MassWildlife Monthly August 2017

Get the latest news and seasonal updates from MassWildlife

New state record for bowfin caught by Taunton teen angler
Announcements for deer hunters

Banding threatened falcons
Young adult pheasant hunt
Release of 14th Edition of Natural Heritage Atlas
Seabirds, deer, and crappie featured in Massachusetts Wildlife
Public asked to help solve Springfield rattlesnake case

New state record for bowfin caught by Taunton teen angler
Tauri Adamczyk, a 16-year-old from Taunton, is the new state record holder for bowfin. Tauri caught a 7 lb. 14 oz. bowfin with a girth of 14” and length of 26.5” from the Taunton River in late July. She brought her monster catch to the MassWildlife Field Headquarters for fisheries biologists to certify her catch and state record. Tauri is no stranger to the Sportfishing Awards Program—she has been catching pin fish for years and garnering gold pins in the Youth Category of this program. Tauri was also named the 2015 Youth Angler of the Year, an award given annually to the youth angler who caught the most species of gold pin fish.

In 2015, Bowfin were added as an eligible fish to MassWildlife’s Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program. While most Massachusetts anglers have never caught one of these prehistoric battlers – and in fact many anglers have never even heard of this fish and wouldn’t know one if they caught one – the Bowfin is gathering an ever-increasing number of fans who admire its outstanding fighting qualities, exotic appearance, large potential size, interesting life history, and its propensity to strike baits and lures. Currently, Bowfin populations are limited to the Connecticut River and Taunton River drainages and a few isolated ponds throughout the state. The Catch and Keep minimum weight is 6 pounds for adults and 4 pounds for youth. The Catch and Release minimum length is 26 inches. To learn more about Bowfin, check out a recent featured article in Massachusetts Wildlife magazine entitled, “Bring on the Bowfin!”.

Anglers who believe they have broken a state record by weight must present their fish in its entirety (whole) to qualified fisheries personnel at MassWildlife Field Headquarters in Westborough or at any of the five MassWildlife District offices. In 2015, a catch and release category was added to the Sportfishing Awards Program. Since then, MassWildlife has also recorded catch and release state records. Anglers may submit their catch and release catches for consideration by measuring, photographing, and releasing their fish on site.

Announcements for deer hunters

  • Deer hunting seasons: MassWildlife uses regulated hunting during three distinct hunting seasons (archery, shotgun, and primitive) to manage the deer population across the state in 15 Wildlife Management Zones. The Fisheries and Wildlife Board oversees changes to the hunting seasons, bag limits, and Antlerless Deer Permit allocations, which are set annually to achieve population goals.
    2017 deer hunting season dates
    • Youth Deer Hunt Day: Sept. 30
    • Paraplegic Hunt: Nov. 2 – Nov. 4
    • Archery Season: Oct. 16 – Nov. 25
    • Shotgun Season: Nov. 27 – Dec. 9
    • Primitive Firearms Season: Dec. 11 – Dec. 30
  • Antlerless deer permit instant award period begins August 1: Hunters who applied for an Antlerless Deer Permit by the July 16 deadline must return to the MassFishHunt licensing system to try to win a permit. The Instant Award Period begins August 1 at 8:00 a.m. and continues through December 31. This is NOT a first-come first-served system. The odds of winning an Antlerless Deer Permit during the Instant Award Period are the same whether a customer tries to win in August, September, or any time before December 31. Hunters have one chance to try for an instant award Antlerless Deer Permit. There are three ways in which a hunter may participate and try to win a permit:
    1. Log into the MassFishHunt licensing system (please click here for Instant Award Antlerless Deer Permit Instructions using the MassFishHunt online system)
    2. Visit a MassWildlife office
    3. Visit a license agent location. Staff at these locations will access the MassFishHunt system on the customer's behalf.
  • Surplus antlerless deer permit sales: Surplus Antlerless Deer Permits by Wildlife Management Zone will go on sale over various days in October. 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 MassFishHunt, at authorized license vendor locations, or at a MassWildlife office. Click here for more information on Surplus Antlerless Deer Permit sales.
    • Zone 11: Sales start on Tuesday, October 3 at 8 a.m.
    • Zone 10: Sales start on Wednesday, October 4 at 8 a.m.
    • Zone 13 and 14: Sales start on Thursday, October 5 at 8 a.m.
  • 2017 Youth Deer Hunt Day: The 2017 Youth Deer Hunt Day for young hunters ages 12–17 is September 30 (the 4th Saturday following Labor Day). For the 2017 Youth Deer Hunt, young adults may take either an antlered or antlerless deer in any zone on that day. A youth deer hunt permit is required to participate on that day and is not valid for other deer seasons. New for this year, Youth Deer Hunt permits are now available online, beginning August 1.Permits may also be purchased at authorized license vendor locations. Youth ages 12–14 may acquire a youth deer hunt permit online with no other verification required (Hunter Ed Certificate NOT required). Youth ages 15–17 must first purchase a hunting license at an authorized license vendor in order to obtain the youth deer hunt permit. Click here to learn more about the Youth Deer Hunt Day.
  • Changes to harvest reporting for shotgun deer season: Deer hunters may now report their harvest online during the second week of shotgun season, starting the second Monday of the shotgun season. Deer must still be checked at a physical check station during the first week of shotgun season so biologists can collect important data.

Banding threatened falcons
This spring, our biologists and volunteers were out monitoring Peregrine Falcon nests. We know of 42 pairs that nested, 32 of which laid eggs. Twenty-four nesting pairs successfully fledged at least 53 chicks! Due to the locations of the nests, we were able to band 40 falcon chicks at 15 Peregrine Falcon nests this spring. The banded chicks have a silver federal band on one leg and green/black state band on another. The state bands are easy to spot and read. Peregrine Falcons are listed as Threatened under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. If you see a Peregrine Falcon with a band on, please snap a photo and send it to us, along with the location. This helps us monitor the birds through the year. Band information should be sent to Dr. Tom French at tom.french@state.ma.us.

Before the use of DDT, a pesticide once commonly used, there were 375 nesting pairs of Peregrine Falcons in the eastern United States. The last nesting pair in Massachusetts was seen in 1955. When MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program formed in the early 1980s, Peregrine Falcon restoration was its first project and top priority. With the program’s efforts, the first successful falcon nesting pair in Massachusetts had chicks in 1987.

Introduced falcons and their progeny prefer nesting spots on buildings and bridges to the more natural terrain of cliffs. Because of this, our biologists have installed nest boxes in many of the nesting areas that we monitor.

Release of 14th edition of Natural Heritage Atlas (321 CMR 10.12(7))
On August 1, 2017, the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife released the 14th Edition of the Natural Heritage Atlas. The Atlas is used by project proponents, municipalities, and others for determining whether or not a proposed project or activity must be reviewed by the NHESP for compliance with the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act Regulations. Updated Priority and Estimated Habitats will be posted on the Division’s website and made available electronically as a downloadable geographic information system (GIS) data layer. Additionally, the Division will provide the town-based Priority and Estimated Habitat maps to planning boards, building inspectors, and conservation commissions in municipalities where these areas have been delineated. See www.mass.gov/nhesp for more information, including the final maps and a summary response to the Priority Habitat public comments.

Young adult pheasant hunt
Hunter Education graduates aged 12–17 can participate in the Young Adult Pheasant Hunt. This exciting program involves shooting instruction and practice, a pre-hunt workshop, and a mentored hunt prior to the regular pheasant season. All young adults between the ages 15 and 17 will need a hunting license and FID card to participate in this program.

The Young Adult Pheasant Hunt takes place on Saturdays in September and October; specific dates vary and are determined by participating sportsman’s clubs. For more information and to view participating clubs, please visit our website. If you have questions about this program, please contact Astrid Huseby by email at astrid.huseby@state.ma.us or call (508) 389-6300.

Seabirds, deer and crappie featured in Massachusetts Wildlife
The newest issue of Massachusetts Wildlife magazine was just released and features articles on Stellwagen Sanctuary seabirds, deer winter survival, and fishing tips for crappie. Massachusetts Wildlife magazine is a quarterly publication packed with award-winning articles and photos on fish and wildlife conservation, fishing, hunting, natural history and just about everything related to the outdoors in Massachusetts. A one-year subscription (4 issues) is just $6 or save by getting a two-year subscription (8 issues) for just $10! Click here to view a preview of the newest issue and find out how to subscribe.

Public asked to help solve Springfield rattlesnake case

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) and the Massachusetts Environmental Police are asking for the public's help in a case involving an endangered Timber Rattlesnake found five blocks from Springfield City Hall in July, far from its home in the Berkshires. An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information related to this incident should contact the Environmental Police Dispatch at 1-800-632-8075 or fill out the Report a Violation online form.

On July 16, 2017, a Massachusetts Environmental Police Lieutenant responded to a Springfield residence where local Animal Control Officers had captured a Timber Rattlesnake, an endangered species. Scientists later confirmed the three-foot snake had been microchipped in the Berkshires two weeks prior to its discovery in Springfield. They returned the snake to its original home territory in western Massachusetts. Officials suspect the snake was illegally captured in the Berkshires and taken to the city. It is a violation of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act to possess, transport, harass, or disturb endangered wildlife. For a first offense, the fine is $500 or imprisonment for up to 90 days or a combination of fine and imprisonment. For any subsequent offense, penalties increase to $5,000 - $10,000 and carry an imprisonment period of up to 6 months.

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