Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: Statewide black bear harvest up so far this year

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In his October report to the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, DFW Western District Manager Andrew Madden reported that 188 black bears were taken statewide during the first of three black bear hunting seasons, which ran from Sept. 6 to 24.

Approximately 130 of them were taken in the Western District. The September 2015 statewide figures are not available, but the combined September and November harvest total was 175.

The largest bear taken so far this year was one weighing 505 lbs. live weight, 416 dressed weight, out of Barre.

Towns with the highest tally were Blandford with 12, Granville 9, Chester 7 and Middlefield 7. Madden would like to see more bears taken in towns such as Stockbridge and Lenox — from where many of the nuisance bear complaints are originating — as DFW is spending way too much time in these towns responding to bear complaints. The only tool they have to control the bear numbers is hunting, but unfortunately much of the lands in these towns are not open to hunting.

The second bear season opens on Nov. 7 and runs through Nov. 26 and the final season runs from Nov. 28 to Dec. 10.

YOUTH DEER HUNT

According to harvests reported to MassWildlife, the following other local youths were successful that day: Maxwell Shafer, Rylie Fortini, Samuel Oneil, Paolo Kareh and Lauren Brown of Adams; Isabella Lacasse and Ayden Crisp of North Adams; Chasity Lille and Juliann Lawson of Williamstown; Bryant Martin of Cheshire; Andrew Dunham and Kaili Talora of Hinsdale; Isolena Ungewitter, Jeremiah Roy, Tyler Stevens and Dylan Campoli of Pittsfield; Josephine DeChaine of Lanesborough; Logan Welbrecht and Emmitt Shove of Lenox; Colin Finnegan and Liam Shields of Lee; Madison Gilmore and Brady Whalen of Great Barrington; Randon Ziegler of Monterey and Tucker Wilkinson of Sheffield.

These kids dropped some nice sized deer. For example, Audra Sacier of Acushnet weighed in a 185 lb. buck and Hanna Arsenault of Ludlow got one weighing 215. I assume these are dressed out weights. There were a couple of other big deer also, but their weights were estimated.

My apologies for any misspellings. I hope you noticed how many young lady hunters were successful and wonder how many more participated in the Youth Hunt. Deer hunting is no longer just your father's or grandfather's sport. Congratulations to all the hunters and many thanks to their mentors for getting them out into our great outdoors.

Incidentally, in the Western District (which includes Zones 1 to 4), some 48 deer were taken. The breakdown is as follows: Zone 1 - 5, Zone 2 - 16, Zone 3 - 10, Zone 4N - 12 and Zone 4S - 5.

UPLAND GAME BIRD HUNTING LOG

MassWildlife is asking upland game bird hunters to complete a log when hunting bobwhite quail, pheasant, woodcock and grouse this season.

The hunting log includes flushes, harvested birds and the amount of time spent hunting. These completed logs will provide MassWildlife biologists with information on game birds populations across the state and allow them to evaluate hunter effort on the various upland game bird species. The goal is to maintain healthy game bird populations while ensuring quality hunting experiences for both wild and stocked birds across Massachusetts.

Click onto the MassWildlife website (masswildlife-game-bird-hunting-log) for a copy of the log, instructions for filling it out and the date and address to send in the log.

SAVING OUR LAKES

Next Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., the Lakes and Ponds Association (LAPA) West will sponsor a fall lake management symposium at BCC on West Street in Pittsfield.

The theme is "Saving our lakes." They are inviting all lake association members, Conservation Commission members and other municipal officials, and anyone else with an interest in protecting and improving our lakes. There is no charge for attendance.

The program will feature: An overview of lake management presented by Ken Wagner, a lake management consultant in our region; a presentation of some new research on the effects of drawdown (Todd Richards, DFW head of Fisheries, is expected to be there along with some folks who are doing UMass research on lake flow draw downs); a discussion of watershed management and some new tools plus grant opportunities by Jane Peirce of DEP and Bob Hartsdale of Geosyntec.

There will be a panel discussion on lake management issues by all the presenters and other experts in attendance.

If you plan to attend, contact LAPA at lapawestmass@gmail.com.

ARCHERY DEER HUNTING SEASON

Tomorrow morning, archery season opens for deer and it runs through Nov. 26. An archery stamp is required.

If you hunt in a Wildlife Management Area during pheasant season, you must wear a "hunter orange" hat. Hunters must have a written permission of the landowner (on either public or private lands) to construct or use any tree stand which is fastened to a tree by nails, bolts, etc., that intrude through the bark, or if it is emplaced for longer than 30 days. This includes hand-on tree stands.

Good luck and be careful!

OUR WOODS ARE DRY

With this ongoing drought, hunters, hikers and other users of our woods are advised to use extreme caution. You shouldn't be smoking there, but if you do, crush that butt thoroughly. Better yet, field strip it and carry the filter home.

Quite frankly, as of this writing (Oct. 12), I'm surprised that the Commonwealth hasn't shut down the woods yet. Yes, it has happened in the past. The last time I remember them being closed was in the fall of 1963. I remember it well as I was very upset at not being able to hunt while home on furlough.

Let's be careful and protect our beautiful forests.

Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone: (413) 637-1818.


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