Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Charlie Hartley Wins Bassmaster Northern Open on James River

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Ohio angler qualifies for Classic

FLIPPIN, Ark.  Pro Charlie Hartley won the Bassmaster Northern Open event on James River, Aug. 20 with a three-day weight of 41 pounds, 13 ounces. The angler took home $51,699 and qualified to fish the Bassmaster Classic if he competes in the final Northern Open on Lake Champlain.

While the ribbon tail worm doesn't enjoy the notoriety it has in the past, Hartley exclusively targeted bass around hard cover with a lightweight rigged ribbon tail worm along the Chickahominy River.

"I was flipping it old-school style," said Hartley. "There are a lot of baits that are easier to flip, fly through the air better and hit the water better, but that lightweight ribbon tail was critical so that it would float by them in the current the way they are used to seeing their bait brought to them."

After two solid days, Hartley entered the final day in fourth place just 1 pound, 14 ounces behind the leader. The angler's day began slowly with no fish for the first 90 minutes.

"It was meticulously slow, pitch after pitch on each side of hard cover," said Hartley. "You do it about a thousand times a day and 10 times out of those thousand times you would have an opportunity to catch a fish. It was very slow and tedious."

Hartley turned to fresh waters on the final day due to the weeklong fishing pressure.

"We had beat that river to death," said Hartley. "I didn't want to fish where I had been catching them before because I had worked the areas so thoroughly. It was an easy decision to go to new waypoints."

Hartley's final-day weight of 13 pounds, 11 ounces didn't leave the angler with the sense he had outdone the field.

"I knew I was going against one of the very best fisherman on the James River – David Dudley," said Hartley. "I knew I would have a hill to climb to beat him. I was very fortunate that the conditions were that tough."

The rest of the field struggled to land quality fish, leaving Hartley with the heaviest bag of the day and the spot atop the winner's podium. The angler's decision to head to new waters proved key, along with the high performance of his Ranger Z520C to get back and forth from the Chickahominy River.

"It ain't a boat ride, it's a boat race," said Hartley. "It is critical to be in a boat that you feel safe in and this is the fastest Ranger I have ever owned. It lets me hang with anyone."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Fish & Wildlife to stock muskellunge fingerlings in Lake Champlain

Posted by Wayne G. Barber
A close-up of a muskellunge fingerling. Over 5,000 Muskie fingerlings will be stocked into Lake Champlain and the Missisquoi River on Tuesday by Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

SWANTON, VT – Vermont Fish & Wildlife will be stocking over 5,000 muskellunge fingerlings in the Missisquoi River and Missisqoui Bay in Swanton on Tuesday, August 25, as part of the Department's ongoing Lake Champlain muskellunge restoration initiative.
"Muskie are native to Lake Champlain and once played an important role as the top predatory species in the lake," said Shawn Good, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife, who's spearheading the project. "It's really exciting to be part of the effort to bring this fish back to the lake, not only for its important role in the lake's aquatic ecosystem, but also for the fishing opportunities it will provide in the future for Vermont anglers."
Muskellunge can grow to be one of the largest freshwater gamefish in the country, often exceeding 50 inches in length and 50 pounds in weight.  However, Good says that it's their aggressiveness that really makes muskie such a desirable sportfish.
"Muskies hold a special place in the hearts of anglers who've caught one," said Good.  "Often, catching just their first muskie ever is enough to turn someone into a lifelong muskie addict!"
Muskie are fabled for their vicious strikes and powerful runs during battle, and the species has a tendency to leap acrobatically out of the water during a fight.
"Imagine having a 30 or 40 pound smallmouth bass on the end of your line," said Good.  "That's what it's like to hook a muskie."
Muskellunge are one of four species of esocids (pike family) native to Vermont along with northern pike, chain pickerel and redfin pickerel. Lake Champlain and its tributaries are the only locations in New England that historically supported natural muskellunge populations.
Although the native Lake Champlain muskie population was once widespread, it began to decline in the 1970's, and is thought to have been extirpated completely from the lake following a paper mill spill in the Missisquoi River in the late 1970's.
"This week's stocking effort is another step toward returning this great species to Lake Champlain, and the Missisquoi River," Good said.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife has been conducting annual muskie stocking activities since 2008, and have released over 38,000 muskie into the lake since then.
The six-inch long muskie fingerlings, which will be stocked on Tuesday at multiple locations throughout the Missisquoi River and Missisquoi Bay, are being provided through a cooperative effort by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.  The fish are raised at NYDEC's Prendergast Hatchery on Chautauqua Lake in western New York.
To learn more about Vermont's fisheries management programs and fishing in Vermont, visit

Saturday, August 20, 2016

MassWildlife's Learn to Hunt Programs

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Hunters with little or no experience can learn skills and techniques used to hunt different game animals. Courses are geared toward recent Basic Hunter Education graduates and include classroom learning and outdoor skills exercises. Taught by volunteers, the courses utilize the experience and knowledge of seasoned sportsmen and -women. Courses range from one-day condensed classes to three-day, in-depth courses. If you have questions, contact Astrid Huseby at or 508-389-6305.

2016 Program Offerings 

There are still spaces available to participate in the following programs:

The Learn to Hunt Deer Program is a free program providing three full days of training for new adult hunters (ages 18 and up) with little or no hunting experience. This course will cover several shotgun deer hunting skills including scouting for a hunting area, mapping out possible hunting locations, selecting the right equipment, shotgun shooting practice, the proper and safe use of a treestand, and field dressing techniques.
Participants selected to attend must commit to all three days of the program. The dates and locations for the 3-day program are:
Saturday, September 10th: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters, Westborough, MA
Saturday, October 1st: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters, Westborough, MA
Sunday, October 30th: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters, Westborough, MA
The Learn to Hunt Deer Clinic is a free, one-day workshop for those who would prefer a condensed version of the Learn to Hunt Deer Program. The clinics are designed for novice hunters to learn and practice three specific deer hunting skills: how to sight in your gun or bow, how to scout for a hunting area, and the proper and safe use of a tree stand.  Two 1-day clinics will be offered in the state. This same clinic will be held in two different locations; if selected, you will only attend one of the clinics. Dates and locations for the 1-day clinics are:
Saturday, September 24th: Auburn Sportsman's Club, Auburn, MA
Sunday, September 25th: Marlborough Fish and Game Club, Marlborough, MA
Space is limited. To be considered for either of these programs, please complete this online form by Sunday, August 21st. It will take you no more than 5-10 minutes to complete. Please answer questions as honestly as possible to assist us in our selection process. You will be contacted by e-mail no later than Tuesday, August 23rd regarding whether or not you were selected for a program.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hartford, Connecticut Cops and Bobbers Day !

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Hartford Conn. Police Dept. says it's important to develop that relationship early.
"The young kids that are going to have their opinion of police shaped for, could be their entire life," Chief James Rovella said.
"It's all about changing the attitude of what the community has with police officers and make it a good attitude," teenager Kyle Raimundi, a member of the Hartford Police Athletic League, said.
At the end of their fishing day, every kid got to take home a rod and reel

Two Surveys for Small Game Hunters -- You Could Win a Quality Firearm

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

CONCORD, NH -- Small game hunting seasons will soon be underway, and hunters are being asked to take part in two NH Fish and Game Department surveys. Participants have a chance to win a quality firearm. Winners from last year’s survey participants were noted at the August meeting of the NH Fish and Game Commission. The Small Game Survey winner was Ronald Hamel of New Gloucester, Maine, and the Grouse Wing and Tail Survey winner was Michael Amicangioli of Dover, NH. If you hunt small game, please take part in these surveys:
Small Game Survey -- This annual survey provides Fish and Game biologists with distribution, abundance and trend data on the state’s small game populations.  The more responses they get, the better the data is. Fill out and send in your survey form postmarked by April 14, 2017, and you could win a firearm generously donated by Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.  The survey form is available at To request a paper survey, call (603) 271-2461 or email (please be sure to provide your full name and mailing address).
Ruffed Grouse Wing and Tail Survey -- This annual survey gives Fish and Game valuable insight into annual grouse recruitment into the fall population. All those who turn in completed and usable grouse study packets will be entered into a drawing for a quality shotgun donated by the Ruffed Grouse Society.  Hunter participation is key to this effort -- please let other ruffed grouse enthusiasts know about the survey.
Any grouse hunter can participate by picking up grouse sample packets, which include envelopes and survey cards for two grouse samples, from any of the participating locations listed below.  Completed packets must be returned to one of these locations. Please thank these business owners for their effort, as well. Grouse survey packets will be available as of September 23, 2016, at the following locations:
  • NH Fish and Game Department headquarters (11 Hazen Drive), Concord, NH Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM. Packets may be picked up and delivered to the licensing office on the first floor.
  • Fish and Game Regional Offices in Lancaster, New Hampton, Durham, and Keene, NH.  Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Errol General Store, 76 Main Street, Errol, NH
  • Lopstick Lodge, 1st Connecticut Lake, Pittsburg, NH
  • Old Corner Store, Jefferson, NH
  • Tall Timber Lodge, Pittsburg, NH
  • Young’s General Store Pittsburg, NH
The 2015/2016 New Hampshire Small Game Summary Report is available at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord, as well as all regional offices.  The report can also be viewed online at
For more information on small game hunting seasons and bag limits in New Hampshire, visit

Thursday, August 18, 2016

VT.Arlington Man Charged in Deer Poaching Case

Posted by Wayne G. Barber
VT Fish & Wildlife photo
Mugshot of Michael Crawford of Arlington, VT

Arlington, Vt. -- Michael Crawford, 31, of Arlington, Vermont was arraigned on Monday August 15 following an eight-month investigation by game wardens, spurred by a tip to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s Facebook page.  The tip linked to a photo of Crawford on his Facebook page posing with an 8-point white-tailed buck that he allegedly took during Vermont’s 2015 November deer season. 
Crawford’s Facebook post generated complaints and comments that the deer had been shot at night with a rifle.  Crawford is a locally known convicted felon and not allowed to possess a firearm. 
In an initial investigation, Crawford reported he harvested the deer on November 16 in Danby and that it was a 183 lb. 8-point buck taken with a muzzleloader.  Additional investigation and input from responsible sportsmen revealed that the deer was taken in the Village of Manchester in the area of Union Street. 
A direct witness reported that the deer was shot at about 8:00 p.m. with the aid of car headlights in a field adjacent to Union Street and Richville Road.
At his arraignment, Mr. Crawford pled “not guilty” in Bennington Superior Court to the charges of taking big game by illegal means – second offense, and taking game by illegal methods – the headlights of a car.  He faces a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 for each offense and possible imprisonment for up to 60 days.  He also faces a possible restitution charge of up to $2,000 for killing the buck. 

Vermont Bear Hunting Starts Sept. 1

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

MONTPELIER, Vt.  Vermont’s bear hunting season starts September 1, and hunters can improve their chances if they scout ahead of time to find fall foods such as wild apples, beechnuts, acorns, and berries -- where bears will be feeding.
“Fall foods for bears are more scarce than they were last year,” said Vermont’s bear biologist Forrest Hammond.  “Bears will be feeding along power lines and in forest openings and old fields where berries and apples can be found as well as in forested beech and oak stands.  They also are likely to be feeding more on standing corn this year.”
Vermont has two bear hunting seasons.  The early bear hunting season, which requires a special bear tag, starts September 1 and continues through November 11.  The late bear season begins November 12 and continues through November 20.  A hunter may only take one bear during the year. 
Hammond says Vermont’s regulated bear hunting seasons help in managing the state’s population of about 5,500 bears. 
“Twenty-five years ago Vermont had less than 3,000 bears, and they were found mostly in the mountains and northeastern quarter of the state,” he said.  “Although we have successfully increased bear numbers, the human population has also risen, resulting in more encounters between humans and bears.  Carefully regulated hunting helps control the growth of the black bear population and allows for their sustainable use, while decreasing interactions with humans.”
“Hunters are reminded to collect a small pre-molar tooth from each harvested bear,” Hammond added.  “The collection of a premolar tooth is critical to the bear project as it provides important data on the age structure of the bear population and for making population estimates.”
A video showing how to remove the tooth is on the Fish & Wildlife website and YouTube channel. ( (
Hunters took 665 bears last year in 189 Vermont towns. 
Hammond asks hunters in southern Vermont to avoid shooting bears with yellow ear tags and GPS collars because they are valuable animals in the Deerfield Wind bear study. 
A Guide to Bear Hunting in 2016 -- --
is available on the Fish & Wildlife website.