Charlie with his #2 Maine turkey.
If you still want to enter either of these contests reply to this email immediately. No late entries can be accepted.
Biggest Goose Contest: Our annual contest will be held on Tuesday September 5th which is the opening day of the early goose season.
The rules are simple: Pay your $5 entry fee before Tuesday September 5th.
Shoot a goose on the 5th and bring it to the weigh-in at the Slovak Club before the meeting starts. The member with the heaviest goose will be the winner and collect 80% of the entry money. One name from all the entrants (except the biggest goose contest winner) will be drawn and receive 20% of the entry money.
One name from all the entrants will be drawn for a $25 Cabela’s gift card.
Band Contest: Another activity that we hold every year is the Duck/Goose Band Contest. This contest starts with the opening of the early goose season and ends with the close of the late goose season in February. Rules are pretty simple: Pay your $5 entry fee before the September meeting, shoot a banded bird, and turn in the certificate by the March 2018 meeting. At the March 2018 meeting a name will be drawn from all the band entries and that member will receive 80% of the pool. One name from all the entrants (except the Band Contest winner) will be drawn and win 20% of the pool.
One name from all the entrants will be drawn for a $25 Cabela’s gift card.
Biggest Goose Contest Weigh In: Paul Baj will be in the Slovak Club’s parking lot on the 5th from 7:00pm to 7:30pm weighing geese. The winning goose will be announced at the meeting that night. If you’ve been away for the last couple of Newsletters and are not aware of this contest or the Band Contest the rules are listed below.
Waterfowl Banding: On August 24th WMDH members assisted Mass. Waterfowl Biologist H Heusmann in airboating an area in the Berkshires. 40+ ducks were banded. All of these were woodies.Two woodies that were previously banded were also captured and released. Previously banded birds have their band numbers recorded, but they do not receive a new band or an additional band. One of the captured woodies did have a previously attached band which was not an approved federal band. On the band was a web address which will be contacted to find out how and why this bird was banded. Members that participated were Paul Baj, Henry Tenczar, Bill Santos, and Charlie Bates.
Mr. Heusmann indicated that so far this year he has banded less birds than last year.
Sporting Clays: At the Conway shoot in August a number of WMDH members and their guests participated. High score with an 81 went to Doug Parsons. Several shooters had “passing “ scores and a few shooters need to practice a little more before the September Conway shoot on the 17th. If anyone else would like to join us at the September shoot contact us as soon as possible because our squads are filling up.
Wood Duck Houses: Last month we built a dozen houses to be used as replacements for damaged houses or to be distributed at the Sportsmen’s Show in February. We have enough wood to build another 40 houses, but do to storage issues these will be built at a later date.
Tentative Upcoming Events: Replace several damaged duck houses in the Berkshires.
September Squirrel Contest and cookout, but squirrel won’t be on the menu.
Berkshires waterfowl hunt in October.
Central zone waterfowl hunt in November.
Many new contest ideas will be posted on the Updates 2017 page soon.
WMDH's June meeting will be held on Tuesday the 6th at 7:30 pm at the Slovak Club at 51 East Silver St., Westfield.
Turkey Beard Contest:
Any member that entered the Turkey Beard Contest and was successful in bagging a turkey needs to get their beard to this meeting. Turkey beards will be measured at this meeting and the winner of both the Beard Contest and the Loser's Pool will be announced at this meeting. If you can't make it to this meeting be sure to mail your beard to WMDH, P.O. Box, #2350, Westfield, MA 01086. I'll make one last check of our mailbox on Tuesday morning.
Turkey Season Results
I'm pretty sure there are others in the Beard Contest that bagged turkeys this season, but the following are the only pictures I have, so far. Bill Santos had a 2nd Maine bird and a Mass. bird. Wally Fritz had two Mass. birds.
Bill with his #1 Maine turkey.
2017 annual "Game Sampler"
The January meeting and "Game sampler" will be held at the Slovak Citizen Club at 51 East Silver St. in Westfield on Tuesday the 6th starting at 7:30 pm. Directions are found further on in this newsletter.
On Tuesday January 3, 2017 the Western Mass. Duck Hunter's Association will hold their annual "Game Sampler".
The idea of the "Sampler" is that you get to try a small portion of a variety of game dishes while you share some time with fellow hunters. We'll meet at the Slovak Club on the corner of 51 East Silver St. and Cleveland Ave. in Westfield around 7:30 pm. We'll also have a small raffle with some quality prizes.
Tickets are only $10, but if you bring a game dish or a prize your ticket is only $5.00. Bring both a game dish and a prize and your ticket is "free".
Reply to this email with any questions or updates; email@example.com
Below: you'll find a list of menu items and a list of raffle prizes. We can always use more game dishes or raffle prizes. Please update us with any additional game dishes or prizes you plan to bring.
Menu as of 12/6/16
Bill Santos turkey Casserole
Bob Derby pheasant Gravy over noodles
Paul Baj smoked goose
Paul Baj venison stew
Michael S. goose chili & green bean casserole
Ed Snyder venison ziti
Charlie Bates turkey teriyaki
Maury Tamarkin dessert
Mehmet Kentucky Fried Pheasant
Neal Schermahorn Roast goose breast & Deviled eggs
(More menu items are expected at the door.)
Raffle items as of 12/6/16:
Teepee Pop-Up Blind
30 quart Turkey Fryer
Case of Beer
Bore snake gun cleaner
Husky ratchet tie-downs, 4 pack
Leatherman Sidekick, w/carry belt case
Husky digital tire gauge
Box of 12 ga. #7 steel shot
Box of 12ga #7 steel shot
$25.00 gift card to Cabela’s
$25.00 gift card to Cabela’s
Box of 12 ga. Steel BB’s
Magnetic telescoping flashlight
Deer Antler Lamp
Walky-talky radio set
Ed Snyder's new Deer Print
Delta Waterfowl folding knife
Dishes and Raffle items are always accepted at the door.
The April meeting will be held at the Slovak Citizen Club at 51 East Silver St. in Westfield on Tuesday the 4th starting at 7:30 pm.
Membership Dues WMDH’s membership year starts in March and our dues are still $20 per year. If you didn’t renew at the Springfield Sportsman's Show, come to a meeting at the Slovak Club, or mail a check to WMDH, P.O. Box 2350, Westfield, MA 01086.Include your email and regular address.
Pizza Night We’ll have a Pizza Night to welcome new and renewal members. If anyone has a friend or someone that might be a potential new member they can bring them along to this meeting. Maybe they’ll find a hunting partner or be made aware of our projects and decide to join.
Winter black duck banding results: MassWildlife personnel banded a total of 428 American black ducks and 34 black plumaged hybrids at 17 sites in 11 towns in 5 coastal Massachusetts counties. We fell short of our goal of 500 black ducks. Also banded as incidental take were 78 mallards, 2 mallard dominant hybrids and 5 intermediate type hybrids. The sex ratios were 2.2:1 males to females for “pure” black ducks and 1.4:1 for black plumaged hybrids. Nearly a hundred previously banded ducks were also recaptured during bait trapping operations.
The comparatively mild winter reduced banding success as ducks had little incentive to be lured to the bait corn. Best success was in the southeast district where good numbers of blacks were banded in the Plymouth/Duxbury; outer Cape, and Dartmouth/Westport areas. Overall duck numbers appeared down this year, perhaps with fewer blacks migrating south. More black ducks are wintering in Canada than they have historically.
Waterfowl Season Meeting On March 22 at the Westborough Office of Mass. Fish and Game the 2017-18 duck and goose season dates were set. This year there was a slight change from the dates we’ve had the last couple of years because the AP Canada goose management plan (which covers the Berkshire Zone) has an opening framework of Oct 10. The Central zone can open on Oct. 1 or later because the NAP Canada goose plan can have an earlier opening date.
At our March meeting WMDH’s voted to recommend an October 9 opening for the Central Zone and an October 10 opening for the Berkshire Zone. This would allow Berkshire Zone hunters to harvest both ducks and geese on the opening day.
The results of the meeting show the changes mentioned above were implemented for this season.
Band Contest: Last month’s Band Contest drawing was won by Michael Schulz.
The Loser’s Pool was won by Charlie Bates
The Cabela’s Gift Card was won by Paul Baj
Great American Chukar Shoot There are seven hunters signed up for this hunt with April 8th as the date. You do not need a license and there is no charge for any extra birds you shoot. You are allowed to bring your dogs or we will have members that will take you out with their dogs. Lido’s is open seven days a week until April 15. Call me if you have interest or questions. Charlie 413-568-0624.
Wood Duck House Servicing Day(s) We had two days (March 31 and April 1) set for servicing our 50+ wood duck houses along the Housatonic River. We had 9 members that volunteered to work both days then Mother Nature stepped in. Friday was predicted to have a rain and snow mix with up to three inches accumulation. Not pleasant for paddling and climbing ladders, but Saturday looked much better.Then, a check of the river found all of the backwaters, where most of our houses are located, were totally iced in. So, the work days were cancelled and new dates will be picked at the April meeting.
Wood Duck House Building Project We have enough wood to make another 25 houses. As a spring project we may want to change this wood into houses, but not before we erect all the houses we have on hand.
Sporting Clays Last month it looked like we would have an early spring, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I expect the Bird Dog Club to open as soon as the road conditions permit.Anyone that wants to be notified when WMDH shoots at the Bird Dog Club in Granville be sure to add your email to the list. The Conway Sportsman’s Club will hold their first shoot the Sunday after Father’s Day.
Westfield Chapter of Ducks Unlimited Delaney House / Route 5 /Holyoke /April 29
Friends of NRA 05/05/17- Pioneer Valley FNRA | 5:00 PM | Knights of Columbus / Chicopee
The February meeting will be held at the Slovak Citizen Club at 51 East Silver St. in Westfield on Tuesday the 7th starting at 7:30 pm.
Our membership year starts in March and our dues are still $20 per year. See us at the Springfield Sportsman's Show, come to a meeting at the Slovak Club, or mail a check to WMDH,
P.O. Box 2350 , Westfield, MA 01086. Include your email and regular address.
Springfield Sportsman's Show
The major part of this meeting will be planning for the Show in February.
At our booth we usually have used hunting supplies for sale. If anyone has any decoys or other hunting equipment they would like to sell send me an email or come to this meeting. Duck hunters from several states stop by our booth each year to look over what we have for sale or to renew their membership.
Our annual Game Sampler was held last month at the Slovak Club. Although attendance was less than last year it only increased your chances to some of the prizes we had in our raffle. We had plenty of food and a good variety of game dishes to try.
Black Duck Limit Increase
I read on the Internet about the black duck limit being increased in the Atlantic Flyway, so I asked our Waterfowl Biologist, H Heusmann, if he was in favor of this change. Here's his response:
"Absolutely! I've been arguing for a bag increase for a dozen years based on the huge reduction in waterfowlers in the black duck?s primary wintering range. More than 10 years ago I presented data showing how hunter numbers had declined to less than half the numbers we had when we last had a two black duck limit. The chart below is from a 2005 report I prepared. Note the black duck wintering range in the Atlantic Flyway is from ME to VA. 91% of the black duck harvest occurred in those 13 states during 1977-81 and hunter number had declined 42% by 1997-01. Despite longer seasons, hunter days declined 39%. In eastern Canada hunter numbers declined 57% over the same period. Historical records indicate that 24-28% of the black duck harvest occurs as the second bird in the bag." An attachment "Black Ducks", shows a chart comparing hunter numbers from years ago to recent years.
Here's a few pictures long time member Jeff Rollett sent me from some of his hunts.
On the morning of Thursday,January 19, 2017, a Massachusetts Environmental Police officer responded to a complaint involving waterfowl hunters. Upon arrival to the scene, the officer observed four hunters aboard a vessel actively shooting at waterfowl while the vessel was underway.
With the assistance of the Marshfield Harbormaster, a Massachusetts Environmental Police Sergeant was subsequently transported to the hunters? vessel to conduct a boarding. During the boarding, the Sergeant observed the hunters had no state or federal duck stamps and were not in possession of the proper amount of personal floatation devices. The hunters? vessel was then escorted back to the boat ramp.
Upon arrival at the boat ramp, additional MEP officers then inspected the hunters, their harvest, and their equipment. The officers observed the following violations: insufficient personal floatation devices, no state duck stamp, no federal duck stamp, shooting waterfowl from a moving vessel, possession of waterfowl over the limit, and possession of unauthorized waterfowl (out of season).
With the assistance of the Scituate Police Department, the four hunters were placed under arrest.
Subsequent to the arrest, a vehicle inventory inspection revealed eight unsecured handguns and a large cache of improperly stored ammunition. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is reviewing the firearms and suspects for any further state or federal violations.
Old Wood Duck
Sent to us from H Heusmann
A female wood duck banded as a local at New Bedford Reservoir, Achusnet, MA 8/15/2001 was reported shot in Dec. 2016 in Middleborough, MA. That would make her 16 years old. That?s the oldest wood duck I can recall. ( If she was still around in December it was probably because she was too old to fly south!)
Anyone bagged a banded duck or goose yet? Don?t forget to go online at www.reportband.gov and enter your information. You'll get a return email showing when and where your bird was banded. When you print out this email you'll get a certificate about your bird. If you're in the WMDH Band Contest get a copy of your certificate to chairman Bob Derby by the beginning of the March meeting. The winner will be drawn that night. At last count there were only about 6 reports of banded birds.
Web Site Info
Massachusetts has been a leader in waterfowl research since the turn of the century. The term "waterfowl" includes ducks, geese and swans. As long ago as 1908, the State Ornithologist conducted basic life history studies on many bird species, including waterfowl. It was in Massachusetts that it was discovered that there was only one type of black duck. The 1925 edition of Forbush's Birds of New England had listed two species, but Massachusetts' research showed that the so-called "red-legged black ducks" were not a separate subspecies at all. They were merely adult males that didn't migrate south from Canada until late December!
In the 1950s and '60s much of the basic research on the ecology of the wood duck was conducted by MassWildlife's waterfowl biologists working across the state and especially on the Great Meadows impoundments in Concord. In the 1970s, Massachusetts' waterfowl research centered on mallards, with the eventual recognition by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that eastern mallards are a separate population and can be managed differently than prairie mallards. In the late 1980s and throughout the '90s, research on Canada geese has shown that there are two separate populations, one migratory, the other resident. This has led to the development of special hunting seasons to help control growing populations of nonmigratory resident geese while protecting the migratory population, which had declined temporarily due to a number of cold, wet breeding seasons. Most recently, New England-based research has confirmed historic accounts that a separate population of Canada geese breeds in maritime Canada and that these birds winter predominantly in southern New England and on Long Island, New York.
In addition to conducting its own research, MassWildlife cooperates in joint survey efforts with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and with biologists from other state fish and wildlife agencies. As part of the cooperative interstate effort to manage waterfowl, the Division takes part in annual mid-winter waterfowl surveys, heads up the northeastern waterfowl breeding survey, engages in summer banding efforts, and participates in the Atlantic Flyway Council meetings.
MassWildlife maintains over 1,600 wood duck nest boxes throughout the state. Additional boxes have been built and placed by school and scout groups, sportsmen and other interested individuals. This is important for wood ducks, as they depend on tree cavities for nesting. Massachusetts' forests are relatively young and thrifty tree farming has minimized the number of old trees with suitable nesting cavities. Developing suitable wood duck boxes and placing them in the right locations has been key to restoring wood ducks in the Commonwealth.
MassWildlife is also working closely with Ducks Unlimited to restore and preserve valuable wildlife marshes. Funds from the sale of Massachusetts' duck stamps are set aside to support habitat purchase and improvement, research and surveys through the North American Waterfowl Management plan, and acquire and manage marshes in eastern Canada. Also, the revenue raised from the sale of Massachusetts' land stamps (required of anyone hunting or fishing in Massachusetts) is earmarked for the acquisition of key habitat areas including wetlands used by waterfowl and other wildlife. This program generates more than $500,000 per year for wildlife lands!
Black Duck Banding
MassWildlife posted several articles on their Facebook page on January 26 on the history of black duck banding along the coast.
W.MA Bird Dog Club has been open for at least a month, but WMDH's members participated in their first shoot last Saturday. Luckily the young lady that joined our squad did not embarrass us too badly. The BDC will shoot every Saturday until fall. Shooting cost is $30 a round (100 targets) and starts at 9:30. The BDC also has plans to offer lunch at some of their future shoots.
The BDC recently purchased a number of automatic traps and now only two of the fifteen stations have manual traps. We have also been given permission to bring our grill and have a BBQ after we shoot and bring new shooters or even observers that would like to try sporting clays for the first time.
Father's Day Shoot at Conway
Because of a town celebration on Father's Day the Conway Sportsman's Club will hold their annual Father's Day shoot on the following Sunday, June 25th. I have two squads reserved for 8:30 and we will be allowed to have up to seven shooters in each one. Cost is $50 for 100 clays and a BBQ chicken dinner after we shoot.
WMDH's members will have the first option to join in and then any leftover spots will be given to the Westfield Sportsmen's Club. There are a few openings filled already in the first squad, but I need to know as soon as possible if there is anyone else that is seriously interested in joining us.
Very few reports so far about anyone seeing any ducklings, but goslings sightings are reported to be numerous. Anyone have any sightings they can report?
Charlie with his #1 Maine turkey.
Charlie with his #1 NY turkey.
Summer was slow other than cutting wood for duck boxes, (see members photos page.) Our August newsletter is posted on the 2017 updates page. See details about a duck box building day and sporting clay shoot event, plus our Biggest goose contest rules and band contest.
A goose had come to roost on Ed's wife's bird feeder, an April fools joke for her! The April snow was mother natures joke.
2nd Annual Squirrel Extravaganza
Sorry, there won’t be a 2nd annual hunt. Ed Snyder worked out a deal with the Fairview Club so we could hold our after hunt BBQ at their club. Due to several members goose hunting in NY, others having medical situations, the 85 degree days, and Ed trying to get Patriots autographs at Addieville there was only one or two days it could be held. The number of members that could participate was so low the hunt was cancelled.
2017 Opening Day Waterfowl Hunt (Rules are on 2017 Updates page)
Central Zone opens October 9th and the Berkshire Zone opens the 10th. There was some discussion at the last meeting as to what we could do to celebrate the start of a new season. A suggestion was made that on one of these days we all at least “check in” at a central location to compare success. If enough people are done hunting at lunchtime we could either grill up something or head to a local pizza place.
If you intend to hunt on either opening day please email your suggestions about what we could do or better yet, come to this meeting. Something will definitely be finalized at the meeting. There are already several members on board to participate.
September Conway Shoot
Eight members and guests made up our squad at the September 17th shoot. Paul Baj had the high score (76) in our squad. Although there are usually a few shooters who score in the 80’s, Paul’s score was very respectable for this course.
Winter Sporting Clays Shoots
The Petersham Club shoots sporting clays all winter long on both Sunday and Wednesday. If you find yourself with nothing to hunt this winter you might want to give this club a try. They have all new machines, the course is challenging, the guys that run it are very friendly, and the cost is only $15 for 50 targets or $25 for 100 targets.
The December meeting will be held at the Slovak Club at 51 East Silver St. in Westfield on Tuesday the 4rd starting at 7:30pm.
Biggest Goose Contest:
Winner: Charlie Bates 9.2 pounds.
Loser’s Pool: Neal Schermerhorn.
$25 Cabela’s Gift Card: Jack Figgie.
Early Season Success!
Jeff Rollet’s dog Abbie bringing one in for the pile.
(click on images to enlarge)
Some of the WMDH’s members on a recent New York hunt: Justin, Wally, Bill, Charlie, Bob, and Paul.
The March meeting will be held at the Slovak Citizen Club at 51 East Silver St. in Westfield on Tuesday the 7th starting at 7:30 pm.
Our membership year starts in March and our dues are still $20 per year. If you didn’t renew at the Springfield Sportsman's Show, come to a meeting at the Slovak Club, or mail a check to WMDH, P.O. Box 2350 , Westfield, MA 01086. Include your email and regular address.
Springfield Sportsman's Show
For those of you that didn’t attend the show it seemed to me the number of people walking around was higher than last year. There were times when even the building we were in was crowded. We had many people stop and visit and many of them bought something. Decoys didn’t sell as well as other years, but duck calls and other paraphernalia took up the slack.
Waterfowl Season Meeting
On March 22 at the Westborough Office of Mass. Fish and Game the 2017-18 duck and goose season dates will be set. Anyone is permitted to attend this meeting and anyone that has any suggestions for this year’s season may present them to the Fish and Wildlife Board.
This year there may be a slight change from the dates we’ve had the last couple of years because the AP Canada goose management plan (which covers the Berkshire Zone) has an opening framework of Oct 10. The Central zone can open on Columbus Day, Oct. 9 which is in the NAP Canada goose zone and can open on October 1 or later.
As usual WMDH’s will be voting on dates and sending a letter to the Wildlife Board with our recommendations for the season. If anyone has a reason why an October 9 opening for the Central Zone and an October 10 opening for the Berkshire Zone doesn’t work for them now is the time to speak up.
Anyone that entered our Band Contest needs to get their certificates in to Bob Derby by the beginning of the March meeting. There will be one name drawn from all the entries for the “winner’s prize”, one name drawn for a “loser’s prize”, and a $25 Cabela’s gift card will go to someone out of all the entries.
Great American Chukar Shoot
For 14 years we had an annual chukar hunt at Lido’s Game Preserve in Hillsdale, NY. The management changed three years ago and we discontinued this hunt. If anyone is interested in doing a group get together and hunt in March it can be arranged. The cost per shooter will be $140 which includes six chukars or four pheasants and the use of their grounds for a day.You do not need a license and there is no charge for any extra birds you shoot.You are allowed to bring your dogs or we will have members that will take you out with their dogs. Pheasant season ends April 15 so this hunt needs to beheld before that date. Lido’s is open seven days a week until April 15. Call me if you have interest or questions. Charlie 413-568-0624.
Wood Duck House Servicing Day(s)
We have wood duck houses that need to be erected and others that need to be serviced.Depending on the weather we need to deal with our houses in the Berkshires. We will try to set a tentative date or two for this project.
Wood Duck House Building Project
We have enough wood to make another 25 houses. As a spring project we may want to change this wood into houses.
This topic will be discussed this month for a possible April date.
With the possibility of an early spring I expect the Bird Dog Club to open as soon as the road conditions permit. Anyone that wants to be notified when WMDH shoots at either the Bird Dog Club or Conway be sure to add your email to the list.
Web Site Info
Our web site has some new pictures, but any new pictures are welcome during the March cabin fever season.
October 2017 Newsletter