Massachusetts deer hunters had a difficult season but still managed to bring home nearly 11,000 whitetail's.
This was a year that lacked so much. It never got really cold, so the rut was a bit late, the acorns were scarce, and apples were very hard to find, leaving only your best hunting skills and a lot of luck to bag your beef.
A few hunters never saw a deer while others just seem to fall into them. Several hunters bagged multiple deer but most of these hunters were on Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard, where the deer numbers are extremely high at more than 50 per square mile.
One very interesting statistic is the special hunt held at Quabbin. This year, 84 deer were taken and all were found to be in very good condition, with one deer tipping the scales at 220 pounds. Before these hunts were started 15 years ago, you were hard pressed to find a deer that weighed 150 pounds.
The forest has rebounded now and the deer herd is in check. The water supply is no longer being polluted by deer droppings. It's as if it's a brand new eco system.
Fisherman who enjoy the cold weather might consider heading for Baddacook Pond in Groton. The last week in January the folks at Mass Wildlife got an unexpected call from the federal hatchery in Nashua, which had a surplus of Atlantic Salmon. These three- to 12-pound fish were released in waters all over the state, but Baddacook got a good number and hard water fisherman are getting a crack at them right now.
The charter fisherman of Massachusetts, led by charter boat Captain Dale Tripp, pushed for a cutback by 20 percent of the menhaden catch. After much debate the measure passed.
The menhaden is used by fisherman for striped bass, bluefish and tuna action, and commercial fisherman catch them for cat food said Tripp.
We have a new record holder for the carp division. Shane Felch of Shrewsbury landed a 46 pound 5 oz. carp using a cross bow last summer in Lake Quinsigamond. It is legal to use a bow and arrow or cross bow to fish for carp in Baystate waters.
Corey Verril won the Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby last weekend with a catch of a cusk of 9.67 pounds. The fish was worth $15,000.
The turnout was very low because the blizzard stopped many from fishing on Saturday, leaving only Sunday to get the big fish in.
Don't forget to go online to buy your 2013 fishing and hunting license. While you're at it you can also now apply for a moose permit for Maine and New Hampshire.
Contact Bill Biswanger at firstname.lastname@example.org.