Gene Chague: It's breeding season, so brake for deer and moose
MassWildlife reminds us that because fall is the breeding season for both moose and white-tailed deer, we must be mindful of increased activity, especially during early morning and evening hours.
September and October is the peak of the breeding season for Massachusetts' expanding moose population in Central and Western Mass. The breeding season (rut) for white-tailed deer closely follows the moose breeding season from late October through early December. Because moose have no natural predators in Mass., and are protected by law from hunting, these large (500-1,000 pounds) members of the deer family are unconcerned as they move through populated areas. During the mating season this indifference is magnified by the "tunnel-vision" created by the urge to reproduce.
Motorists are advised to be aware and heed moose and deer crossing signs on the highways. They are also advised to slow down and drive defensively should a moose or deer be spotted on or by the road. Moose are less likely to move from the road than deer, so braking for them is your best policy. While drivers are allowed by law to keep white-tailed deer they have hit, only the DFW or the Environmental Police can make decisions regarding the disposition of moose involved in vehicle collisions. All moose or deer/vehicle collisions should be reported to DFW Wildlife District offices. The Environmental Police radio room can be reached at (800) 632-8075.
MassWildlife also reports that due to continued development and testing of the online game harvest reporting within the MassFishHunt system, there will be no online checking for the 2012 fall hunting seasons. Online game harvest reporting is scheduled to begin with the 2013 Spring Turkey season. Hunters are reminded that they still must tag their game immediately upon harvesting the animal and must check all harvested deer, turkey, bear, and furbearers at a check station. A list of check station locations can be found at the MassWildlife link at www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/recreation/hunting/check_station_home.htm. As always, game can be checked at any MassWildlife District Office.
In his September report to the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) District Manager Andrew Madden reported on the 2012 Migratory Bird hunting dates. The important dates for the Berkshire area are as follows: Woodcock - Oct. 3-27 and Oct. 29-Nov. 17; Ducks - Oct. 10-Nov. 24, and Dec. 10-Jan. 1; Regular Goose - Oct. 10-Nov. 24 and Dec. 10-20. The Early Canada Goose season, which started on Sept. 4, runs through Sept. 25.
The youth waterfowl hunt takes place on September 29 and October 6. Youths aged 12-15 can hunt ducks, coots, mergansers and geese if accompanied by a licensed adult hunter with a valid Mass. waterfowl stamp. One firearm only and adults may not hunt. They may carry a firearm only when unloaded and cased. No license or stamp is needed for the youths; however a license and Mass. waterfowl stamp is needed for youths aged 15. No federal stamp is required.
The hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Be sure to check the 2012-13 migratory bird regulations, which may be obtained at your nearest DFW regional office or www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/recreation/hunting/waterfowl/waterfowl_hunting_home.htm.
Landowners, foresters, and other interested conservationists are invited to attend a presentation on New England Cottontail conservation efforts. Staff from the Mass. DFW, Natural Resources Conservation Service and DCR will be presenting information about conservation efforts for these bunnies in the southern Berkshires. Topics will include the Rangewide N.E. Cottontail Initiative, habitat management, forest management, and rabbit surveys. We are invited to learn how we may be able to contribute to the effort.
Contact MassWildlife's Marianne Piché at (508) 389-6313 or via email, email@example.com for more details. The dates/locations are: Wednesday, Sept. 19 from 7-8 p.m., Sandisfield Public Library, 23 Sandisfield Rd., Sandisfield; Friday, Sept. 21 from 5-6 p.m., Monterey United Church of Christ, 449 Main Rd., Monterey; Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 6-7 p.m., Otis Public Library 48 North Main Rd., Otis.
Judy Grinnell, president and founder of the Hoosic River Revival Coalition, is the guest speaker at this Thursday evening's Taconic Chapter -- Trout Unlimited meeting at Zucco's Restaurant at 451 Dalton Ave. in Pittsfield. She will give an overview of the organization, its recent accomplishments and the current status of the work being done by Milone & MacBroom, the river restoration professionals advising and guiding the Coalition in its multi-faceted, long term project. The Coalition's goal is to reconnect the river with the city and to make it an attribute for recreation, economic development and community building while still maintaining adequate flood control.
The presentation, which is free and open to the public, runs from 6:15-7 p.m. A social hour will precede the presentation and an optional "order off the menu" dinner will follow. For more information, contact chapter president Allen Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 13th Annual Friends of the NRA Banquet will be held next Saturday evening at the ITAM Lodge, 93 Waubeek Road, Pittsfield. This year the theme will be the Wild West. Doors open at 5 p.m., and dinner is served at 7 p.m. The banquet should be a fun night with great food and thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, including 25 firearms to be won via games, raffles, and auctions. Attendance is limited to 200 and they usually sell out. Contact Phil Hiser at (413) 243-4525, Chuck Jones at 684-3391 or Peter McBride at 499-1224 to see if any tickets are available.
The FNRA is a non-political arm of the NRA. Every dollar that is raised is given back in the form of grants to benefit programs such as range improvement, conservation, youth programs, women's programs, and law enforcement training.
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