GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

September 12, 2013

Outdoors: Water fowl seasons set, beginning October 2

Outdoors
Dave Sartwell

---- — The 2013-2014 fall and winter waterfowl seasons have been set. Following the guidelines outlined by the federal government, the Fish and Wildlife Board has decided on the following seasons and limits for our zone.

:Woodcock: Oct. 2-Nov. 16; five bag limit.

Geese: Early season is now- Sept. 2; seven bag limit.

Regular season is Oct. 16-26 and Nov. 15-Jan. 11; 2 bird limit.

Late season is Jan. 18-Feb. 15; five bag limit.

Sea ducks: Oct. 7-Jan. 31; 7 bag limit no more than four scoter, four eider(one hen), and four oldsquaw.

Brandt: Nov. 15-Nov. 30; two bag limit.

Ducks: Oct. 16-Oct. 26; Nov. 15-Jan.11. Bag limit is six of which there can be no more than one black duck, mottled, or fulvous whistling; two canvasback, hooded merganser, pintail, redhead, or scaup; three wood ducks; or four mallards.

As with everything else in life, their are a number of regulations that go with waterfowl hunting. Go to www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dfg/dfw/regulations/20143-14-waterfowl-abs-final.pdf for more information. Do not forget to get your HIP number with your license.

This should be a very good year for duck and goose hunting. The numbers being reported out of Eastern Canada seem to indicate the flights through later this fall should be high. The goose population just continues to grow. The problem on the North Shore is not the amount of birds available, but where can you get permission to hunt them.

More and more land is being posted or towns are passing increasingly difficult rules for hunting. Although you can take seven geese a day, it does no good if there is no place to hunt. More and more land is being leased and not open to the general public. Although state game managers all over New England want the population to be reduced substantially, even offering a seven bird a day limit, they are being frustrated by the lack of opportunity for hunters to harvest the excess.

Pistol Recall

Smith and Wesson announced that the Company has identified a condition where the trigger bar pin could damage the lower trigger in certain M&P Shields in a way that may affect the functionality of the drop safety feature of the firearm, potentially allowing the pistol to discharge if it is dropped.

This Safety Alert applies to all M&P Shield pistols manufactured before August 19, 2013. They are asking all consumers of all M&P Shields manufactured before Aug. 19, 2013 to immediately inspect their pistols for this condition.

Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury. You are asked to stop using your pistol immediately until it has been inspected and, if the condition is found, repaired.

To determine whether your firearm was manufactured before August 19, 2013 and to receive video instructions for inspection, please go to the Smith and Wesson web site.

If you are uncomfortable conducting the inspection outlined above, or are unsure whether the condition described in this notice applies to your firearm, please take your firearm to your local M&P Certified Armorer or send your firearm to Smith & Wesson for inspection. M&P Armorers can be found on the smith-wesson.com website under the Find a Dealer tab.

Fishing

The ground fishing has been excellent over the past month with good-sized fish being taken almost every time out. If you get beyond the 15 line and fish the humps and the edges of the drops, legal cod, haddock and cusk are plentiful. Be sure to keep you bait bumping the bottom. If you don’t get hung up once in a while, you are not on the bottom enough.

The striper fishing has been only fair even if you fish at night. The commercial season was extended a bit so they could reach their quota. Perennial hot spots are giving up some, but it has been hard fishing. The secret has been live bait. Eels will be good from here on out, so you might want to get a few of them into the water.

The big question this year is where are the tuna and bluefish? There have been a couple of bluefish blitzes recently, but they have been few and far between. There has not been any really good bluefishing for several years. Everyone I talk to in the scientific community does not seem to know why.

Of course the tuna fishing has been the worst in years. A year ago folks who went off shore for a few days seemed to do very well, but this year even that has not been productive. This is true all the way along the coastline. As of yet this year, they are simply not in the Gulf of Maine. It is not too late for them to show up following the sand eels, but we are running out of time. When you have forty-four boats in a tuna tournament and not a single one lands a legal tuna you know the fishing is BAD! I wonder what Wicked Tuna is going to do for footage this year.

Even the whales are in scant supply with the whale watch boats having to work hard every day to find one or two for their visitors. They have been burning up a lot of fuel roaming about. We have had fluctuations in numbers before, but no bluefish, no tuna and no whales leaves one to wonder about what is going on out there.