Ipswich 12-22-2005 17:30
Mostly Sunny, No Precipitation – 30-34 Degrees – Open Water
Got out for a quick hunt this afternoon(about an hour & half). Managed two greenheads and two Hens (for me that’s a banner day). I did some camo work to the canoe wjith some berlap and such. I think it really helped. The birds decoyed 100% better then they did just a few days earlier. Good luck all. Merry Christmas!
Sailsbury 12-20-2005 18:28
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – 30-34 Degrees – Open Water
Managed one black duck, only saw a few mallards and other black ducks landing on the ice, all of the smaller creeks appeared to be locked up, looks like this next warm front could make or break the rest of our season..
Sailsbury,Plumb Island,Amesbury 12-20-2005 08:59
Sunny & Clear, High Winds – 25-30 Degrees – Ice
Hunted from shore.Tough to find open water wher dog could make retrive.Most creeks iced over.Saw mallards,blacks,goldeneye,old squaw,hoodies and geese.Ice was not so bad on the out going or early incomming,but it was tough other then that.
Conn Valley 12-18-2005 15:28
Sunny & Clear, Morning Fog – 30-34 Degrees – Open Water
After scouting all week long in anticipation of 2nd half opener 12/16 had area picked out. All week long cold weather slowly froze up much of the river, and I found two spots with consist birds. Opening day brings above freezing temps and rain/ freezing rain. Lots of hooded merganers flying early, must of seen 75-100. Puddle ducks sporatic, but managed to get 2 drake and a hen mallard by 7:15am. Good thing, didn’t see another puddle duck till 3:30pm, a hen mallard. I was the only person out in area.
Next day I return to same area figuring ssaturday hunters will move birds around. 8:30am and yet to see anything, heard seven shots just a little upriver. Left at 9:00am still having seen nothing, pass by hunter upriver. No face mask, huge glasses, dark green camo with snow on the ground– and he tells me he has never had a better day this late in season, has 4 birds all drake mallards, says you wouldn’t believe how they just zero’d in on his decoys. Go figure.
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Hey I just wanted to put my 2 cents in on this new sudbury assabet and concord river hunting.I scouted it a few times this past summer and wasted my time they only allow 35 hunters and want to have a lottery and charge $20 Dollers to register just another way for our govt and agencey,s to get more money out of our pockets All of us who buy Hunting Licences Pay that extra $5 Bucks to buy and purchase these lands and open them up to everybody not just a chosen few in a lottery .Anything to make it more difficult to hunt and fish in this state and i dont see where they only allow 35 people who want to canoe or fish these riversDo they have a lottery to fish and have to pay a $20 fee
open day central/ wayland sudbury 12-16-2005 15:44
Cloudy, Snow & Rain Mix – 35-40 Degrees
boy was it a weird day out there. good thing i brought the 8 pound sledge to get on the sudbury. nice amount of geese flying but only saw a few ducks. real nasty. cd
Nantucket 12-16-2005 12:38
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This is not duck hunting related but still pretty big hunting news nonetheless.
State board cancels February deer hunt
By Jason Graziadei
I&M Staff Writer
The controversial February deer hunt is no more. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife board voted 6-1 Tuesday to cancel the one-week special season which had provoked frustration and anger among island residents ever since it ended earlier this year.
The board’s decision came three weeks after it held a public hearing on Nantucket to discuss the February hunt. At that time, residents gave the board an earful about the negative impacts of the special season and demanded that it be canceled.
Members of the ad-hoc group which led the opposition to the hunt, known as the February Group, celebrated the board’s decision this week and said they were grateful that public officials at both the local and state level had respected their wishes.
“I am thrilled,” said Joanne Marcoux. “This was as big as election day. I’m really encouraged by this, and one of the best things is we had a town government that made a decision a year ago and turned around and realized they had made a mistake.”
Other members of the February Group, including Richard Cooper, Carol Black and Beverly McLaughlin, said they were elated that nearly a year of making phone calls, writing letters and research had paid off.
“I’m ecstatic. I couldn’t be happier,” McLaughlin said. “We worked very hard for this. The elected officials listened to us. They weren’t always happy, but they did listen. This is democracy working.”
The February hunt, in which 246 deer were killed over six days, was conceived as a way to reduce the incidence of tick-borne diseases on Nantucket, which health officials believe to be the highest in the country. It was approved by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) board in late 2004 at the request of the Board of Selectmen and the Tick Awareness Group, led by Dr. Tim Lepore, a surgeon at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and recognized authority on tick-borne diseases.
But the inaugural February hunt ended in controversy earlier this year, and opponents bombarded the selectmen with complaints, prompting the board to reverse course and declare the special season a mistake. Numerous residents grumbled about hunters on private property, on public roads, and other inappropriate behavior. During the public hearing three weeks ago, many questioned the science behind the hunt, and said there was little or no evidence showing that a reduction in the deer herd would result in fewer cases of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, babesiosis or ehrlichiosis.
“We’re all extremely happy, everyone in the group, and relieved,” said Cooper. “We put in a lot of time and effort and it’s been an interesting experience.”
The lone member of the DFW board who voted to continue the hunt, Dr. Joseph Larson, an endangered species habitat specialist, said the written and oral testimony the board received was not based on science or facts, and he was concerned about the public health threat from tick-borne diseases.
“None of the testimony at the hearing or in the material sent to the board had any credible reference to public health or science,” Larson said. “There were people who said they’d had a tick-borne disease or were at risk, but still didn’t want the hunt to proceed.
They were asking that the permanent and summer residents and visitors of Nantucket to accept the same level of risk. That was my concern.”
Larson also said the Board of Selectmen was put in a difficult position because it doubles as the Board of Health.
“I have a lot of sympathy for the selectmen,” Larson said. “They can’t realistically make a decision based on public health and do the right thing and still wear the hat as selectmen. It’s almost impossible to ask people to put on one hat and forget they wear the other hat.”
George Darey, the chairman of the DFW board, said the public hearing left him and other board members perplexed because it appeared as if Nantucket’s elected officials and residents were accepting the public health threat posed by tick-borne diseases.
“The selectmen, it’s their island and they don’t consider it a public health problem, evidently,” Darey said. “They screamed they don’t want the hunt anymore, so we went out there again and got lambasted pretty well. But that’s the name of the game.
“I was flabbergasted when I sat there and watched the Board of Selectmen get up there. I don’t know if they were talking as the Board of Health or the Board of Selectmen. But this is what the people of Nantucket want and that’s fine. I just feel sorry for the people who come to Nantucket and don’t know it has the highest rate of Lyme disease in the country. You won’t see me go there for vacation. I’ve never seen a public hearing like that in my life. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
Darey said he was frustrated that the board had changed its position on the hunt, but added that they would respond in the future if the island’s elected officials requested additional hunting regulations.
“Am I frustrated? Yes. Do I mind traveling there? No. But there’s a lot of other places in the state that want to see the Fisheries and Wildlife board,” Darey said. “If they come to us to ask for help again, of course, we’ll be right there. We don’t back away from things.”
Some of the few Nantucketers who supported the hunt, including Lepore and health director Richard Ray, said they had expected the DFW board to cancel the hunt, but maintained that the island must still address its tick problem.
Lepore said the cancellation of the special season would allow the deer population to rebound and the high incidence of tick-borne diseases would remain, or possibly increase. He said the island has an average of 175 cases of documented tick-borne diseases annually between May and September, but that number does not take into account the summer residents who leave Nantucket and are diagnosed elsewhere.
The island also has one of the densest deer populations in the state. Prior to the inaugural hunt, the DFW had estimated that there were between 1,600 and 2,400 deer on Nantucket, equivalent to 40 to 60 deer per square mile.
“If that’s what the Board of Selectmen wants to do, let them live with it,” Lepore said.
“They don’t feel that having the highest rate of Lyme disease in the country is a significant health issue. It’s frustrating, and it’s going to be another spring and summer coming up and people are going to be screaming about why we have so many ticks and Lyme disease, and they can go to the Selectmen.”
Ray said the Health Department is planning to step up its public relations campaign regarding tick-borne diseases. Although he had supported the February hunt, Ray said he respected the decision of the Board of Health.
“I think we have to step up our public relations efforts with regard to this, and we’ll be discussing the things people can do to protect their property and themselves,” Ray said.
“My board is the Board of Health and they didn’t vote in favor of the hunt and I have to support that. If I had a lament, it’s that the real reason we were doing this was lost.
There was very little discussion about the true public health threat.”
Even with the special season canceled, members of the February Group said their work was not over, and that they looked forward to finding an alternative approach to combating tick-borne diseases.
“We’re going to first catch our breath, and then move onto the next phase,” Cooper said.
“We didn’t have the intention of walking away from this issue. We’re exploring other alternatives for the overall picture. First, we would like to go after an accurate deer count.
The first step is to see where we are now.”
South Shore 12-16-2005 10:39
Cloudy, Occassional Rain Showers – 30-34 Degrees – Ice
Went to a little out of the way spot this am and after breaking a fair amount of ice we had a great morning flight. The two of us got our limit of green heads,black ducks and one goose by 8am. One of the best mornings of hunting in a long time. Shoot straight and have fun. Tim
NE MA 12-13-2005 16:43
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – 30-34 Degrees – Open Water
Finally saw 2 groups of GE’s this afternoon, buddy got one mergie and made a NICE 50yrd shot that stoned a BIG black before it hit the ground, and with steel #4’s none the less! Good to see the creeks free of ice and the marsh mostly free of ice and snow. Still some blacks around, anyone think we still have one or two more pushes left? Saw 2 flocks of geese heading south as well.
Refuge 12-11-2005 10:12
Arctic Blast – 30-34 Degrees – Open Water
Went for a little jump shoot Friday during the blizzard, managed to jumpe a drake mallard and a double banded black duck, complete with a 100 dollar reward band to boot! Still not seeing many divers on the Mac, maybe there still on there way? Sailsbury seems void of all edible life, still many mergies to be shot though. Lots of geese around, finishing them into 12″ of snow was tough yesterday, but we got one flock to land 20yrds behind us, directly between our spread and the houses 700-800ft away, no love. Later we decoyed some birds in the right direction and had some good shooting. Hopefully this new front won’t freeze us up, with the amount of ice I saw yesterday, It looks like we need some warm weather FAST, or we may be icedout within a couple weeks easy, and we have a late season this year..
[Edited By Mike F. on 2005-12-11 10:12]