State Trapping Regulations Hearings October 3rd
(Reprinted from above link)
The public is invited to join MassWildlife habitat management specialists on Thursday, Oct. 3, from 3:30-5 p.m. at the Tully Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Orange to learn about planned habitat management activities on the property. This is a follow up field event to an evening presentation on the project given on Sept. 25 in Orange. It offers a chance to see where planned wildlife habitat management activity will be taking place to benefit both rare and common wildlife such as American woodcock, Eastern brook trout, prairie warbler, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and whip-poor-will.
Participants will have an opportunity to learn about timber harvesting plans that will create young forest habitat, improvements to the parking area, and invasive plant control plans. Landowners interested in managing their property for wildlife may find this event of value. Dress for the weather as this is a rain or shine event and wear sturdy footgear. Bring insect repellent, camera, or binoculars to add to the experience. Terrain will be relatively flat but can also become uneven and rocky. You should be prepared to walk over a mile on woods roads and footpaths with some off-trail exploration part of the program. Those interested should meet at the WMA parking area located at the end of 152 Mountain Road (off Royalston Road) in Orange.
In response to public concern related to coyote hunting contests sponsored by private entities, MassWildlife and the Fisheries and Wildlife Board conducted a review of policies and regulations associated with coyote hunting and contests. Public feedback was collected at four listening sessions held from April through June and received through phone calls, letters, and emails. In addition to gathering and considering input from stakeholders, MassWildlife professionals examined the best available science and consulted with wildlife professionals from other state agencies.
On July 17, MassWildlife staff made a regulatory recommendation to the Fisheries and Wildlife Board based on this comprehensive review. The proposal addresses public concerns that these hunting contests are unethical, contribute to the waste of animals, and incentivize indiscriminate killing of wildlife, inconsistent with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Further, recognizing that public controversy over this issue has the potential to threaten predator hunting and undermine public support for hunting in general, MassWildlife recommended the following regulatory changes:
¦Prohibit hunting contests for predators and furbearers.
¦Prohibit “wanton waste” of game animals and birds taken during regulated hunting and trapping seasons.
¦Change harvest reporting requirements for fox and coyote to be reported within 48 hours, consistent with current reporting requirements for deer, turkey, and bear.
The Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted to hold public hearings on MassWildlife’s recommendations. Public hearings will be held at two locations:
October 22: Public Hearing on Predator Hunting Contests and Wanton Waste Regulations, Lenox – A public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lenox Town Hall, 6 Walker Street.
October 29: Public Hearing on Predator Hunting Contests and Wanton Waste Regulations, Westborough – A public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters, Richard Cronin Building, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, off North Drive in Westborough.
According to a press release from the MassWildlife staff, this proposal:
¦Fulfills one of MassWildlife’s core functions to develop and maintain hunting, fishing, and trapping opportunities in Massachusetts.
¦Addresses public concern that certain contests contribute to the waste of animals.
¦Recognizes and addresses that public controversy over this issue has the potential to threaten predator hunting.
¦Discourages the waste of wildlife and reinforces a core principle and expectation that all animals taken during the regulated seasons are utilized to the greatest extent possible, as taught in Hunter Education.
¦Recognizes that coyotes and other furbearers are managed as a valuable natural resource.
¦Does not reduce opportunity for hunting coyotes or other furbearers.
A summary of proposed changes is as follows:
Prohibition on contests for predators and furbearers
¦A predator or furbearer contest is where participants compete for prizes of cash value or other inducements in the capture or take of predatory or furbearing animals.
¦It shall be unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor, promote, conduct, or participate in a contest for take of coyote, bobcat, red fox, gray fox, weasels, mink, skunk, river otter, muskrat, beaver, fisher, raccoon, and opossum. (Animals regulated under 321 CMR 3.02(3) or 3.02(5)(b)(2, 5-11)).
Prohibition of wanton waste
¦“Waste” means to intentionally or knowingly leave a wounded or dead animal or bird in the field or the forest without making a reasonable effort to retrieve and use it.
¦It is unlawful for any person while hunting or trapping in accordance with 321 CMR 3.02 to waste an animal or bird. Each retrieved animal or bird shall be retained or transferred to another until processed or used for food, fur, feathers, or taxidermy.
The draft waste regulation does not apply to:
¦Animals “unfit for consumption or use” – animals or birds and their parts that are damaged, destroyed, decayed, rotting, diseased, or infected.
¦Defense of people or property (M.G.L. Ch. 131 Sec 37).
¦Problem wildlife, such as Beaver Emergency Permitting (321 CMR 2.08) and Problem Animal Control (321 CMR 2.14).
¦Certain animals listed in M.G.L. c. 131 Sec. 5: English sparrow, starling, crow, chipmunk, flying squirrel, red squirrel, porcupine, skunk, weasel, or woodchuck.
¦Wounded or dead animals that cannot be retrieved after a reasonable effort has been made.
Change harvest reporting requirements for fox and coyote
¦Fox and coyote shall be checked within 48 hours of harvest, consistent with deer, bear, and turkey requirements. Fox and coyote may be checked online or in person.