Outdoor News

September 2018
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

September. Music to the senses. The cadence quickens. Time to bid summer farewell and make plans for Maine's finest hour and Mother Nature's supreme orchestration: the debut of Autumn and those magical October days. September's song includes a landscape of golds and rust-colored ferns. Windless days of apple picking, ripened Big Boys and dedicated anglers squeezing in a few more hours on the waters.

Hiking mountain trails and camping can be great this time of year. Cool nights for deep sleeping and bugless afternoons for lingering beside still waters. For hunters, there is bear season, special archery season for deer, an early goose season and much planning to be done.

There are dogs to be trained, guns to be sighted in, camp roofs to be fixed and woodlands to be scouted for deer and moose. And for those true hunter-gatherers, there are wild mushrooms aplenty and vine-ripened blackberries to be plucked and put up in jam jars and pie plates.

Maine in September. Next to October, who could ask for anything more?

Club News

If your club or outdoor organization has news or photos that warrant publication in the Northwoods Sporting Journal, send them to: Club News, NWSJ, P.O. Box 195, W. Enfield, ME 04493, or e-mail news to: info@sportingjournal.com

Vermont - Beaver Baffles Installed

To prevent flooding on nearby roads, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department recently completed construction of 19 water control devices on beaver dams in locations throughout Vermont. Known as ‘beaver baffles’ these devices allow some water to pass through the dam without breaching the dam and destroying the wetland. 

 The Fish & Wildlife Department expects to continue to install additional beaver baffles throughout the state this year.  The baffles are one of many techniques that department staff employ or recommend to landowners to minimize beaver damage to property or trees.  Other techniques include using fences to protect culverts, or placing wire mesh or special paint around the base of trees to prevent gnawing.

 “The wetlands that beavers create provide critical habitat for a variety of wildlife such as waterfowl, songbirds, frogs, turtles, and otters.  These areas can also absorb extra water during rain events and clean pollutants from water, so we work hard to preserve these wetlands.” said Kim Royar, wildlife biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  

   “Baffles don’t work in every situation and can’t replace the need to appropriately manage the beaver population,” Royar noted, “but they can often be used to help reduce flooding and minimize property damage while preserving these important wetlands.  Beaver baffles add to the tools landowners have at their disposal for resolving conflicts with the species”

 As a result of unregulated trapping and habitat degradation, beavers disappeared from Vermont’s landscape by the early 1700s. Beavers returned to the state after the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reintroduced them starting in the 1920s.  Today, beavers are once again plentiful and widespread throughout the state. However, most of the roads and villages in Vermont were established before beavers became abundant again.  As a result, conflicts between people and beavers are frequent and can be a challenge to resolve. Beaver baffles have helped.

 With funds granted from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and generated by waterfowl hunters through the Duck Stamp Program, the Fish & Wildlife Department has installed more than 300 beaver baffles in Vermont protecting over 3,000 acres of wetland habitat since the program started in 2000. 

 “We receive roughly 200 beaver complaints a year,” said Royar.  “Several staff members respond to these complaints, and one technician is dedicated solely to addressing beaver conflicts from spring through fall. Despite these efforts, other management techniques must be used.  We also rely on regulated, in-season trapping to maintain a stable beaver population so Vermonters continue to view beavers as a valued member of the local ecosystem and not as a nuisance.” 

Vermont - Staying ‘Bear Smart’

As incidents of bears breaking into homes, garages, sheds and vehicles in Vermont increases, so too should efforts by residents to bear-proof their homes and secure potential outdoor food sources that can attract bears.

While searching for food in early July, one bear broke into a Killington home through an open window, and another Killington bear entered the Northstar Lodge through an open door. A Pownal woman awoke to the sound of a bear breaking through a kitchen window to access a honey comb that had been left within reach, while a similar incident occurred in Townsend where a bear broke into a kitchen freezer.

According to Vermont State Game Warden Sergeant Chad Barrett, bears don’t naturally break into homes. They must first have had experience receiving food from humans. The process of habituation begins with attractants that residents leave out such as birdseed, pet food, or unsecured garbage.

“When bears get into garbage, pet food, beehives, and birdfeeders without any consequences, their behavior escalates as they lose fear of humans and begin to cause more damage,” said Barrett. “Once a bear is conditioned to associate people with food, little can be done to fix the problem. Relocating bears is ineffective. Bears that have been lured into a neighborhood by one careless resident quickly become a problem for the entire community.”

Some bears have also taken to entering cars in search of food, including a bear in Warren this past week that became trapped in a car. To protect human safety, Barrett ultimately had to shoot the bear, which is the unfortunate result of many of these cases.

While nobody was harmed in any of these incidents in Vermont, a New Hampshire woman was badly injured when a bear entered her home early on the morning of July 17. 

If a bear enters a home, Barrett urges people to get to a safe place and call 911. If a bear is near the house or is attempting to make entry, he recommends people make as much noise as they can to scare it off.

In addition to removing birdfeeders and securing garbage, Barrett recommends residents avoid giving bears an easy entrance by locking doors and shutting downstairs windows at night. Motion-activated lights and alarms can also be used to deter bears that wander too close to homes.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is asking the public to report all bear conflicts to the department’s website at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. Reporting an incident helps track problem areas and allows wardens or biologists to advise residents on ways to mitigate the problem. Residents are reminded that it is now illegal to feed bears in Vermont, even unintentionally. 

“Black bears naturally search for food. That behavior will not change,” said Barrett.  “It’s the people’s responsibility to keep human food inaccessible, so that bears remain healthy and wild.”

Maine Wardens Locate Missing Mass Boater

August 4 ,2018 at approximately, 1245pm Warden Divers being pulled underwater with planing boards located the body of Robert located Thursday afternoon near the southern end of Moose Island on Moosehead Lake. Wardens were able to piece together a time line of Mr. Hammond leaving Spencer Bay camps in the late morning with his boat on Thursday August 2 2018. Then travelling south into Greenville and docking at the public landing. Mr. Hammond then purchased some gas from a local store and then was heading back north on Moosehead Lake when for some reason his watercraft made a 180-degree slow turn and then stopped on the shore of Moose Island where wardens would eventually locate it.

Today on August 4 2018 Maine Game Wardens deployed several resources to assist in locating Mr. Hammond. Maine Warden Service Dive Team members, Maine Warden Service K9 team members, Maine state police K9 team members, Maine Association of Search and Rescue personnel (MASAR) with teams from Maine Search and Rescue Dogs (MESARD) and Piscataquis County Search and Rescue team members.

These resources executed land and water searches today around the Hartford Point and Moose Island areas today.

Maine Warden Service would like to remind boaters to wear a life jacket when on a watercraft while recreating on Maine’s Inland waterways.

Vermont - Threats to Vermont’s Moose Population

From climate change to parasites to the state’s changing forested landscape, moose face a variety of challenges. Scott Darling, wildlife biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, will gave a talk on Vermont’s moose population entitled Moose in Vermont – The Tiny Threats to Our Biggest Mammals on Wednesday, August 15 in Wilmington.

The presentation was be given as part of the Hogback Mountain Conservation Association’s Annual Meeting at Memorial Hall.. 

With nearly four decades of experience in conservation in Vermont, Darling has worked on many conservation initiatives in the state, from his internationally recognized work conserving Northeast bat populations to his efforts leading the department’s managed large game species program, which conserves moose, deer and other game species in Vermont.  

Darling explored the status of Vermont’s moose population in the face of climate change and introduce to the audience two new critical parasites affecting moose in the Northeast. He l also discussed the future of moose in Vermont as well as shared what Fish & Wildlife biologists and conservation scientists are doing to learn more about moose and how they’re working to conserve this iconic species.

Massachusetts - Mark Tisa Appointed MassWildlife Director

On July 17, 2018, the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board unanimously voted to appoint Mark S. Tisa, Ph.D., M.B.A., to the position of Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife). 

“The Fisheries and Wildlife Board has appointed Mark Tisa as the new Director of MassWildlife because of Mark’s lifelong commitment to wildlife and fisheries conservation and his excellent record of service to the agency and the Commonwealth,” Fisheries and Wildlife Board Chair Joseph Larson said after the meeting. “The Board looks forward to working closely with Mark to achieve his goals for the agency in the coming years.”

Mark Tisa began his career in 1987 with MassWildlife as the Project Leader of the Anadromous Fish Restoration Program. He was promoted to Assistant Director of Fisheries in 1990, and then to Deputy Director in 2015. Director Tisa led a number of major initiatives over the years for the agency, including the Youth Pheasant and Young Adult Turkey hunt programs and the construction of the MassWildlife Field Headquarters’ 45,000-square-foot zero-net-energy building in Westborough. Upon the retirement of former Director Jack Buckley, he was appointed Acting Director, effective May 1, 2018.

 “I am extremely pleased with the Fisheries and Wildlife Board’s appointment of Mark Tisa as Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife,” said Ron Amidon, Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game. “I have known and worked with Mark for many years. Both Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton and I look forward to working closely with him as a team of conservation-minded sportsmen committed to the conservation, restoration, and management of all Massachusetts’ incredible natural resources.”

“I’m honored, humbled, and thrilled to be appointed to lead MassWildlife, where I have worked for 31 years," said Director Tisa. "We at MassWildlife care about all the Commonwealth’s wildlife and plants, including state-listed species, and I look forward to continuing to work with hunters, anglers, trappers, conservationists, and all Massachusetts citizens to carry forward MassWildlife’s tradition of conserving and helping everyone to enjoy all our treasured wildlife resources.”

Director Tisa grew up in Leominster. He earned a B.S. in Biology from Springfield College, an M.S. in fisheries from the University of Tennessee, a Ph.D. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Virginia Tech, and an MBA from Anna Maria College. Tisa is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys fishing, hunting, shooting, and retriever training.

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