Gene Chague: Hunters asked to take MassWildlife survey



Biologists with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife are conducting an annual survey of state hunters to better understand their preferences and efforts here, and to receive important "on-the-ground" information to aid in the management of game species they hunt. The survey takes around 10-20 minutes to complete. It is set up so all responses remain anonymous.

If your email address is not listed in the MassFishHunt electric license system, you can go online and enter it if you want to participate in future hunter surveys.

Within the next few weeks, all sporting or hunting license holders with email addresses in the MassFishHunt system should receive an email invitation from Novi Survey with a link to the survey. Be sure to check your spam or junk folder for any emails from Novi Survey, in case it is flagged by your security system.

The link you are provided is assigned to each email address, therefore you should not forward the invitation to others as the survey can only be filled out once. A reminder will be emailed to those license holders who have not responded within a week.

Accompanying the survey is a link to see a brief summary of last year's survey and for answers to common questions from the survey. Last year, more than 8,900 hunters took the survey and provided valuable information. DFW encourages all hunters to take this survey so that there is a larger database, and theoretically, more accurate information.

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Here are the results of some ice fishing derbies which were recently held:

- Thomas Wren Derby, held on Pontoosuc Lake on February 16: First place, Shawn Burbank (3-pound, 8-ounce pickerel); second place, Keter Ostrander (3-pound, 1-ounce largemouth bass); third place, Austin Consolati (2-pound, 14-ounce largemouth bass).

- Megan Babcock Memorial, held on Pontoosuc Lake on February 22: First place, Jeff Kuka (16-pound, 6-ounce northern pike); second place, Bob Thornburg (1-pound, 5-ounce perch); third place, E. Sagendorph (10-ounce perch).

According to spokesman Ed Carmel, approximately 65 fishermen participated in spite of difficult walking conditions. On the 16th, there was more than a foot of snow on top of 6 inches of slush. On the 22nd, there was more than 2 feet of snow.

- Club spokesman Fred Ostrander reported that the following individuals won the Lenox Sportsmen's Club ice fishing derby on Feb. 16: Adult division: First place, Brian Vincent; second place, Jim Miller; third place, Rick Saldo. Winners in the junior division: First place, Zack Mielke; second place, Jordan Mielke; third place, Hadley Mielke.

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Gary Johnston, Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club (SSC) newsletter editor, reports that more than 80 youngsters have signed up for its Youth Archery Program, which will run until March 15. Other Archery Shoots at the SSC include the Berkshire County "300" Round Championships on March 15-16. There will be a "450" shoot on the 16th. Call John Mange for more information at (518) 794-7868.

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Ryan Livernois, who works at Crea's Bait Shop on West Street in Pittsfield, told me about Dylan Crea, a 12-year-old from Pittsfield, who is an avid fisherman with lots of passion for the sport. Fishing Pontoosuc Lake, he already has weighed in four huge northern pike this year.

He caught a 14.2-pound, 26 1/2-inch length and 17-inch girth monster pike on January 27. The very next day, Dylan landed another pike -- only this time it weighed 15 pounds. Then on Feb. 16, he caught an 18.9-pound pike.

But wait, there's more! On Feb. 28, he caught another one weighing 19 pounds, 8 ounces. He caught that one in the dark at 8:50 p.m. in 10-below-zero temperatures. The picture of that fish did not come out so too well, as it was taken in the dark. You might be able to see it on the Crea Bait Shop website. The fish pictured here is a smaller one.

"It is nice to know that ice fishing provides something [for youths] to do out here in the Berkshires", says Livernois.

"[Dylan] is so deeply passionate about fishing. He's an A-class sportsman and he is an angler to watch as he continues his awesome fish catching skills," said his mother Dianna.

He releases all of the fish using a live well to keep them alive in order to weigh them in at the bait shop. Once the fish arrives, they move as fast as they can with the fish out of the water to weigh and measure it. Then it is put back into the live well, transported back to the lake and released back into the water.

To reach Gene Chague:,
or (413) 637-1818.


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