All Outdoors: Son Doug spends summer battling Lyme disease


         Lyme disease has hit home. For the past four months son Doug has been battling an array of sicknesses that at times has knocked him out of the game.

         Too tired to fish, is that really possible? Tail-dragging, bumping his south end through the spring and summer, was a real job for him.

            Though he suspected Lyme disease, all testing said no and that just a running series of bad health was the answer to it all.

            The traditional tick bite bull’s eye never appeared, but then came three weeks of extreme fatigue, feeling good for a bit, then a 10-day fever that sent him to the emergency room at 103 degrees.

            An irregular red rash spots with off colored centers provided the final 10 out of 12 indicators that finally got him the treatment that should take care of this great hide-n-seek champion of a disease.

            Doug said he wants his summer back. Sorry boy, not possible, but this is an example of being your own advocate where your health is concerned.  

ELMER SAYS HI: Fellow fisherman Dr. Will Freeburg thought his grandkids would like a shout-out from the more-famous-than-me furry friend Elmer.

            With a chuffing “woof,” Elmer sends his sing-song doggy words of greeting to Teddy and Nora Nuernberger of Wakefield.

            Yeah, we all think our dog is the smartest, cutest or fastest around, but ya gotta believe me, it’s hard to beat Elmer’s instant non-skid stop from his full-out hunting run to zero mph for the loving hand of a child.

            Oh, by the way Doc, there’s a real lunker waiting at Littleville Dam for you or your bride. Keep casting, my friend.

HIM FIRST: Visitors, whether old men or visiting nurses, first pat Elmer on the head and say hi, then they get to me… with a secondary, less than enthusiastic hi.

            Is it that he’s fuzzier?

BUCK STUFF: After a bit of reading I thought I’d pass along a little deer hunting info.

            Bucks can actually have different breeding strategies. Some continually check on certain doe groups in a small area. Remember that a doe only stays in estrus for a day or two.

            If you’re hunting a buck that regularly checks on doe groups, look between the doe bedding areas and where the buck spends his down time.

            Other bucks, however, prefer to cruise great distances for does. Staying to the deer highways will give a better chance for these big guys.

            Either way your deer seeks love, now is the time to scout out his ranging habits.

            Reminder: when you see a buck that is aggressive toward other bucks, it’s probably easier to bring in. Whereas a big buck that is always alone, standing off from the herd, may be more wary and tough to hunt.

BIG BROWN: This summer Fish and Wildlife biologists captured and released a 17-pound, 33-inch brown trout while sampling the Swift River. They also reported observing  hundreds of healthy brook trout from multiple size classes.

            This is their annual summer sampling of the commonwealth’s rivers, streams, lakes and ponds for fish. Biologists gather information on fish species at each location in order to evaluate the quality of recreational fishing opportunities and to monitor overall ecosystem health. Water bodies are typically surveyed on a 10- to 15-year rotation to track changes in fish communities over time.

            Anglers can use the information collected in these surveys to learn more about fishing opportunities in a particular area. MassWildlife has also been hard at work collecting new underwater topography data in lakes and ponds, which will be released to the public as a paired depth map with such pond information as depth, fish summaries and access and ramp information.

            This information will be great for Ponds Maps, which can be found on Fish and Wildlife’s website.

DUCK STAMP ART: The Junior Duck Stamp Traveling Art Exhibit, a combination of the top 25 pieces of JDS art created by young people, is on exhibit at the MassAudubon’s Arcadia Sanctuary in Easthampton until Oct. 20.

            Teachers and their students are invited to participate in the Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp (JDS) Program, designed to stimulate awareness and personal involvement in waterfowl and wetland conservation for students in grades K-12 through art.

            The program helps students communicate visually what they have learned by creating an entry for the Junior Duck Stamp Program art contest. The art is judged in four age group categories in a statewide competition, and the entry judged Best of Show moves on to represent Massachusetts in the national JDS competition.

            For more information on the Easthampton exhibit, call Patti Steinmann at 413-584-3009, ext. 14.

WALKABOUT: Join MassWildlife Habitat Biologists and Restoration Ecologists on a walk-through portion of the Montague Plains Wildllife Management Area that have been the focus of pitch pine/scrub oak barrens restoration for the past 20 years.

           The walk will be held on Oct. 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. 

            Participants will visit previous timber harvest areas, learn about the restoration and management, effects of these activities and what activities will be occurring in the near future to provide viable habitat for a number of state-listed and dwindling species.

            Meet at the MassWildlife parking area off Lake Pleasant Road across from Beach Road. Wear sturdy boots and be prepared for a moderately strenuous walk.

ACCESS & CONSERVATION: On Sept. 15, Secretary of the Interior (SOI) Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, continuing the Department of Interior’s (DOI) efforts to support sportsmen and women and enhance conservation stewardship. The order seeks to improve wildlife management and conservation, increase access to public lands for hunting, shooting and fishing, and puts a greater emphasis on the promoting outdoor activities among youth, veterans and minorities.

            “Hunting and fishing is the cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation. The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands,” Zinke said.  

LOCAL WINNERS: Rainy weather may have prevented the traditional outdoor graduation ceremony of the Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp (MJCC) in August, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the campers and staff.

Local winners included:

Shotgun – 1st place Mathieu Ouellet (Worthington); 2nd place Andrew Lachtara (Southwick).

Scholastic Steel – 1st place Liam Donahue (Belchertown); 2nd place Andrew Lachtara (Southwick).

Rifle – 1st place Andrew Lachtara (Southwick); 2nd place Mathieu Ouellet (Worthington).

Archery – 1st place Joey Deprey (Granby); 2nd place Andrew Lachtara (Southwick).

Black Powder – 1st place Lane Hughes (Lanesboro); 2nd place; Graham Goodhind (Pelham).

            Since 1949, the Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp has provided young people with a unique experience of conservation, shooting sports and outdoor recreation education. The 12-day program introduces girls and boys ages 13 to 17 to the ethical responsibilities of hunting and fishing in order to foster careful stewardship of natural resources.

            Nearly 90 percent of campers’ tuition was funded by local and regional sporting clubs and civic organizations.

            For more information visit their website or the camp Facebook page at facebook.com/Mass-Junior-Conservation-Camp-537591036286089/ . To reach camp directly, email MAJuniorCamp@gmail.com or call 508-450-5120.

TURKEY SHOOTS: Fall turkey shoots are held on Sundays through Nov. 19 at The South Hadley Sporting Club, 135 River Road, South Hadley. The public is welcome.

            Skeet begins at 9 a.m. and the turkey shoot at 11 a.m. (Sign-up at 9 a.m.) Breakfast and lunch are available.

           For more information call (413) 534-3325 or email Greg Tiner at gregory.tiner@comcast.net



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