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MassWildlife Monthly July 2018

Get the latest news and seasonal updates from MassWildlife

Deer hunting information and reminders

Antlerless deer permit application deadline July 16th
The deadline to apply for an antlerless deer permit is July 16, 2018. If you want to hunt antlerless deer in 2018, you need an antlerless deer permit (sometimes called a “doe permit” or “doe tag”). An antlerless deer is any deer without antlers or any deer with both antlers less than 3 inches long measured on a straight line form the center of the front base of the antler burr to the tip.

If you apply for an Antlerless Deer Permit by the July 16th deadline, you then must check to see if you have been awarded the ability to purchase the permit. The award period begins August 1st at 8 a.m. and ends on December 31st. Your odds of being awarded a permit are the same regardless of when you check your permit status. You can check the status of your permit through MassFishHunt, or by visiting a MassWildlife office or license agent location. A $5 fee is charged only if you are awarded a permit.

How to apply online:

  1. Log into MassFishHunt
  2. Click Enter Sales
  3. Click Hunting Permits and Stamps
  4. Click Add next to Antlerless Deer Permit Application
  5. Select the zone you want to apply for
  6. Click Checkout*

*There is no fee to apply; however, a hunting or sporting license is required to apply for an antlerless deer permit.


Apply Online for the Quabbin Deer Hunt
The Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt takes place every year on Quabbin Reservoir watershed lands. To have a chance of participating in the hunt, you must apply online between July 1 and August 31; there is no application fee. For application and more information from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), go to

Extended archery season proposal
MassWildlife filed a regulatory amendment that would extend the archery deer season by two weeks (opening the first Saturday after Thanksgiving) in eastern Massachusetts (zones 10-14). After considering comments from a public hearing, the Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted to accept the proposed regulatory amendment in May. Currently, the regulation change is awaiting publication in the Massachusetts Register by the Secretary of State’s Office. MassWildlife anticipates that the season extension will be approved and in effect before the end of July. Check the deer hunting regulation page for the latest updates.

Citizen science helps endangered species

Massachusetts has 427 rare animals and plants protected under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program conserves and protects these vulnerable native animal and plant species. And you can help! Record your observations using the Vernal Pool & Rare Species (VPRS) online system. Through VPRS, people from all over Massachusetts help keep the database of species information current. Information from this database helps the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program determine when alternations are needed in species conservation planning.

The NHESP also administers the state’s official vernal pool certification program and the VPRS system can be used to submit your certification applications. Vernal pools are temporary bodies of water that many amphibians and invertebrates use for breeding, including endangered species like the eastern spadefoot..

You’ll need some specific information to have a fully filled out observation in VPRS. When you see a vernal pool, or rare plant or animal, make sure to include:

  • the location (as exact as possible)
  • date
  • additional proof, like a picture or audio recording

Sign up for VPRS and learn more about VPRS.

Register for the Women in the Outdoors event

Women in the Outdoors (WITO) is an event that provides interactive outdoor learning opportunities for women aged 13 and older. WITO is perfect for beginners, and with over 30 instructional classes and activities, there’s something for everyone. Classes include Wilderness Survival, Birdwatching, Outdoor Photography, Rifle Marksmanship, Fly-Fishing 101, Game Processing, and many more. Organized by the National Wild Turkey Federation Central Massachusetts Chapter and sponsored in part by MassWildlife's Becoming an Outdoors Woman Program, the 2018 WITO event will be held on Saturday, July 28 at Norco Sportsman’s Club (91 Houghton Road, Princeton). Go to for more information. Space is limited and registration is required.

Report fish kills this summer

Summer weather is here, lakes and ponds are warming up, and fish kills may occur. The sight of dead and dying fish along a shoreline can be distressing and can prompt concerns about pollution. However, the vast majority of summer fish kills reported are natural events.

Natural fish kills are generally the result of low oxygen levels, fish diseases, or spawning stress. Depletion of dissolved oxygen is one of the most common causes of natural fish kills. Water holds less dissolved oxygen at higher temperatures; in shallow, weedy ponds oxygen can be especially low as plants consume oxygen at night. Spawning of fish including sunfish and bass in late spring and early summer occurs in shallow waters along the shore. These densely crowded spawning areas can become susceptible to disease outbreaks, especially as water temperatures rise. The result is an unavoidable natural fish kill, usually consisting of only one or two species of fish.

To be sure there isn’t a pollution problem, it’s always best to report fish kills. When a fish kill report comes in, a MassWildlife fisheries biologist determines if the kill is a natural event or the result of pollution. In general, pollution impacts all kinds of aquatic life; therefore, the most important piece of evidence for the biologists is the number and variety of fish associated with the incident. When pollution is suspected , MassWildlife notifies the Department of Environmental Protection, who then conducts a formal investigation of the water and affected fish to determine the source of pollution.

To report a fish kill, contact the Environmental Police Radio Room at 1(800) 632-8075.

The final days of a long-lived falcon

On March 30, 2018, MassWildlife received a call from North Andover resident Robert Carlson reporting two Peregrine Falcons fighting on his front lawn. When he and his mother came outside, one of the falcons flew off, but the second bird did not. Eventually, four more people approached the bird. The group split in half with three people on one side and three on the other, all about three feet away from the bird. That's when the first bird came back and swooped down between the people to strike the bird on the ground, and then it returned to strike the bird a second time. Twenty minutes later the second peregrine flew off. 

Three days later, the 17-year-old male Peregrine Falcon (band numbers 2206-59866, and 6*/4* black over green) was found on the ground in a back yard in Amesbury, about 15 air miles from the location of the fight in North Andover and about a mile from its nest site in Lawrence. A New Hampshire falconer saw a photo of the peregrine in a parakeet cage that was posted on Facebook by the elderly man who found the bird. The falconer notified a Massachusetts falconer and educator who picked up the bird and brought him to the Tufts Wildlife Clinic in North Grafton. The peregrine was in poor shape and died several hours after arriving at the clinic. 

This original resident male, which was banded in Manchester, New Hampshire in 2001, had been nesting in Lawrence since in 2003. He helped fledge 42 chicks (21 male, 21 female) in 14 years (3 chicks per year), which is a very high reproductive rate. He was the second oldest banded male peregrine to have nested in Massachusetts. The oldest being a 19 year old male.  


This story appears in Massachusetts Wildlife magazine, Number 2, 2018.

Massachusetts Wildlife magazine subscribers, watch your mailbox in mid-July

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Feature stories in the next issue include the following.

Restore the Call: Loon Restoration in the Northeast (Deborah Mckew)
The return of an adult, translocated common loon to the Assawompset Pond Complex in southern Massachusetts marks a milestone for loon conservation efforts in the Northeast.

Of Pollinators, Food, and Poisons (Richard A. Callahan)
The author describes experiments performed over several years that demonstrate a direct link between long-term, low-level exposure to imidacloprid, a widely used neonictinoid pesticide, and aberrant behavior in adult overwintering honeybees resulting in hive abandonment and death.

Dad’s Last Fishing Trip (Alison Colby-Campbell)
MassWildlife hatchery staff and a local community come together to help an World War II veteran enjoy a final fishing trip in Haverhill.

Bird Banding: a Morning Afield (Brandi Van Roo)
Join the author and her university students for a morning banding songbirds and woodpeckers during spring migration.


Subscribe to Massachusetts Wildlife magazine today!
Massachusetts Wildlife magazine is a quarterly publication packed with award-winning articles and photos on the environment, conservation, fishing, hunting, natural history and just about everything relating to the outdoors in Massachusetts. In 2016, we celebrated the magazine’s 60th anniversary.