The March report  below in Newsletter format:  (Click on page Buttons below to turn pages)


Click here for past newsletters in slide show format


The "HAMPDEN COUNTY LEAGUE  of SPORTSMEN'S CLUBS"


Western Mass Duck Hunters is a member of the Hampden County League of Sportsmen.


Twenty clubs comprise the Hampden County League.   (                               )    Each club sends a delegate who represents their club's interests at the League's monthly meetings and reports back to the club's members. Of special interest is that the Division Of Fisheries and Wildlife's District Manager Ralph Taylor personally presents the Connecticut Valley District Report for the month. The club delegates can interact with Ralph in areas of interest that pertain to their club. This is an opportunity for our club to be heard by the Division of F&W.


Additionally each County in the State sends a League representative to the State Sportsmen's Council meetings. This gives the leagues the opportunity to relate opinions concerning areas of sportsmen's  interests to the Division Heads as well as to the Seven Member Board.  In this way we can be heard at the highest levels.  This is part of the Club's Purpose in the bylaws concerning political alliances. But does this really work for our club?...


Last year the 220 acre marsh on the lower Chicopee River area was in grave danger from being closed by an "anti hunter" and the town's Alderman. Western Mass Duck Hunters members contacted League members who took action and called in dozens of needed  voices. We also called the Division of F&W and the Environmental police who took our side. All present considered this a form of hunter harassment. The town council backed down and even advocated hunting as a way to keep the nuisance goose problem in check. This was a major political victory for us! Keeping our alliance with other clubs through the Leagues is imperative to the future of our sporting interests.










Photos from the Mass. Sportsmen's Council 2015 Awards Banquet. (click on them to enlarge)


Here is the September Connecticut Valley report provided by Ralph Taylor, the Ct Valley District Manager:    (not in typical newsletter format)


Fall Trout stocking to begin soon!
Valley District Fall trout stocking will begin as early as September 28th, provided that water temperatures are down to at least 68 degrees. 14,000, 14+ Rainbow trout and 1,000, 12+ Brown Trout will be stocked into Connecticut Valley District waters.

Man made vernal pools under construction at the Southwick WMA.  
Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) a Threatened pursuant to the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. Massachusetts represents the northern limit of the geographic range of the species, and the state population is restricted mainly to Cape Cod.  Isolated, local populations occur in the South Coast region, on Plum Island, on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and in the Connecticut River Valley region.  Conservation priorities for Eastern Spadefoot in those regions include population inventory and monitoring, land protection, habitat management, and – where appropriate – population management.









     Students Volunteer to help create vernal pools


Personnel Report


David Basler Retirement- Dave Basler, Connecticut Valley Fisheries Biologist, Retires after 25 years of service to the Commonwealth.  

James Wright Retirement- Jim retired at the end of June this year.  Jim has been a remarkable asset to the agency for all of his 26 years as a Fish and Wildlife Technician.

Buckley Appointed Director of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Jack Buckley was recently appointed Director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board. Buckley has been with MassWildlife since 1988 as Deputy Director of Administration.

“I am very grateful to the Board for giving me this extraordinary opportunity,” said MassWildlife Director Buckley. “While there are challenges ahead, I believe the future looks bright, and I look forward to working with hunters, anglers, trappers, environmentalists, and all citizens to fulfill our public trust responsibility to the people and natural resources of the Commonwealth.”

As a senior agency manager, Buckley has been directly involved with the development of fisheries and wildlife management and policy initiatives at MassWildlife. He has provided general management and research guidance to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; represented the Division’s interest to the legislature; worked with various constituent groups to implement agency initiatives; supervised the Federal Aid Program; provided supervision and guidance to the Information and Education staff; and coordinated programs with the Department of Fish and Game, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and other conservation partners.
In addition, Buckley has represented MassWildlife on several committees with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, including Legislative Affairs, Federal Budget, and International Affairs. He serves as the regional representative for the Northeastern states to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Technical Working Group.
 
Prior to working for the Division, Buckley was the Chief of Fisheries Management in Washington D.C. for the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. He was also a Project Leader at the Massachusetts Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he directed a multi-agency funded research project on the behavioral ecology and population dynamics of the endangered Shortnose Sturgeon. Buckley earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Fisheries Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Ripon College in Wisconsin. He lives in Hopkinton with his wife Jeanne Kelley.

Ludlow Duck Hunt Applications Available Tonight
You may pick up applications tonight or at the District Headquarters.  All applications must be postmarked by October 4, 2015.

MassWildlife Salutes Staff Firefighter
On August 26, 2015 at the Erving State Forest, Jack Buckley, Director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), welcomed home MassWildlife Habitat Biologist Rebecca DiGirolomo from a firefighting deployment in Oregon. DiGirolomo, a resident of Worcester, was part of a returning Massachusetts crew of 20 state and municipal firefighters sent to battle blazes in Oregon for the past two weeks. Their deployment was in response to a request the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation received from the U.S. Forest Service and the Northeastern Interagency Coordination Center in Camden, NH. During the deployment, the crew was assigned to the Eldorado Fire, located near Unity, Oregon. Currently, the fire is burning over 20,000 acres and is 35% contained.

Drivers, Brake for Moose and Deer This Fall
Because fall is the breeding season for both moose and white-tailed deer, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife reminds motorists to be mindful of increased deer and moose activity, especially during early morning and evening hours. Moose, found in central and western parts of MA, breed in September and October. White-tailed deer breed from late October to early December.
Moose on the road are especially hazardous. The dark color and height of moose make them difficult to see in low light; moose eyes rarely shine like deer eyes because their eyes are above headlight level. In addition, long legs and heavy top bodies make moose very dangerous to motorists when struck.
Observe road signs for moose and deer crossings and slow down. Do not swerve to avoid hitting a deer because it may lead to more risk and damage than hitting the deer. Moose are less likely to move from the road than deer, so stay alert and brake when you see a moose in or near the road.
Deer and moose/vehicle collisions should be reported to the Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075.  In the event of a deer/vehicle collision, the driver or passengers of the vehicle involved (MA residents only) may salvage the deer by bringing it to a DFW Wildlife District Offices to be officially tagged.

Boat Safely This Fall
Paddlers in kayaks and canoes must wear life jackets from September 15 to May 15 every year. According to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, most boating fatalities in the Commonwealth result when boaters fail to wear life jackets while in small craft in cold water or cold weather. Waterfowl hunters using canoes or kayaks are reminded that this law also applies to them. 

Important Reminders for Migratory Game Bird Hunters
The Fisheries and Wildlife Board approved the 2015/2016 Migratory Game Bird Regulations. Click here to view regulations, season dates, bag and possession limits, and information on the Youth Waterfowl Hunt.
Woodcock, snipe, rail, duck, and goose hunters must register with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Harvest Information Program (HIP) by taking a HIP survey each calendar year. HIP surveys can only be completed through the online MassFishHunt system. Non-resident hunters are reminded they must complete a HIP survey for each state in which they hunt. HIP data gathered from game bird hunters is used by state and federal biologists to evaluate hunter effort and harvest.
Duck and goose hunters must purchase a state waterfowl stamp and are automatically prompted to complete the HIP survey during the transaction. Waterfowl hunters who purchased a state waterfowl stamp to hunt in January and February of 2015 have already completed the HIP survey for the entire calendar year and do not need to take any action. Migratory game bird hunters who ONLY hunt woodcock, snipe, or rail do not need a waterfowl stamp and must complete a HIP survey as a separate step during their hunting/sporting license purchase.
Your hunting/sporting license will indicate whether you have completed a HIP survey. Check near the top of your license for the words “HIP Survey Completed.” If you do NOT see this phrase, you can complete the survey through any computer with Internet access via the MassFishHunt system (see instructions below). You can also visit any MassWildlife office or license agent location to complete the HIP survey. Be sure to reprint your license after registering.
Instructions for registering with HIP through the MassFishHunt system:

Purchasing a waterfowl stamp and completing HIP (for duck and goose hunting)
Go to the MassFishHunt website and enter your Customer ID number. A page with your personal information will appear; click the Enter Sales button. Next, select Hunting Permits and Stamps. On the next screen, choose Waterfowl Stamp.You will then be prompted to answer eight questions regarding migratory game bird hunting. After answering the questions, click Accept and proceed to Check Out. Be sure to reprint your license which will now indicate that you have purchased the waterfowl stamp and completed the HIP survey.

Completing the HIP Survey only (for woodcock, snipe, and rail hunting but no waterfowl)
Go to the MassFishHunt website and enter your Customer ID number. A page with your personal information will appear; click the Enter Sales button. On the next screen, select HIP Survey. You will then be prompted to answer eight questions regarding migratory game bird hunting. After answering the questions, click Accept and proceed to Check Out.Be sure to reprint your license which will now indicate that you have completed the HIP survey.

New For 2015: Youth Deer Hunt Day, Permits Available Soon
MassWildlife is pleased to announce the creation of a Youth Deer Hunt day in Massachusetts for hunters aged 12 to 17. This Hunt provides youth with an opportunity to hunt deer with their own deer tags during a special single-day season that precedes the Commonwealth’s annual archery, shotgun, and muzzleloader seasons. Hunters are reminded that all shotgun deer season regulations apply on the Youth Deer Hunt day.
Season Date: October 3, 2015 (4th Saturday following Labor Day)
Hunting Implements: Shotgun, muzzleloader, or bow and arrow. Only one firearm/bow permitted between youth and adult.

License/Permit Requirements:
⦁    12-14 years old –No hunting or sporting license required, Youth Deer Hunt Permit required. Youth must be accompanied by a duly licensed adult. (One adult per youth hunter.)
⦁    15-17 years old –Massachusetts hunting or sporting license required, Youth Deer Hunt Permit required.
Youth Deer Hunt Permits are FREE, but must be obtained at a license vendor or MassWildlife office. Youth Deer Hunt Permits and tags are only valid for the Youth Deer Hunt day and cannot be used in later seasons.

Bag Limit: A Youth Deer Hunt Permit allows the take of one antlered deer in any Wildlife Management Zone OR one antlerless deer in Wildlife Management Zone(s) specified in the Permit. (In 2015, a deer of either sex can be taken statewide.) NOTE: Antlered deer taken during the Youth Deer Hunt day are NOT considered part of the statewide bag limit.

Blaze Orange: 500 square inches on chest, back, and head must be worn by youth hunters and accompanying adults.

Harvest Reporting: Successful hunters may report harvests online through the MassFishHunt system or at a traditional check station within 48 hours.

Antlerless Deer Permit Instant Award Period Begins August 1
Hunters who applied for an Antlerless Deer Permit by the July 16 deadline must return to the MassFishHunt licensing system to try to win a permit. The Instant Award Period begins August 1 at 8:00 A.M. and continues through December 31. This is NOT a first-come first-served system. The odds of winning an Antlerless Deer Permit during the Instant Award Period are the same whether a customer tries to win in August, September, or any time before December 31. (See below for allocations by zone). Hunters have one chance to try for an instant award Antlerless Deer Permit.
There are three ways in which a hunter may participate and try to win a permit: 1) Log into the MassFishHunt licensing system (see complete instructions below), 2) Visit a MassWildlife office, or 3) Visit a license agent location. Staff at these locations will access the MassFishHunt system on the customer’s behalf.

Instant Award Antlerless Deer Permit instructions using the MassFishHunt online system
⦁    Log into the ⦁    MassFishHunt⦁     system with your last name and customer ID
⦁    Click the Enter Sales button at the bottom right of the screen
⦁    Click Accept in the Customer Electronic Signature dialog box
⦁    Choose Hunting Permits and Stamps from the main menu on the left
⦁    Choose Add next to Antlerless Deer Permit
⦁    The zone for which you previously applied will appear on the next screen. Click Select to check whether an Antlerless Deer Permit has been won for that zone
⦁    One of two messages will appear in the center of the screen indicating the Antlerless Deer Permit win/lose status. All Antlerless Deer Permits expire on December 31 of the year issued. If you did not “win” a permit you do not have to take any further action.
MassWildlife uses regulated hunting during three distinct hunting seasons (archery, shotgun, and primitive) to manage the deer population across the state in 15 Wildlife Management Zones . The Fisheries and Wildlife Board oversees changes to the hunting seasons, bag limits, and Antlerless Deer Permit allocations, which are set annually to achieve population goals.

Attention Young Adults Interested in Pheasant Hunting
Hunter Education graduates between the ages of 12-17 can participate in the Young Adult Pheasant Hunt. This exciting program involves shooting instruction and practice, a pre-hunt workshop, and a mentored hunt prior to the regular pheasant season! All young adults ages 15-17 will need an FID card to participate in this program.

The Young Adult Pheasant Hunt takes place on Saturdays in September and October; specific dates vary and are determined by participating sportsman’s clubs.  For more information and to view participating clubs, please visit our website. If you have questions about this program, please contact Astrid Huseby at astrid.huseby@state.ma.us.

New Black Bear Hunting Regulations: Effective for 2015
Changes have been made to the Massachusetts Black Bear hunting regulations which will apply to the upcoming 2015 bear hunting seasons. Bears may now be hunted statewide and may be hunted during the Shotgun Deer Season. If hunting bears during the Shotgun Deer Season, only the following implements may be used:
⦁    shotgun not larger than ten gauge, including shotguns with a rifled bore, slugs only;
⦁    muzzle-loading firearm, fired from the shoulder, .44 to .775 caliber; or
⦁    bow and arrow.
During the Shotgun Season, all Shotgun Deer Season regulations apply. Hunters must be wearing 500 square inches of blaze orange on their chest, back, and head. No rifles or handguns are allowed.
Remember, bear harvest can be reported online during all bear seasons. Don’t forget your $5 bear permit! Click here to learn more about Black Bear hunting.
If you purchased your bear permit before June 22, 2015, the expiration date on your permit does not reflect the new bear season end date. Be advised that your permit is valid for all 2015 bear seasons, including the new Shotgun Bear Season (Nov. 30- Dec. 12). Your bag limit is still 1 bear per year. You do not need to take any further action regarding your bear permit.
Good luck this fall!

Upcoming Meetings and Events
September 26: Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Statewide – Youth ages 12-15 may participate in the Youth Waterfowl Hunt for ducks, coots, mergansers, and geese. All youths must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter with valid Massachusetts waterfowl stamp. One firearm only. Adult may not hunt and may carry firearm only when unloaded and cased. No license or stamp needed for youths ages 12-14. License and Massachusetts waterfowl stamp needed or youths age 15. No federal stamp required. All other hunting regulations/bag limits apply.

September 29: Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting, Tyringham – The September meeting of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board will be held on Tuesday, September 29, 2015, at 10:00 A.M., at the Tyringham Town Hall, 116 Main Road, Tyringham, Massachusetts. Please note: If you have a disability or medical condition and would like to request special accommodations, please contact Susan Sacco at 508-389-6342.

October 8: Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee Meeting, Westborough – The meeting will take place at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters Office located at 1 Rabbit Hill Road in Westborough from 1:30- 4:30 P.M. in the Southwest Meeting Room, Room #103. Please note: If you have a disability or medical condition and would like to request special accommodations, please contact Susan Sacco at 508-389-6342.