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DCR Watershed Hunting

Find out about hunting on DCR Division of Water Supply Protection property in the Quabbin Reservoir and Wachusett Reservoir watersheds.

The Quabbin Reservoir, Ware River, Wachusett Reservoir, and Sudbury Reservoir watersheds provide drinking water to 3 million people. The goal of DCR’s Division of Water Supply Protection (DWSP) deer hunt programs is to reduce the impacts of deer browsing in these four watersheds in order to have a healthy, resilient, diverse forest that continuously protects water quality in the drinking water supply for over 3 million people.

2021 Deer Hunting Season

Hunting permits are required for hunting on DWSP’s properties. Applications and details for each watershed are available on the links below. Permit applications will be available on July 1, 2021. There is NO fee for this permit. Hunters must apply for a permit online and provide a valid email address. In addition, hunters must possess a valid 2021 Massachusetts Hunting License.

Key things to know about each watershed for 2021:

Quabbin Reservoir:
* Designated lands in the Hardwick, Pelham and New Salem Hunt Zones will be open for public hunting during the shotgun season (Nov. 29th - Dec. 11th) on a permit-only basis.
* Hunting is for white-tailed deer only.
* Access to this property is walk-in only from designated gates and parking areas.

Wachusett Reservoir Zone:
* The Reservoir Zone will be open to deer hunting for archery, shotgun and primitive deer hunting seasons as defined by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife on a permit-only basis.
* Hunting is for white-tailed deer only.
* Access to this property is from designated gates and parking areas.

Wachusett Watershed Properties (outside of the Reservoir Zone):
* These properties are open for all regular hunting seasons and all legal game.
* A 5-year Watershed Hunting permit is required.

Ware River Properties:
* These properties are open for all regular hunting seasons and all legal game.
* No permit is required at this time.

Sudbury Reservoir Properties
* Open to deer hunting for archery, shotgun and primitive deer hunting seasons as defined by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife on a permit-only basis.
* Hunting is for white-tailed deer only.
* Access to this property is from designated gates and parking areas.

Please click below for additional details and permit applications for a particular watershed.

Locations for DCR Watershed Hunting

The four watersheds are the source of drinking water for over 3 million people.

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