Some hunting seasons, like Canada goose, start this week



Sunday September 5, 2010

LENOX

This Tuesday morning, the early Canada goose hunting season begins and runs through September 25. This year, hunters are allowed a bag limit of 7 birds per day.

"Data collected from agency goose banding activities indicate the early goose hunting seasons have kept populations stable in the central and western parts of the state and full bag limits are rarely reached," said MassWildlife Waterfowl Project Leader H. Heusmann. "The early season provides goose hunters with ample hunting and gives more time to landowners to allow hunters to reduce the size of nuisance flocks of resident geese."

Waterfowlers are reminded that state and federal waterfowl stamps are required for hunting ducks, geese, and other migratory birds and hunters must also be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) after purchasing a hunting license. This free registration number may be obtained by calling 1-800-WETLAND.

Woodcock, snipe, rail or coot hunters must also obtain a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, but no waterfowl stamps are required.

Incidentally, the purpose of the HIP is to gather data from migratory game bird hunters for harvest surveys. The information gathered for the harvest surveys assists state and federal biologists in making decisions on setting sustainable bag limits for future hunting seasons. The Massachusetts HIP number is valid for the calendar year only. Waterfowlers who continue hunting

Massachusetts' waterfowl seasons into the New Year must re-register with HIP at the beginning of the new calendar year after obtaining their new hunting or sporting license.
Hunting hours begin one half hour before sunrise and end at sunset. The exception is hunting on State Wildlife Management Areas stocked with pheasant or quail during the open pheasant/quail season. Hunting hours open at sunrise and close at sunset.

Hunters are urged to report any banded migratory birds to www.reportband.gov or call 1-800-327-BAND (2263). You can also email mass.wildlife@state.ma.us with the band number, bird species and where it was found.

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September 7 also marks the beginning of the early Massachusetts black bear hunting season for Zones 1-9 only, and it runs until Sept. 25. Hunters must have a permit and should consult the regulations regarding gun caliber/archery pull restrictions, etc.

Handguns are permitted in the September season only. The use of shotguns is prohibited as well as the use of dogs. No hunting is allowed on Sundays. There is a limit of one bear per year.

Successful hunters must tag their bears immediately and bring them to an official checking station within 48 hours. The official checking stations in our area are as follows: Charlemont Inn in Charlemont, (413) 339-5796; Farm Stand and Grill at Lightning Bug in Cummington, (413) 634-0346; Beckwith's Sportsmen's Shop in Great Barrington, (413) 528-2356; B&D Variety in Huntington, (413) 667-8831, Avid Sports in Pittsfield, (413) 997-3600 and the MassWildlife District Headquarters in Dalton, (413) 684-1646.

These checking stations are open on different days and hours, so I recommend that you call first to make sure that they are open.

Last year, hunters had a good year, harvesting 137 bears statewide. In Berkshire County, 51 bears were taken; 36 in Franklin County; 22 in Hampden County; 29 in Hampshire County, and one in Worcester County. It was the largest harvest since 2003.

Incidentally, I recently received an e-mail from Wayne Rodd from Southampton. He is an official measurer for Boone & Crockett, Pope & Young, Longhunters, and Buckmasters. He saw a bear on his property and it had ear tags.

After contacting the State DFW with the tag color and tag number, he found out that biologists in Conn. confirmed that the bear was one of their study bears. It was first handled in 2005 in Bloomfield and weighed 105 pounds. It was handled again several times after that, most recently in January of 2009 in Bloomfield, at which time it was estimated to weigh 600 pounds.

Rodd thinks the bear currently is more like 400 pounds, but it is still trying to put on weight for the winter and could reach 500 pounds or better. That bear traveled about 35 miles.

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On Saturday, Sept. 25, the Friends of NRA will be having their 11th annual banquet and auction at the ITAM Lodge on Waubeek Road in Pittsfield. They will be having raffles, auctions, games, door prizes, special drawings and great food. There will be a wide variety of merchandise including guns, framed wildlife art, women's jewelry, and more.

Doors open at 5 p.m., with dinner served at 7 p.m. Tickets are limited and they are expecting a sellout. No tickets will be sold at the door. There are several types of sponsor packages and meal choices.

For more information, contact Gary Wilk at (413) 443-6188.

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Ginny Akabane, committee member of the Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon, has issued a call for help in collecting chips from the canoeists and kayakers. The event will be held next Sunday.

If you own a pair of waders and are willing to stand in the waters of Stockbridge Bowl for an hour or so, give her a call for details at (413) 298-5273 or gakabane@hotmail.com.

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I just got back from heaven, and no, I didn't have to die to get there. Recently, I and two fishing buddies (Dave O'Clair of Richmond and Michael Shepard of Dalton) traveled to the Arctic region of northern Canada. Formerly known as northern Quebec, it is now known as Nunavik, and most of its inhabitants are natives known as Inuits.

We signed up with High Arctic Adventures, an outfitter located on the banks of Diana Lake, and fished for large brook trout, lake trout and Arctic Char. I will be devoting the next two columns to this trip of a lifetime.

To reach Gene Chague:
berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com,
(413) 637-1818.