- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
- Department of Fish and Game
Media Contact for Hunters donate equipment to MassWildlife for waterfowl research
Media Contact, MassWildlife
On June 22, state officials accepted a special piece of waterfowl research equipment donated by the Massachusetts Chapter of Ducks Unlimited (DU) and Western Mass. Duck Hunters (WMDH). A tub net launcher is a tool used by trained wildlife biologists in the field to capture waterfowl like mallards and black ducks for banding.
“We are extremely grateful for our ongoing partnership with Ducks Unlimited and Western Mass. Duck Hunters,” said Mark S. Tisa, MassWildlife Director. “This equipment donation will make a huge difference in our capacity to band and study ducks, and will be put to use by our biologists right away this summer.”
In the field, biologists bait a small area with corn, wait for the birds to congregate, then use the tub launcher to discharge a net that is capable of capturing many ducks at once. Biologists place a leg band on each bird with a unique ID code and record data like sex, location, and species before releasing them. This information is critical to the conservation and management of waterfowl, as biologists gather data on the movements and survival of these birds across the Atlantic flyway.
“I want to thank the hunters who put in the time and energy to fundraise and provide a piece of equipment the state was in desperate need of,” said Ron Amidon, Department of Fish and Game Commissioner. “Your generous donation will directly support conservation work right here in Massachusetts.”
Securing this piece of research equipment was not an easy task, as tub net launchers are hard to find and must be custom built. Dedicated volunteers from DU and WMDH organized all the fundraising to purchase the equipment and found a company willing to build the custom tool.
“It took many months but I am very proud of our dedicated members who really stepped up to help fund this research,” said John Dow, State Chair for the Massachusetts Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. “We are always looking for opportunities to partner and support local conservation projects.”
“Part of our club’s purpose is to understand waterfowl populations, maintain critical habitat, and advance wildlife education,” said Ed Snyder, longtime member of Western Mass. Duck Hunters. “Our volunteers have been supporting conservation efforts like this for years, such as the installation and maintenance of nesting boxes for wood ducks.”
Hunters play a critical role in funding and supporting wildlife conservation. For example, Ducks Unlimited has been a key partner to MassWildlife in many recent conservation projects, including the restoration of wetland habitat at Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area in Hanson and the improvement of public access sites at Three Mile Pond Wildlife Management Area in Sheffield. All hunters contribute to the funding of wildlife management, as proceeds from hunting licenses, permits, and stamps, as well as a portion of federal excise taxes on hunting equipment, is given to state fish and wildlife agencies for conservation.