Sunday January 6, 2013

LENOX

In a recent news release, MassWildlife gave preliminary harvest figures on the 2012 paraplegic, archery, and shotgun deer hunting seasons. Some game check stations had not yet reported their tallies.

During the special three-day deer hunting season for paraplegic hunters, four deer were taken statewide in 2012, which compares to eight taken in 2011, five in 2010, four in 2009 and eight in 2008.

For the archery deer season, an unofficial statewide total of 3,879 deer were checked in 2012. This compares with 3,765 in 2011, 3,778 in 2010, 3,492, and 3,521.

For the shotgun season, approximately 4,945 were taken in 2012, which compares to 5,349, 4,846, 4,927 and 5,793. In addition to the shotgun season total, the DCR Quabbin Reservation reported 84 deer taken during that deer hunt in 2012.

Here are the Western District (Zones 1-3) figures based upon MassWildlife's preliminary 2012 figures and final figures for 2008 to 2011:

Archery: 314 deer in 2012, 321 in 2011, 282 in 2010, 269 in 2009 and 301 in 2008; Shotgun: 638 in 2012, 624, 550, 595 and 727. I have purposely listed the five-year totals so that hunters can draw their own conclusions as to the deer trends in our area. I expected a higher deer kill this year due to the mild winter experienced last year and presumably higher survival rate, but when factoring in this year's lack of tracking snow and other weather conditions, the figures seem fairly consistent with other years.

No statewide figures are available for the bear hunting season which ended on November 24. In the Western District, 96 bear were harvested during the September season and only four during the November season (with one station yet to report).

Muzzleloader season figures will be reported later this winter. Remember, all of the 2012 figures are preliminary; the final official harvest numbers will not be available until later this year.

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In his last report to the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, DFW Western District Manager Andrew Madden announced that his staff has been marking boundaries of their properties. Each year they mark different properties and last year they marked more than 25 miles of DFW lands. True, not exactly a shocking announcement, unless of course, you are encroaching upon their
properties.

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Here's a shocking announcement. Last month some of us received a letter from Tad Ames, Executive Director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC). Believe it or not, the letter was not a plea for money!

Rather, it was a thank-you for all of the help given so that they could accomplish the following projects during the last five years: Baldwin Hill in Egremont, Hoosac Range in North Adams, Clam River in Sandisfield, Flat Brook in West Stockbridge, Alford Springs on the Taconic Range, Mount Darby in Mount Washington, Steadman Pond in Monterey and Shadowbrook Glen on Yokun Ridge. All told, approximately 4,000 acres of conservation land was acquired or facilitated since 2008, with most of it open to the public and all of it making life better in the Berkshires.

The letter stated that in 2012, the $787,000 that was spent on land acquisitions leveraged $7.7 million in state investment, along with an additional $520,000 in bargain sale value gifted by
landowners.

Included with Tad's letter was a return envelope, just in case we felt compelled to make another donation.

Incidentally, the BNRC has scheduled some nice hikes for this January beginning with the Housatonic Flats Reserve on Route 7 in Great Barrington on Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. This newly-protected floodplain forest provides a great opportunity to get a closer look at the Housatonic River.

Next Saturday, the Western Mass. Athletic Club, Dion snowshoes, and BNRC are having a snowshoe race at the Constitution Hill property in Lanesborough. Registration, which opens up at 9:45 a.m, costs $5 and the race begins at 10:30 a.m. Snowshoe rentals are available.

Next Sunday at 10 a.m., it's "Get to know Snowshoes" at Kennedy Park in Lenox. Created by BNRC and the Arcadian Shop, it is for people who have never tried snowshoeing. Snowshoes will be provided by the Arcadian Shop at a discounted rental rate. Also next Sunday at 2 p.m., there will be wildlife tracking at Bob's Way in Monterey. Explore Bob's Way while identifying tracks and learning how to interpret signs of wildlife activity. The wetland and diverse forest provide ideal winter habitat for moose, otters, fisher, porcupines, bobcats, and more.

There are several other nice hikes and rambles going on all month. Log onto BNRC.com for information about them.

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Dave's Sporting Goods in Pittsfield is having its Coyote Derby again this year. It will run until the end of coyote hunting season, which is March 8. The entrance fee is $10. Gift certificate prizes will be awarded to the person who bags the most coyotes, the largest coyote and there will also be a random draw.

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The Lee Sportsmen's Association (LSA) will be offering a NRA Basic Pistol Safety course at the club's facility on Fairview Street in Lee. The course will consist of two sessions: Monday, Jan. 14, and Friday, Jan. 18 from 5-9 p.m. Attendance at both sessions is mandatory. This course includes live firing.

The cost is $100 per student, which includes an individual complementary membership to LSA, and students will receive both NRA and Massachusetts certificates. Contact Larry Karlquist at (413) 442-7807 or email ltc-class@leesportsmen.com.

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The Pittsfield Sportsmen's Club is having its annual fundraiser pasta dinner at the ITAM Lodge on 93 Waubeek Rd., Pittsfield at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19. The contact people for tickets are: Ed at (413) 443-9371, Fran at 443-5133, Travis at 441-7979 and Dave at 443-0646. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for
children.

To reach Gene Chague:
Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com,
or (413) 637-1818.