2016 Hunt Dates
November 3 - November 5, 2016
MassWildlife has offered interested paraplegic hunters the opportunity to hunt deer during a special three-day season since 1972. The idea grew from a program New Hampshire's Fish & Game Department conducted at that time.
MassWildlife staff work with volunteers to help place hunters in areas at several hunt locations in the state. When a hunter successfully shoots a deer, the waiting volunteers assist the hunter by retrieving the deer, field dressing it and getting it checked in with MassWildlife staff on site.
Sportsmen and volunteers alike enjoy this opportunity to spend time together in the great outdoors, counting the hunt as successful if they are fortunate enough to see a deer.
In 1972, the deer hunt was held at the Phillipston WMA and the following year in the town of Rowe. The hunt location then moved to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket in subsequent years. Due to access issues on the islands, locations in Williamstown and in and around Mt Washington State Forest were utilized for much of the 1980's and 1990's with an occasional location in Middlesex County. Since 2000, the Department of Conservation and Recreation has hosted a third site at Quabbin Park in Belchertown. In 2003, a partnership with the US Army at Devens (formerly Fort Devens) resulted in a fourth location for paraplegic sportsmen to try their luck.
Each year, approximately 25-30 paraplegic hunters sign up for the special hunt. In the past five years, these hunters have taken an annual total of 7-8 deer, amounting to a greater than 25% success rate. For a number of these people, it's the only opportunity they have to hunt, an activity that is an important part of their lives.
Paraplegic sportsmen and women with an interest in participating in this hunt should contact Trina Moruzzi for more details at (508) 389-6318.
Results of 2015 Deer Season for Paraplegic Hunters
Twenty five hunters with paraplegia participated in the deer hunt from October 29-31, 2015.
The hunt was held at 5 sites: in the Northern Berkshires, the Southern Berkshires in and around Mount Washington State Forest, the Quabbin Reservation, Devens Reserve Forces Training Area in Lancaster, and Otis/Edwards Military Reservation in Falmouth.
Three deer (2 bucks, 1 doe) were taken, which translated to a 12% success rate for the 2015 hunt. Many hunters saw deer and several got the opportunity to shoot. "This hunt has provided thousands of hours of recreational opportunities for paraplegic sportsmen and women since 1972 and I am proud to be the coordinator for the past 15 years,” said MassWildlife Biologist Trina Moruzzi, Hunt Coordinator. She noted that volunteers are integral to the program and thanked them for their enthusiasm and commitment.