-lead ammunition, ask questions, and compare ballistics at the range. Get event details and register for the free workshop.

Free hunting classes

Are you new to hunting or interested in deepening your deer knowledge and scouting skills? You can get ready for the season with classes taught by experienced hunters. MassWildlife's Learn to Hunt Program is offering free in-person and virtual hunting classes this fall. View a full list of classes and register today.

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