By Bill Biswanger
The Massachusetts hunting community has spoken! Not literally, but via a survey sent randomly to many of them, with a 90 percent response rate.
Not surprisingly, the top game chased in the state was the whitetail deer. Of those responding, 86 percent pursue deer for the delicious meat afforded them when they are successful.
This was followed by the turkey hunter at 35 percent, followed by pheasant, grouse, squirrel, black bear and rabbit. For some reason waterfowl was left off the survey, which of course would have included goose hunters and we know there are thousands of waterfowl hunters out there. Also missing was trapping, but they may not have considered this in the same arena.
Of particular interest is the average age of the hunters who responded -- 50.
Hunters in Zone 9, which is in our readership area ,saw an average of nine deer during the bow season, seven during the shotgun season and six deer during the primitive firearms seasons.
In contrast we have Zone 14, which is Nantucket Island, where hunters saw 17 deer during the bow season, 19 during the shotgun season and when all the leaves were off the trees and bushes, hunters saw 22 deer for them to consider harvesting.
Moose sightings were also requested and many hunters did report seeing moose, which is not surprising, with the bulk of them found around Quabbin Reservoir in Central Massachusetts. The area is very rural and any live-trapped moose are released in this area. So overcrowding is about to begin. Can you say 'controlled moose hunt'?
Speaking of Zone 9, I do hope the Mass. Wildlife Board give serious thought to cutting Zone 9 in half. It's way too big right now, stretching from the New Hampshire line to Rhode Island, with most of the hunting in the northern half.
News and notes...
Bob Antonelli of Billerica was on vacation in Florida and spent a recent day playing golf in the day and bass fishing at night. I don't know how well his game of golf went but he did well at night, catching five largemouth bass of about four pounds each...
Mass Wildlife has not stocked a single fish anywhere in the state because conditions just have not allowed it. Many of the ponds and lakes are not accessible for the truck to get close enough or for crew members to be able to walk along the icy banks without slipping and getting injured. It's just not worth trying when they can wait a few more days and not take the risk of injury...
When stocking does occur in about 10 days, rainbows will be the first to get stocked, and they are plentiful. They will be followed by brookies and browns. The ponds and lakes are done first, rivers next and streams and brooks last...
Remember to purchase your 2014 sporting license. You can buy it on-line or go to Mass, Wildlife on Route 2A in Ayer should you not have a computer handy...
Last weekend was the game dinner at the Townsend Rod and Gun Club and my hat is off to the club. The event was great with all kinds of game meat from bear to gator, rabbit to venison. It has become very popular with over 100 people attending.
On March 10, Kyle Basoukas of Bedford, N.H., pleaded guilty in Portsmouth District Court to multiple charges related to stolen lobster gear.
During the summer of 2013, New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation officers began investigating several complaints of missing lobster gear from both commercial and recreational lobster fishermen. After a lengthy and time-consuming investigation, Basoukas was eventually arrested for multiple marine-related offenses.
At the hearing this week, Basoukas, 22, pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and molesting lobster gear. He was sentenced to 90 days in the House of Corrections, suspended, pending good behavior for one year.
Basoukas also pleaded guilty to 133 separate violations, ranging from illegal escape panels on lobster traps to non-compliant whale entanglement gear. He will have to pay more than $11,000 in fines and has lost the privilege of obtaining a lobster license for up to five years.
Basoukas was arrested on Nov. 11 following a three-month investigation by Fish and Game law enforcement. Fish and Game conservation officers had seized 81 lobster traps, of which 49 were determined to have been stolen property.