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Fall Firearms Deer Hunting Season
Firearms deer hunting season begins Wednesday, November 20! Everything you want to know about the tagging and reporting process is covered on our website.

Tree Hazards: Remember to look up and watch out for hazardous trees while in forested areas. Several years of storms, drought, and insect infestations have severely damaged a significant number of Connecticut's trees. Damaged and hazard trees can fall without warning.

Hunting Area Closures: Any notices about temporary closures to certain hunting areas are posted on the main  Hunting and Trapping webpage.

Tree Stand Safety Reminder: Improper use of tree stands is one of the most common causes of injuries and death to hunters in the field. HUNTERcourse.com offers free online instruction on the proper use of tree stands and safety harnesses. 

Hikers, Hunters, Horseback Riders, and Mountain Bikers: What you need to know when you are outdoors.

2019: Make a Difference for Wildlife
There are plenty of simple ways to help wildlife, and each month we will highlight an action you can take to benefit the species that call Connecticut home.

Practice 7 simple actions to help birds. A recently published study has found that the U.S. and Canada have lost more than 1 in 4 birds in the past 50 years -- almost 3 billion. Despite the dire news, there is hope! Everyday actions that you take can help save millions of birds. These actions include making windows safer, keeping cats indoors, replacing lawns with native plantings, avoiding pesticides, drinking shade-grown coffee, reducing the use of plastics, and participating in citizen science opportunities. Your help makes a difference. 

Bird Species on the Brink
Using the latest climate change models and known home ranges of 604 North American birds, National Audubon Society scientists were able to predict how each species' range will shift as climate change and other human impacts continue to influence the continent. The results indicate that two-thirds (389 out of 604) of North American bird species will be forced to relocate as the climate warms, and many of those species may not survive. Audubon's Birds and Climate Visualizer shows how a warming climate will impact not only birds, but people as well. 

White-nose Syndrome, an Uphill Battle
Since its 2006 appearance in North America, white-nose syndrome (WNS) has claimed the lives of approximately 7 million bats. This disease is caused by a cold-loving fungus that grows on the muzzle and wings of bats during hibernation. The fungal infection makes them wake up during hibernation, depleting the fat reserves bats need to survive winter. WNPR Connecticut Public Radio recently covered the Wildlife Division's ongoing efforts to monitor Old Newgate Prison & Copper Mine, a well-known hibernaculum for several of Connecticut's bat species.       

Bears and Bird Feeders
Now that leaves are falling from the trees and temperatures are getting colder, many of us are eager to put out bird feeders to attract our feathered friends. It is best to put up feeders in the winter months from December through late-March when bears are in their dens. Although most bears enter dens at some point, some can remain active for portions of or the entire winter season if food is available. You can help keep bears wild by removing bird feeders at the first sign of bear activity.

If you live in an area with bears, it is best to avoid bird feeders altogether. Bears that find bird feeders will often repeatedly visit the site in search of food. Bird feeders and other bird food will attract bears closer to homes and humans. When bears begin to use human-associated food sources, they will frequent residential areas, lose their fear of humans, and not flee when harassed. They can even cause damage by breaking into outbuildings and homes in search of food.

Report Fisher Sightings
The Wildlife Division is collecting sighting reports to help monitor Connecticut's fisher population. The fisher is a large member of the Mustelidae (weasel) family that prefers large tracts of coniferous or mixed hardwood-softwood forests. Report your observations to deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov. Be sure to include the date, time, location, and any photos or video of your sighting. Please note that many people claim to have heard fisher calls that sound similar to a person "crying". In reality, those calls are most likely coming from a red fox (fishers are not very vocal). Report vehicle-killed fisher, as well, so they can be collected for research. Thank you for your help!

Tracking Connecticut's Bobcats
Photo courtesy of Laura Netro-Price
The GPS collars for the 2018-2019 study season for the Wildlife Division's  Bobcat Project began detaching from bobcats in August 2019 and will continue dropping off through January 2020. Bobcat project staff will be using radio telemetry equipment to locate and recover the detached collars. WNPR Connecticut Public Radio recently joined biologists in the field for the recovery of one of these collars. In the event you find a detached collar before project staff are able to retrieve it, please collect it and call 860-424-3211. We will make arrangements to pick it up from you.

Spotted Lanternfly Found in Southbury, CT
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) has announced that a single live adult spotted lanternfly (SLF) was found in Southbury, CT.

The SLF is an insect with a large and diverse host range. It feeds on about 60 genera of the trees and plants found in North America. In Connecticut, approximately 47% of the forest trees are considered as potentially susceptible to the SLF ( See Tree List). Many of the fruit trees grown in Connecticut, such as apples, cherries, and peaches, are also considered to be vulnerable. Even if the insect does not kill the trees, it could destroy the value of the fruit. Grapes are likewise vulnerable. The impact on the agricultural industry of Connecticut could be devastating.

The degree of impact of the SLF on Connecticut's urban and rural forest trees is uncertain. It may turn out to be more of an annoyance with minor impact on forest health. However, there is the potential that it could cause much more significant damage.

History of Connecticut's Turkey Population
Connecticut's turkey population has fluctuated dramatically over the years due to a variety of factors, including habitat loss, weather, and predation. By the early nineteenth century, the wild turkey was extinct from Connecticut due primarily to loss of habitat from colonization. Over the years, Connecticut's forests were able to regenerate, and wild turkeys were reintroduced to Connecticut in the mid-1970s. This set the stage for a remarkable wildlife management success story.     

Species of the Month: Downy Woodpecker
Not to be confused with the slightly larger look-alike hairy woodpecker, the downy woodpecker is a common visitor to backyard bird feeders and the smallest woodpecker in North America. It is capable of feeding on prey, including insects living on or in the stems of weeds, that larger woodpeckers cannot reach. You may see downy woodpeckers hammering at goldenrod galls to extract fly larvae inside. In winter, this woodpecker will often join mixed species flocks. This makes detecting predators and finding food much easier.   

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