On The Ridge: Returning home from the Windy City

Published: 07-12-2023 5:03 PM

Attention hunters: Apply now for your Antlerless Deer Permit before the July 16 deadline.

GOOD MORNING! I have returned from the Land of Lincoln! Home to the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, Garrett popcorn (it’s addictive), “The Bean,” Lake Michigan, along with Ben, Lauren, Lillian and Jordan Joseph Judd (JJ)!

Yep, we had a great time visiting with the boy and his family. Took in some sights, celebrated the Fourth, ate too much “Johnnie’s Beef” while washing it down with Italian ice lemonade. But we’re happy to be back in New England, healthy, not so wealthy, and well, and as we dip further into summer there’s a lot happening out there that we need to get into and know about. So, let’s get right at it!

On Aug. 8, from 6-8 p.m. the Women in the Outdoors Group, in cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Federation, will be holding an event titled “Ladies Pint Night” at the Stone Cow Brewery, located at 500 West Street, in Barre.

Women in the Outdoors is an important group to me as I have worked closely with them since their inception. I’ve also hunted with many of the women who have gone through the program and served as an instructor for many years, especially during the early days of the group’s inception. So I know that an event like this will be an awesome night for women who love the outdoors. You’ll be joined by a panel of women who are all outdoor enthusiasts, and who will answer all questions ranging from, but not limited to, topics related to fishing, hunting, kayaking, hiking, biking and canoeing. Light snacks and soft drinks will be provided, and a cash bar will be open. If you’re interested in attending, and I hope you are, contact Sasha Dyer (sashad@charter.net) for more information about the evening.

If you haven’t already heard, this is worth repeating. Recently, a fire crew from the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) departed for Canada to help battle some of the more than 70 wildfires that continue to burn since the beginning of June. This group was also joined by firefighters from Connecticut and Vermont. While up there, they engaged in direct fire suppression, working on fire lines for about 14 days —building fire breaks, securing fire perimeters, containing fires, and protecting structures.

The cause of these blazes are brought on by the changes in the climate, rising temperatures and dry conditions caused by many years of drought due to lack of rain and snowfall. Conway’s Robin Armstrong was also involved in this deployment and was happy to go when the call came in. Robin, who’s been a firefighter in Conway for almost 15 years, is not a stranger to this type of work as this trip was his fourth assignment in Canada, and from what I gather, Conway is lucky to have a firefighter of his caliber as part of their department.

The good news is that Robin, along with the rest of the crew, is safely home with no injuries reported. Thanks Robin, along with the dedicated crew you were with, for your dedication to this dangerous work, and the work you will continue to do in your hometown.

MassWildlife staff recently discovered a frosted elfin caterpillar, a “species of special concern in Massachusetts,” at Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area after two decades of habitat restoration at the site. This is an exciting finding for this dedicated staff of hard-working people who search and study for species such as the frosted elfin, at times for decades. To then identify something is evidence that their efforts are paying off.

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Located in Montague, the area contains the largest inland pine barrens habitat in the Commonwealth and is characterized by an open tree canopy and lots of thick undergrowth. The deep, coarse glacial sands that underlay the area give rise to its unique features with many special plants and animals living there. When MassWildlife acquired the bulk of Montague Plains WMA back in 1999, decades of agricultural plowing and subsequent abandonment, along with wildfire suppression, had almost completely inhibited the unique characteristics of the plains. Only a few scattered patches of unplowed land contained remnants of a more diverse habitat. Brian Hawthorne, MassWildlife’s Habitat Program Manager says it best, “The unique barrens habitat at Montague Plains WMA is considered regionally and globally rare, making our restoration efforts at this site especially important for rare animals and plants that require this special habitat type.”

Joe Judd is a lifelong hunter and sportsman. He is an outdoor writer, seminar speaker, member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association, and a 2019 inductee into the N.E. Turkey Hunting Hall of Fame. Joe is also on the Quaker Boy Game Calls and Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Pro-Staff.]]>