LENOX >> Twenty five hunters participated statewide in the three-day paraplegic deer hunt which took place from October 29 through October 31. A total of three deer, 2 bucks and a doe, were harvested. This translates to a 12% success rate for this year's hunt, verses last year's 26% success ratio. In the past five years, these hunters have averaged greater than a 25% success rate.
"Many hunters saw deer, contributing to a successful hunt experience," said Trina Moruzzi, Division of Fisheries & Wildlife State Coordinator.
Here in the Berkshires, nine hunters participated — 5 in the Southern and four in the Northern Berkshires sites.
The Southern Berkshires folks hunted in the Mount Washington area and was coordinated out of the DCR Headquarters there. The hunters were: Sidney Eichstedt of Lee, Greg Baumli of New Lebanon, N.Y., Steve Gladding of Westfield, Dick Lockwood of Springfield and Vyto Sablevicius of Norwood. Eichstedt shot a four-point buck and Sablevicius got a doe.
Helpers included: Shaun Smith, Brian Ingerson, Marc Portieri, Greg Arienti, Rick Thelig, Tom Dean, Matt Roach, Paul Antonozzi, Jimmy Thomas and Chuck Pickard. They are all from the Berkshires or northern Connecticut. DFW Western district manager Andrew Madden helped out, too.
Pickard brought his trailer-mounted smoker/grill and a lot of friends, who own restaurants and businesses, donated food and condiments. Other individuals also prepared food needed for the three day event.
On the day I was there, the lunch menu was: homemade clam chowder, smoked roast beef, smoked vidalia onion gravy, smoked baked beans, and potato salad. Chuck did the smoking and roasting while Patricia Vollmer made the chowder and potato salad. There were also several home-made deserts baked by supporters.
The four hunters at the Northern Berkshires site were: Shawn Mei of Baldwinville, Michael Noiseux of Berkley, Dale Bailey of Clarksburg, and David Alderman of Petersburgh, N.Y. According to Moruzzi, no deer were taken on the Northern hunt, however most hunters saw deer.
Since 1972, this hunt has provided thousands of hours of recreational opportunities for paraplegic sportsmen and women and I am proud to be part of it," said Moruzzi. She noted that volunteers are integral to the program and thanked them for their enthusiasm and commitment. Next year's hunt will be held November 3-5, 2016. If you are a paraplegic sportsman or sportswoman interested in participating in the 2016 hunt, contact Trina Moruzzi at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (508) 389-6318 for more information.
Staying with the subject of deer hunting, readers may recall an article I wrote about the new Youth Deer Hunt Day which took place on Sept. 26. In that article, I mentioned the local youths who successfully harvested deer. Well, there is one more to add to that list and that is 13-year old Hunter Connelly of Hinsdale. Hunting with his dad Rick Connelly in Windsor, he dropped an eight-point buck that weighed 182 pounds dressed. He shot the deer with a 20-gauge shotgun at about 30 yards. An hour earlier, he let a doe with a fawn go by.
Needless to say, his dad, mom Heather and sister, Hannah are quite proud of his accomplishment. Hunter is having quite a first year of hunting. Earlier this year he bagged his first wild turkey during the Youth Turkey Hunt Day.
Good mentoring dad.
Recently, the Hoosic River Watershed Association (HooRWA) held its 17th annual State of the River Conference. Williams College chemical professor David Richardson and student Matthew Gross presented their work on PCB accumulation in crayfish and brown trout. Some 50 crayfish were analyzed and it was determined that the bio accumulation averaged about .245 parts per million (PPM) which is well below the EPA limit of 2 PPM .
Of the brown trout tested this year, the largest one, measuring approximately 17 inches, had PCB levels under 2 PPM. This preliminary result was good news as a fish that size certainly lived in the river for years, had eaten lots of crayfish and other micro-invertebrates and might have had higher concentrations of PCB's built up in its systems. Only 4 trout have been tested, thus far with another 8 trout tests nearing completion. Those results will be reported at a later date.
Tests of the other trout, a brown trout of about 8 ¼ inches and a brook trout about 9½ inches had levels significantly below the 2 PPM threshold, with levels under of .30 PPM. A hatchery raised rainbow trout was caught out of the Green River tributary and that had extremely low, barely measurable levels of PCBs. They stressed that the results on the fish tests are preliminary; but their methods for measuring PCB's is similar to that used by the EPA. Professor Jay Thoman believes that no one has found organisms anywhere in the world that don't contain some PCBs.
In the future they are requesting more assistance from fishermen in supplying them with more trout so that they can be sampled. They don't want a huge backlog of them because, unfortunately, there is no way of sampling the fish without killing them.
Their conclusions were:1. There are no significant PCB levels in nearly all crayfish taken at the Cole Field site, 2. They have a high level of confidence in their crayfish measurements, 3. They are close to developing satisfactory trout analysis protocols and 4. They have preliminary values in trout and the tests will be continued in the future.
"Things are getting better, at lease biologically" said HooWRA Director Lauren Stevens. Fish advisories still remain on the Hoosic downstream from the former Sprague property. It remains to be seen if the fish advisories will be removed if these results hold up and/or improve