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Warm Weather Wreaks Havoc on Winter Sports

March 8. 2012

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - An abundance of ticks. Lakes and ponds that never froze during this whole winter. These are just two problems facing outdoor enthusiasts in Massachusetts, according to Mark Jester with the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen.

Jester says the changing climate has wreaked havoc in all sorts of ways, and his 3,000 members - from hunters and anglers to birders - are concerned.

"We represent 23 organizations in Berkshire County. Every single organization cancelled their ice fishing derby this winter."

He says his members are worried about the potential for Lyme disease from ticks, as well as the danger of falling through thin ice on ponds that actually do freeze.

A climate-related issue for members who hunt native cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares is that these animals are losing habitat around the state, he adds.

"Because of these warm conditions, we're losing swamp areas that are critical habitat for the rabbit and hare species here in Massachusetts."

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - MA