Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: Black bear harvest numbers down in 2018


At the January meeting of the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, state Department of Fisheries & Wildlife Western District Supervisor Andrew Madden presented the statewide 2018 preliminary black bear harvest report. He reported that during the three hunting seasons in 2018, a total of 201 bears were harvested. This represents a drop from the 270 bears taken in 2017 and the record 283 bears taken in 2016. A breakdown by season is as follows:In the first season (Sept. 4-22) 150 bears were harvested; in the second season (Nov. 5-24) 26 were harvested, and in the shotgun season (Nov. 26-Dec. 8) 25 were harvested.

He reported that the September and November seasons were virtually identical in 2017 (151 and 26). The big decrease in harvest in 2018 was during the shotgun season. He speculated that bears were active very late in 2017, resulting in a high shotgun season harvest with 91 bears taken. The lack of hard mast in 2018 saw bears enter their dens early, which resulted in a corresponding reduction in the shotgun season harvest.

Although these were preliminary figures, Madden does not expect the 2018 total to change significantly. There are a lot of bears out there and he expects that the 2019 harvest will climb back to the 270 range.

Sportsmen's Clubs archery/shooting leagues gearing up for the new year

The Lee Sportsmen's Association's in-house Winter Pistol League will commence Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and continue every Tuesday for 10 weeks. It will feature both rim fire and center fire pistol matches, and rim fire rifle competitions. There will be four events in all. The cost will be $40 for one event and $5 for each event after that. The first competition will be the rim fire rifle match.

At 7, competitors will shoot an NRA gallery rim fire bullseye pistol match. The NRA gallery match is shot one-handed; however, LSA does allow a two-handed class for its league for those who would rather shoot two-handed. There will be a combat match when the NRA gallery match is finished.

For more information, please contact Larry Curtin at 413-822-3764 or

The LSA will be having a Youth Archery League on Saturday mornings, which began on Jan. 12 and will run through March 16. It is advertised as a safe, fun, and educational experience, where children ages 6 to 17 can learn and practice archery skills. The club provides everything the student needs, but if you would like to bring your own, that is okay, too.

The cost is $20 per participant and includes: indoor archery range use, bows, arrows, targets, weekly snacks, and T-shirts for new students. Session 1, for ages 6-12, will run from 9-10:30 a.m.; Session 2, for ages 13-17, will run from 10:30 to noon. Call or text Doug Frank at 413-822-0720 for more information, or if you wish to discuss placing a student in a different session for any reason.

The LSA is also having a Thursday Night Archery League. It runs from this Thursday through March 7 and begins at 6 p.m. Participants will be shooting at foam 2D targets. There is a $20 fee. Contact Todd Bush at 413-441-2094 for more information.

The Lenox Sportsmen's Club (LSC) will be having its Bullseye League starting Monday night at 7 p.m. and running 11 weeks until March 19. The shoots include .22 caliber at 50 feet and centerfire at 75 feet. The same Bullseye League also runs on Thursdays at noon. That one started last Thursday.

The LSC Rifle League started this morning at 10 with .22 caliber rifle at 50 and 75 feet.

For more information contact Ray Scheufler at 413-443-3059 or e-mail

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The LSC Adult and Youth Archery Leagues starts the first and second weeks in January. LSC's Youth Archery League started on Jan. 12 from 9-10:30 a.m. for youths 8-12 years old and from 10:30 to noon for 13-16. The leagues are free and some equipment is available for beginners. Contact Mark Jester 413-499-8482. The LSC also has a Club 3D Archery League on Mondays (contact Brian Vincent at 413-443-2098 for details) and a 2D Archery League on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday (contact Jim Ferguson 413-499-0212).

The LSC will be having a .22LR Rifle League this year. For those interested in participating, the league will run on Sundays starting at 10 a.m. For more information contact Charles Kronick at 413-448-6065 or email

The Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club began its Youth Archery League Saturday. Although sign-up already happened, you might still be able to enter it. The league will run for nine more Saturdays. The club provides all equipment or you may bring your own. Non-members are welcome. You can download and mail a registration form along with a $40 fee. Contact Mike Buffoni for more information.

Coyote Derby

Dave's Sporting Goods in Pittsfield is having its Coyote Derby again this year. It will run until the end of coyote hunting season on March 8. Entrance fee is $10 and prizes will be awarded to the person who bags the most coyotes, the largest coyote and there will also be a random draw.

Marlborough Fly Fishing Show

The 2019 Fly Fishing Show will take place from Friday through Jan. 20 at the Royal Plaza Trade Center, located 181 Boston Post Road in West Marlborough. The show's newest edition features a tribute ceremony to the late fly-fishing icon Lefty Kreh on Saturday, plus more than 10 demonstrations or audio/visual presentations each hour together with wall-to-wall displays of the newest fly rods, reels, lines, boots, waders, clothing and flies during the three-day mid-winter run.

In addition to tackle, lodges and exotic destinations, show visitors can view continuous fly-tying demonstrations, how-to-do-it seminars and presentations ranging from the Rangeley Lakes in Western Maine to Surf Fishing for Striped Bass.There will also be seminars, casting demonstrations and presentations by featured fly tiers.

The northeastern premiere of the 2019 Fly Fishing Film Festival is Friday evening at 6:30. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Scouts in uniform can earn credits toward a fly-fishing merit badge.

Admission is $15 for one day, $25 for two days and $35 for three days. Children under age 5 are free, as are Boy and Girl Scouts under 16 in uniform. Children under 12 are $5. Active military personnel with an ID are $10.

For a complete list of fly-fishing films, classes, seminars, door prizes, demonstrations and the Scout Merit Badge program, visit or call 814-443-3638.

Gene Chague can be reached at or 413-637-1818.


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