Recently, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) reported that the preliminary deer harvest for 2013 (excluding Quabbin and any data not yet received) was 11,413. Although preliminary, this figure is up 4 percent from last year's total harvest.
The harvest figures for the previous four years, beginning with 2009, were as follows: 10,381, 10,699, 11,081 and 10,938. In the Western District (WD), which includes all areas west of the Connecticut River (Zones 1-4), approximately 1,664 deer were taken. For the previous four years, beginning with 2009, the figures were: 1,667, 1,568, 3,417 and 1,626. Interestingly, Zones 10 and 11 in eastern Massachusetts yielded more than 5,000 deer in 2013.
The statewide archery season harvest was 4,474, up 15 percent from last year. Harvest figures for the previous four years, beginning with 2009, were as follows: 3,492, 3,778, 3,765 and 3903. In the WD, 577 were taken with the bow last year. The WD archery harvests for the previous four years, beginning with 2009, were as follows: 449, 466, 522 and 453. Zones 10 and 11 yielded 2,321 in 2013.
The statewide shotgun season harvest was 4,625, down 7 percent from last year. For the previous four years, beginning with 2009, the harvests were as follows: 4,927, 4,846, 5,349 and 4,950. The WD shotgunners checked in 739 in 2013, which compares with the previous four years beginning with 2009: 857, 815, 904 and 842. Zones 10 and 11 yielded 1,661 in 2013. App roximately 660 more deer were taken with the bow out there last year than with a shotgun.
The statewide primitive season harvest was 2,314, up 11 percent from last year. The previous four years, beginning with 2009, were: 1,958, 2,068, 1,959 and 1,958. In the WD, muzzleloaders checked in 350, which compares with the previous four years as follows: 360, 285, 251 and 301. Zone 10 and 11 muzzleloaders checked in 1,020 deer in 2013.
Online reporting was available during deer season for the first time during the 2013 archery and primitive arms seasons. More than 70 percent of the deer taken during those seasons were reported by hunters through the MassFishHunt system.
Not only is the online reporting system convenient for hunters, but DFW also claims it allows them to provide preliminary harvest totals much earlier than in previous years. It also allows them to break down the preliminary harvest information by Wildlife Management Zones (WMZ). While total harvest by zone can be informative, it doesn't provide the complete picture for monitoring trends in deer density, because total harvest is influenced by antlerless deer permit allocations in each zone.
The DFW Deer Project Leader analyzes harvest, biological, and hunter effort data, along with hunter success rates, female versus male harvest, and other factors to manage deer populations in each zone. A complete harvest summary will be posted on the DFW website shortly after the annual deer review. Hunters who included their email addresses in their MassFishHunt profile will receive a hunter survey by email this month.
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The Lenox Sportsmen's Club will hold its annual Valentine's Dinner Dance next Saturday at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse on New Lenox Road. Tickets costing $25 per person are available from all board members. There will be a roast beef dinner catered by That's Amore Fine Catering and dancing to DJ Russ Davis. BYOB.
Members should be in great shape for the 6 a.m. registration for their annual Hard Water Open ice fishing derby on Stock bridge Bowl the next morning.
If that isn't enough, the following day (President's Day), the LSC will hold its 32nd annual rabbit hunt. Pre-registration is required; contact Ron Carr at (413) 442-5122. The entry fee is $10 with prizes for the heaviest dressed hare and cottontail. Weigh-in deadline is 4 p.m., followed by a venison goulash dinner.
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Starting next Friday and running through Sunday, the 17 annual Northeast Fishing and Hunting Show will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center at 100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, Conn. Log onto www.fishinghuntingshow.com for more information.
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Congratulations to 12-year old Dylan Sondrini of Pittsfield, who caught the pictured largemouth bass last weekend and winning the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club Ice Fishing Derby on Echo Lake. It weighed 6 pounds, was 22 inches long and had a girth of 17 inches. Although he was ice fishing with his dad, Nathan, he set up his own tip-ups and figured out how to catch that big fish. Thanks to his proud mom, Nina, for sending in the picture.
To reach Gene Chague:
or (413) 637-1818.