Deer Hunting Information
Though Massachusetts is the 3rd most densely populated state in the country, it is a state where quality deer can be found anywhere.
There are 85,000 to 95,000 deer statewide. Densities range from about 10 per square mile in northwestern Massachusetts to 45 to 55 per square mile on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Islands.
ALERT! ZONE 11 DEER PERMIT SALES DELAYED TO FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19
After further testing of the MassFishHunt system, the contracting vendor Active Outdoors, continues to experience technical problems with system's ability to issue Surplus Antlerless Deer Permits via the Internet. These issues have resulted in the following decisions regarding Zone 11 Surplus Antlerless Deer Permit Sales:
- Sales of Zone 11 Surplus Antlerless Deer Permits will be delayed until Friday, October 19, 2012 at 8AM.
- Sales of these permits will be conducted through the Active Outdoors phone bank at 1-866-703-1925 and at license vendor locations.
Permits will be available only by phone, license vendor location, or MassWildlife District office or the new Field Headquarters location in West Boylston. No one will be able to purchase a permit via Internet sales on a computer.
When using the phone system, deer hunters will need a valid 2012 sporting or hunting license, Customer ID number, and a credit card. People who do not have a credit card will need to visit a license vendor or MassWildlife office.
NEW UNCHECKED DEER POSSESSION LIMITS IN ZONES 13 & 14
The possession limit of unchecked deer in Wildlife Management Zones 13 and 14 (Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and the Elizabeth Islands) has been increased from 2 to 4 deer.
NOTE: As in the past, all deer harvested on the islands must be taken to a game check station on the islands before deer carcasses are transported off-island. Hunters who are deer hunting on the islands (WMZ's 13 and 14) are also reminded that they may purchase up to four antlerless deer permits per zone per day for Zones 13 and 14 available online and at any license agent location. Hunters are encouraged to purchase their permits well ahead of their planned hunting activities.
BACKGROUND: Antlerless deer permit allocations in Wildlife Management Zones 13 and 14 are very high, due to high deer population densities. These permits have never sold out. Allowing possession of a greater number of unchecked deer in this situation may increase harvest potential by allowing deer hunters more time to spend in the field.
Apply for An Antlerless Deer Permit by July 16
Deer Hunters -- You need to go online or visit a license vendor to apply for your antlerless deer permit by July 16. See this detailed explanation of the new 2- step process for applying and winning an antlerless deer permit. Share this information with your hunting buddies!
2012 Deer Hunting Season Dates and Bag Limits
Archery Deer Season:
Oct. 15 - Nov. 24, 2012
Hunting Season for Paraplegic Sportsmen and Women:
This year's dates are November 1-3, 2012. Call Trina Moruzzi at (508) 389-6300 for more information.
Shotgun Deer Season:
Nov. 26 - Dec 8, 2012
Blackpowder Deer Season:
Dec. 10 - Dec. 31, 2012
2 antlered deer per year and as many antlerless deer as the hunter has valid antlerless deer permits.
NEW ANTLERLESS DEER PERMIT PROCESS
There is a new 2-step process for obtaining an antlerless deer permit. Hunters who have purchased a license and wish to hunt antlerless deer in any deer season must apply for an antlerless deer permit through the MassFishHunt system by July 16th. After August 1, hunters must go back into the MassFishHunt system to participate in the Instant Award process to see if they were selected for a permit. More details.
This page is your best source for antlerless deer permit information and will be updated regularly. It includes information on the new 2-step antlerless deer permit process.
Quabbin Deer Hunt Information
Applications for the Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt are usually available on the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) web page by mid-June. Water Supply Division staff reminds prospective applicants that regardless of the type of firearm used, all applicants must have a valid FID card to be eligible to apply for this hunting opportunity.
All applications must be postmarked by August 15th or hand delivered to the Quabbin Visitor's Center by 4:00 PM on that date to qualify for the permit selection process. Hunters may obtain hard copy applications at DCR administrative and field offices at the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs and their Boston office at 251 Causeway Street. Applications will also be available at MassWildlife's Field Headquarters in Boston, Westborough, and District Offices.
Obtain applications through the mail by sending a self-addressed, stamped, business sized envelope to: Quabbin Visitor Center, 485 Ware Road, Belchertown, MA, 01007.
Successful applicants will receive written notification from the DCR by early October. For further information, contact the Quabbin Visitor's Center at (413) 323-7221.
Town & Municipal Bylaws Relating to Discharge of Firearms and Hunting
Hunters need to be aware that many Massachusetts communities, particularly in the eastern part of the state have bylaws the require landowner permission to discharge a gun. Contact the clerk in the municipality in which you have an interest and ask for relevant bylaws in writing to be sure of the exact wording and meaning of the bylaws.
Deer Management Overview - A brief overview on how hunting is used as a management tool for deer in Massachusetts.
Places To Hunt - If you are new to hunting or new to hunting in Massachusetts, consider first familiarizing yourself with the state lands open to hunting at this Places-To-Go link.
Other Hunting and Shooting Opportunities - Specific places to hunt beyond the Places to Go area of the website. These hunting opportunities may be controlled hunts or require some kind of registration or permit. Public hours on certain shooting ranges are also found here.
Harvest Information -- Tables from the past 5 years of deer
harvest by Wildlife Management Zone (WMZ) as well as a table of total
harvest since the 1960's.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) -- Includes information on New York deer meat processors for MA residents who are hunting in New York, a state where CWD is now found.