• Wed. May 11th, 2022

Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: Novice Hunters, Junior Conservation Camp and Unusual Bird Watching | Sports

ByMary M. Ward

Jan 8, 2022

Seventeen deer hunters participated in the MassWildlife 2021 Becoming-an-Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Deer Hunting Program. On the opening day of the hunting rifle deer hunting season, November 29, they participated in a guided deer hunt with the help of volunteer mentors in Fort Devens.

According to Marion Larson, Chief Information and Education Officer of MassWildlife, almost all of the women saw deer and all of the participants enjoyed their hunt. Two women harvested their very first deer. “Sharing this experience was both exciting and overwhelming. This course was amazing. Thanks to everyone who makes it what it is! said one of the novice hunters.

MassWildlife expressed its sincere gratitude to the enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer mentors who shared their knowledge and support with these women.

To prepare for the supervised hunt, the women attended a virtual seminar in October where they learned about deer biology and management, hunting regulations, where to find places to hunt deer and tips on deer hunting. stag. Later that month, they attended an in-person field seminar at the Shirley Rod and Gun Club where they learned proper clothing and other useful hunting gear, spent time at a shooting range, found out how look for a deer sign, estimate distances and when to shoot or not to shoot a deer, then followed a trail of blood.

In addition to offering shooting workshops and hunting seminars designed for adult women, the BOW program offers other workshops such as: basic fishing, start of shotgun, kayak, map and compass, wood reading. , archery, pond and stream adventures, nature photography, martial arts, outdoor and game cooking, edible plants and more.

To learn more about the MassWildlife BOW program, click on the Become an Outdoorswoman page of the MassWildlife website.

Junior Conservation Camp in Mass.

Jerry Conlin poses

Jerry Conlin, 15, poses with his gunner bird dog. Conlin won first place in a sport clay shotgun competition at Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp last year.

I have written about this camp in the past, but it is such a wonderful program that it is worth repeating. The MJCC offers young people a unique experience of conservation, sport shooting and outdoor recreation education. The camp program introduces them to the ethical responsibilities of hunting and fishing and encourages careful management of our natural resources. It also aims to educate campers about the conservation of natural resources and responsible use of the environment. Natural resource professionals from state agencies offer hands-on experiences and demonstrations and lead discussions on wildlife, fisheries and forest management.

The MJCC program is open to boys and girls ages 13-17. This year’s camp dates are August 7-19, 2022. This year they will be hosting camp at the Moses Scout Reservation located at 310 Birch Hill Road in the town of Russell. Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis. (Reservations opened January 1).

Although campers can apply on their own, over 85 percent of them are sponsored. Each year, the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen (BCLS) sponsors two children (a boy and a girl) and the Lenox Sportsmen’s Club sponsors four. The Cheshire Rod & Gun Club and Adams Outdoor for Youth donate funds to both to help cover costs. The cost of the scholarship is $ 1,100 per youth for the full two weeks, which covers accommodation, food and activities.

Now you know why these clubs organize so many raffles and events: to raise funds to send young people to MJCC for free. No better places to spend our funds than on our youth.

The camp reserves the right to limit the number of campers of a particular sex in order to create separate and balanced beds.

Campers must be prepared to operate in an environment that demands good behavior, teamwork and attention. Much of the camp takes place in an educational environment and students are expected to be attentive, courteous, and non-disruptive.

Much of the teaching is “hands-on” and all students participate in instruction that includes firearms of many types, bows, arrows, fishing and camping equipment, and interactions with wildlife. Students are expected to understand the seriousness of handling such equipment and interacting with wildlife.

The happiest campers are those who have an interest in the outdoors and wildlife management programs before attending MJCC. Teens who are sent because a parent is an outdoor enthusiast may not like the camp program, unless they have a personal interest in the outdoors, and will often end up being sent home. For this reason, the BCLS (and probably other clubs) ask young people to write a letter explaining why they want to go to camp.

If you are unsure of your child’s interest in camp, it is suggested that you let them browse through the camp program photos. Or, just ask 15-year-old Jerry Conlin. Last year, the BCLS sponsored him.

Jerry said what he liked the most about the camp was “Probably the shooting, all types of shooting like trap, targets for rifles and archery. They also had 3D targets there. “Down. It was really fun. They also had swimming, boating and fishing lessons there.”

When asked if he had learned anything new, he replied, “They had a class on plants. We were taught specific herbs, which ones you can and which you shouldn’t eat, and what they would do to you if you ate the wrong ones.

Jerry won a few awards. At the very end of the two weeks there was a camp wide competition and he won first place in sport clays in shotgun and he took third place in archery. The day before the actual competition, the fencers had to qualify. Only three people in the entire camp were qualified for archery, rifle and shotgun, and he was one.

Jerry had a great time. “Being around a group of kids with the same interests is cool,” he said. He has become a close friend with virtually everyone at his campsite and he stays in touch with them.

If parents want their child to attend camp, but need financial assistance, click on the MassWildlife website, complete the camper’s scholarship application, and submit as soon as possible. They will do their best to match your child with groups that have reserved a spot, but do not have an RV.

Is that a wandering eagle?

A sea eagle

A Steller’s Sea Eagle, native to Asia, has been sighted as close as the Taunton River in Massachusetts.

Have you heard of this strange lost eagle? Well, according to MassWildlife, this is a Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus, native to Asia, especially Japan, Korea, China, and Russia.) It has been seen for first time in August 2020 in Alaska on the Denali Highway about 4,700 miles from its native range. It has since been spotted in New Brunswick and Quebec, Canada in July 2021, Nova Scotia in November 2021 and, guess what, a few weeks ago it was sighted on the Taunton River in Massachusetts.

It has a distinctive yellow beak with a unique white mark on its wings with large white tail feathers. A Steller’s sea eagle weighs up to 20 pounds and has a wingspan of up to 6 1/2 feet, making it one of the largest raptors in the world.

Bird watchers are convinced that the same eagle in Nova Scotia has also been sighted in various parts of North America due to the unique white markings on its wings. The New York Times believe he may have been spotted in Texas this year, but they are not sure as he was only photographed perched, not with wings outstretched where distinctive markings would be visible.

Experts say birds may lose their sense of direction when they stray from their normal habitat, potentially due to the effects of climate change or a navigation error. Or was it a wanderer, which is not uncommon. According to Alexander Lees, an avian stray expert at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), straying occurs when a bird deviates from its course, possibly due to a navigation error, or that he may have been confused by extreme weather conditions. Vagrating can also help migratory birds expand their ranges, a benefit to their survival as global warming changes suitable habitats for many species.

Experts suspect it may migrate with native bald eagles along the coast, return to its normal ranges in northeast Asia, or stay around the east coast.

Time will tell us.

Be careful!

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