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Birds and Buckshot

By Bryce E. Nelson

The Pheasant, Grouse, Quail, and Grey Squirrel Seasons end in Massachusetts today; the archery season for deer opens tomorrow. The bird hunting thus far this fall has been good for Massachusetts. The pheasant season was quite productive, quails were numerous on the Cape, and the grouse kill, always sparse, was surprisingly high.

The upland bird hunting will be over when the sun sets today; those wanting to hunt birds will have to transfer their attention to the duck marshes. Duck hunting so far this year has been excellent. Hunters report heavy flights along the South Shore Marshes of Plymouth County and in the marshes around the Parker River Refuge south of Newbnryport. Outside the state, good duck hunting is to be found along the Maine coast and in the Narragansett Bay area.

Deer prospects are as good or better in Massachusetts than last year. There is also an exceptionally large deer population in Vermont this year; some may drift south. The archery season for deer lasts from Nov. 21 until Nov. 27; a combined archery and shotgun deer season lasts from Dec. 2 to Dec. 7. It is illegal to hunt deer with a rifle in Massachusetts.

Other seasons that are now open are those for snoeshow hare, cottontail rabbit, jackrabbit, oppossum, raccoon, and black bear. Locals think the bear season a joke of the Division of Fisheries and Game; but, in any case, bears are very scarce, as are oppossum and raccoon. Rabbits, needless to say, are not scarce.

Hunting in Massachusetts requires either a $3.25 resident license or a $15.25 non-resident license. Six months residence is required for the former license. For duck hunting, an additional $2.00 federal stamp is needed.

Hunting in this area suffers from the same sickness that infects the sport all along the Eastern seaboard: there are just too many people for the amount of game, and for safety. This over-population, combined with industrial pollution, threatens to sizably decrease the duck take in Massachusetts. But anyone really wanting to make a life-time hobby of hunting should transfer residence to the Rocky Mountain States.

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