Deer harvest data

Get information about the number of deer harvested in Massachusetts across wildlife management zones and hunting seasons.

White-tailed deer are common in Massachusetts, and their numbers are increasing statewide. MassWildlife uses regulated hunting during three distinct seasons (archery, shotgun, and primitive firearms) to manage the deer population. MassWildlife's deer management strategy seeks to balance deer abundance with social tolerance and to maintain deer populations below levels where major habitat impacts start to occur.

Deer densities vary widely in different parts of the Commonwealth. In most of central and western Massachusetts, densities are about 12–18 deer per square mile which is within the statewide goal. Densities can reach over 30–50 deer per square mile in areas of eastern Massachusetts and on the Islands where hunting access is restricted.

Without population management, deer become overabundant. In areas with too many deer, forests and other habitats can be damaged by over-browsing and vehicle collisions can increase public safety risks.

2023 deer harvest summary

The total 2023 hunting season harvest was 15,522 deer, which was a decline of approximately 2% from the record-setting 2022 season. Poor weather conditions during much of the archery and primitive firearms seasons lowered the overall harvest, which likely would have set a new record if it were not for the poor conditions. In spite of these conditions, there were new zone record harvests in zones 9 and 14, and a record number of deer were harvested by participating youth on Youth Deer Hunt Day. Approximately 17,800 meals of venison were distributed to Massachusetts communities through MassWildlife’s Hunters Share the Harvest Program thanks to the generous donation of harvested deer by participating hunters.

  • Youth Deer Hunt Day: 144
  • Paraplegic Hunt: 10
  • Archery Season: 6,385
  • Shotgun Season: 6,118
  • Primitive Firearms Season: 2,865

Additional Resources

Historic deer harvest

total deer harvest by season

Contact   for Deer harvest data

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