The Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt
The Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt is an annual event conducted on Quabbin Reservoir watershed lands, implemented as part of the management program to maintain a balance between deer herd densities and forest regeneration.
All successful applicants will receive written notification by early October. For further information, please contact the Quabbin Visitor Center at (413) 323-7221.
Since its creation in the 1930s, hunting had not been permitted on the Quabbin Reservation. Consequently, densities of several wildlife species exceeded those found in other parts of the state where hunting has historically been allowed. In particular, deer densities in some areas of the reservation were three to five times the statewide average.
In June of 1989, the former Division of Watershed Management of the Metropolitan District Commission, now the Office of Watershed Management of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, determined that the deer herd was negatively impacting its mandate to protect the natural resources and water of Quabbin. At that time it was also determined that the most workable and achievable solution to this situation was to reduce deer populations using a series of controlled public hunts.
Controlled hunts began in 1991 in the Pelham area and expanded to the four other management blocks (Prescott, New Salem, Hardwick and Petersham) during the next three years. As deer population densities have been lowered, yearly hunting effort has also been reduced so that by 1996 only one hunting segment was used in each hunt area. This is in keeping with DCR’s intent to scale back hunting effort as the program moves from the initial reduction phase to a population maintenance phase. The goal of this latter phase is to maintain deer densities at levels that allow for the continued establishment and development of forest regeneration. While hunter success has been lower during this phase than in earlier years, the exceptional scenery and habitat of Quabbin Reservation still makes for a quality hunting experience.
Organization of the Hunt
During 2015, hunting will occur in the following areas: Prescott between Gates 17 and 21; New Salem between Gates 22 and 37; Petersham between Gates 37 and 40; Hardwick between Gates 41 and 50. Each of the four areas will have one, two-day segment as follows: Petersham and Hardwick on Dec. 3 & 4, Prescott and New Salem on Dec. 10 & 11. Access will be restricted to designated gates. Hunters must check in and out by posted times on each day they hunt and obey all regulations and directions of DCR and law enforcement personnel.
Hunters will be assigned to a specific access zone where they must check in and out each day. Hunters are no longer required to purchase a Quabbin specific antlerless permit. In 2015 hunters interested in purchasing an antlerless permit will have the opportunity to do so prior to the hunt.
There is a $5 per hunter NON-REFUNDABLE application fee. To minimize vehicular traffic and increase efficiency, hunters may apply in groups of up to six with a MINIMUM of two. Hunters will be assigned to a specific access zone where they must check in and out each day.
Since 2007, hunters have been able to use muzzleloaders for the Quabbin Deer Hunt. However, all hunters must possess a valid FID Card in order to participate in the hunt.
The hunt may be cancelled due to severe weather conditions or security situations
Hunter Selection Process
Approximately 1,200 hunters will be randomly selected from applications submitted with the required fee. TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF BEING SELECTED, CHECK AS MANY SEGMENTS AS POSSIBLE FOR WHICH EVERYONE WILL BE AVAILABLE. Hunters will be placed in segments according to their preferences. Rank the segments from 1 (highest) through 4 (lowest) for all segments you want to hunt. Leave blank any segments you do not wish to hunt. The drawing to select hunters will be based on the last digits of your MassWildlife Customer ID Number. All eligible Customer ID numbers listed on the application will be included in the lottery.
Selected hunters will be required to attend an orientation session prior to the 2015 Quabbin deer hunt except for those who attended an orientation between 2012 and 2014. For 2015, the DCR is developing an online orientation session option for returning hunters who have not attended an orientation session since 2011. New Quabbin hunters will still be required to attend an in-person orientation session.
Instructions for Completing the Application Form:
- Print all information clearly. We will not be responsible for applications we cannot read!
- Do not skip anything! If you do not include everything we ask for, you may be disqualified.
- You must possess a valid 2015 Massachusetts Hunting or Sporting License BEFORE you apply.
- Rank your hunt area preferences 1-4; 1=highest preference; 4=lowest preference for all segments you want to hunt. Leave blank segments you do not want to hunt.
- There must be at least TWO hunters on each application. Everyone’s license number is eligible for the drawing.
- No name can appear on more than one application. Duplicate applicants will be eliminated from the drawing.
- Double check the ENTIRE application form before you send it in. Make sure that your check or money order is payable to the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts".
- $5.00 must be sent for each person on the application. If there are six people on one form, the application fee is $30.00
July 1: Application forms available.
August 15: Deadline for application submission - hand deliver by 4:00 PM or August 15 postmark from U.S. Postal Service.
September 9: Permit drawing to select hunters. Only winners will be notified by mail. Winning numbers will be posted on the website.
October 15: Online orientation available
November 4 - 21: Orientations
November 21: Deadline for returning hunters, last orientation
November 21 & 22: Scouting
Petersham & Hardwick: December 3 & 4
New Salem & Prescott: December 10 & 11
Deer Hunt Reports
- Deer Hunt Report 2012
- 2014 Quabbin Deer Hunter Newsletter
- 2013 Quabbin Deerhunter Newsletter
- 2012 Quabbin Deerhunter Newsletter
- 2011 Quabbin Deerhunter Newsletter
- 2010 Quabbin Deerhunter Newsletter
- 2009 Quabbin Deerhunter Newsletter
Harvest Locations 2009-2014
For additional information contact the DCR Division of Water Supply Protection at:
Quabbin Reservoir - Visitor Center
Department of Conservation & Recreation
485 Ware Rd.
Belchertown, MA 01007