Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: Take a break from baseball to celebrate bats and a grand slam | Sports


Bat Week starts tomorrow and is designed to raise awareness of the need to conserve bats and celebrate the role of bats in nature. Recently, MassWildlife and volunteers have gone to great lengths to give the bats a helping hand and teach us how we can get involved. Most of the following information on bats was obtained from the MassWildlife website:

Bats are often misunderstood or even feared. But these fascinating flying mammals play a vital role in our environment, and many bat species are in decline. Massachusetts is home to nine species of bats, five of which are considered endangered. One of the biggest threats to bats is white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has devastated bat populations that spend their winters hibernating in caves and mines. Other threats include habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change.

Despite the threats, there are ways to help bats. Get ready to celebrate Bat Week by finding out what is being done and what we can do to protect bats in our backyards.

Mass bats get help from volunteers

Last year, MassWildlife launched a new effort to build and install bat shelters to raise awareness of the important role bats play in our environment and to introduce more bat shelters. in the landscape. Well-constructed and strategically placed bat shelters can be important tools in supporting bat survival. So far, MassWildlife has installed 30 bat shelters in wildlife management areas and private lands with more to be installed over the next year.

It can take up to two years for bats to move into a bat house, and even then, only about 15% of bat houses are usually occupied. During the summer of 2021, volunteers visited almost all of the bat houses and found that 16% were occupied and 26% of the locations had potential for future occupancy. MassWildlife thanks all of the volunteers who helped collect these promising results and looks forward to continuing this monitoring effort next summer.

How we help bats

One of the best ways to support bat conservation is to set up an artificial roost, such as a bat shelter. Bat houses provide a safe and warm place for females to raise their young. Since most female bats only have one pup per year, bat populations grow very slowly. In addition, due to habitat loss and degradation, it is becoming increasingly difficult for bats to locate natural roosting sites. Installing bat houses on our properties can provide safe environments for bats, while ridding our gardens of pests, such as mosquitoes, moths and beetles. Bat houses can be purchased or we can build our own. There is a guide to bat shelters on the MassWildlife website, including plans for building a bat shelter, installation tips, and tips for attracting bats to our shelters for bats. bats.

Other ways to help:

Educate yourself and others to help dispel myths and fears about bats. Read the Massachusetts Wildlife magazine article, Bat Myths Debunked, to learn more about the fascinating and beneficial characteristics of bats.

Be a Citizen Scientist and spread the word about reporting bat colonies at MassWildlife.

Protect the habitat of bats. If we have old, dead, or dying trees on our properties, we should leave them standing as potential roosting sites for bats.

If we are to exclude or kick bats out of our homes, we need to make sure the process is safe and humane by following the recommendations from MassWildlife in the Massachusetts Homeowner’s Guide to Bats.

Reduce the use of pesticides to make sure there are plenty of insects that bats can feed on.

Create a bat-friendly landscape in our backyards by adding aquatic features, such as a pond, and fragrant flowers at night.

I don’t know about you, but I miss these little critters, especially near lakes and ponds at dusk. They always seemed to show up there to kill mosquitoes and other bugs. Remember how they flew like suicide bombers diving a few inches from us? Some women were worried about getting tangled in their hair. Bats were important participants in all things, and although they flew silently, they belonged to the sights and sounds of quack ducks, honking geese, serious bullfrog bumblebees, and the occasional splash of a largemouth bass or beaver hitting its tail flat on the water.

Upcoming Paraplegic Deer Hunting

MassWildlife is hosting a special three day deer hunting season for paraplegic hunters. This year, the dates are October 28-30.

Every year, 25-30 paraplegic hunters register for the special hunt and for many it is the only opportunity they have to hunt. Staff and volunteers place hunters in safe areas at several hunting locations across the state where many hunters may see deer and have the opportunity to harvest one. When a hunter shoots a deer, volunteers help the hunter by collecting the deer, dressing it in the field and having it registered on site.

Hunting typically takes place at five locations: Northern Berkshires, Southern Berkshires, Quabbin Reserve, Devens Reserve Force Training Area in Lancaster, and Otis / Edwards Military Reserve in Falmouth.

Paraplegic athletes interested in participating in the hunt should contact Susan McCarthy at 508-389-6326.

Changes to pheasant / quail hunting regulations

Readers are probably already aware that the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board unanimously approved changes to pheasant and quail hunting regulations after holding a public comment session at a Zoom meeting last month.

Mark Tisa, director of the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Division, presented the proposed changes. The new regulatory changes establish a required license for pheasant and quail hunting during the regular season that will cost $ 4 and gradually increase to $ 20 for residents of Massachusetts, starting in 2022. No license will be required in commercial shooting reserves. Daily bag and possession limits for pheasants (two bird daily bag limit, four bird possession limit) and quail (four bird daily bag limit, eight bird possession limit) will also be eliminated.

Although Martha’s Vineyard Island does not have natural populations of quail or pheasants, the state does provide pheasants to release in certain areas for hunting, according to MV Land Bank administrative assistant Maureen Hill. The release locations are on properties owned by the Land Bank, typically on the Sepiessa Point Reserve, Peaked Hill Reserve, and Waskosim’s Rock Reserve.

Another kind of grand slam

Ron Wojcik is holding a fish

Local fisherman Ron Wojcik wields a great king he caught on the Salmon River.

No, I’m not talking about Grand Slam baseball tournaments like the ones the Red Sox featured in their playoff games with the Houston Astros. It’s a great fishing slam.

According to local angler William (Bill) Travis, a few weeks ago he, Dick Bordeau, Bruce Collingwood (all from Pittsfield) and Jeff Vincent from Lanesborough had a great salmon fishing trip on the Salmon River, a tributary of Lake Ontario in Pulaski, New York. While fishing with flies, the anglers “caught their share of Kings and Cohos with a few Browns and a rare Steelhead.” . (Catching) the Atlantic is as rare as hen’s teeth and a great memory from this trip, ”said Travis.

Other local fly fishermen were also on the Salmon River recently and they got lucky too. Ron Wojcik from Windsor took Bob Gale from Cheshire and Scott Raymaakers from Pittsfield there for the first time and they had a lot of laughs, and got to hang a few and bring home.

What’s going on in Minnesota?

Recently my wife Jan and I took a 14 day 2,700 mile road trip through Illinois and Minnesota to visit relatives we hadn’t been able to see and kiss for quite some time thanks to COVID-19. Despite the fact that Minnesota is called the Land of 10,000 Lakes, my fishing rods were intentionally left at home. At this time of year in Minnesota we figured we might encounter cold weather and brought some warm clothes. To our surprise, it was in the 70s there and they still hadn’t had any jelly. In fact, according to the forecast, they might not have any at all in October.

Ice fishing is a big sport up there, and with this hot weather the cranky old ice fishermen are getting more cranky by the day as they wait for “normal” times to return.


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