Quabbin Reservation Deer Hunt

Learn more about the Quabbin Reservation Deer Hunt.

Table of Contents

The Quabbin Reservation Controlled Deer Hunt

Buck in the fall
Photo courtesy of Dale Monette, North Quabbin Photography

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.

There are two types of hunts on the Quabbin Reservation. One is a hunt that occurs annually during the two-week shotgun season in specific zones (Hardwick, New Salem and Pelham). Hunters are required to apply online for a one-year access permit to hunt these zones and there is no limit to the number of hunters that can receive a permit. The second type is a two-day hunt that may occur in any given year in other Quabbin zones. For this two-day controlled hunt, participants are selected from an applicant pool in a special lottery in early September. Applications for the two-day controlled hunt must be submitted online. Applications for all hunts open on July 1 and can be found on this web page. If you need assistance completing the online application, call the Quabbin Visitor Center at (413) 323-7221 and leave a message; someone will get back to you within one or two business days.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Quabbin Reservoir - Visitor Center
Department of Conservation & Recreation

485 Ware Rd.
Belchertown, MA 01007
(413) 323-7221
QuabbinVisitor.Center@mass.gov

Additional Information:

Interactive Maps

The Division of Water Supply Protection (DWSP) has developed several interactive maps with detailed information about hunting areas on DWSP property.  There are two ways to access these maps: one is an online program that is accessible from your desktop computer or mobile device’s web browser; the other is through an App you can download directly to your mobile device and use in the field.  The mobile device App is recommended for use in the field.

Click on the links below to directly access the on-line program.  Please see the Instructions for Using DCR Division of Water Supply Protection's Deer Hunt Interactive Maps for information about the mobile app.

Note: Location information on these maps is for reference purposes only.  The maps are not meant to be used to determine accurate location with regards to boundaries or other features.  Please obey signage and respect our neighbors.  Hunters should be aware that these maps are updated as needed and setbacks, boundaries and available features may change.  

Printable Maps

DWSP has also created printable maps of the Hardwick, New Salem, and Pelham zones. See links below under Additional Resources. Please note when printing that these maps are 11x17 inches.

Additional Resources

Background

Since its creation in the 1930s, hunting had not been permitted on the Quabbin Reservation. This allowed deer populations to grow immensely.

Two-day controlled hunts with hunters selected through a lottery began in 1991 in the Pelham area and expanded to the other four management blocks (Prescott, New Salem, Hardwick and Petersham) during the next three years. As deer populations were lowered, yearly hunting effort was reduced so that by 1996 only one hunting segment was used in each hunt area. This was in keeping with DWSP’s intent to scale back hunting effort as the program moved from the initial reduction phase to a population maintenance phase. The goal of this latter phase is to maintain deer populations at levels that allow for forest regeneration.

It was decided in 2019 that one zone (Pelham) would be open to deer hunting during the two week shotgun season. Hunters who applied for a one-year access permit could hunt this zone. Due to the success of this program, it was expanded to additional zones; since 2020, Pelham, New Salem and Hardwick zones have been open to deer hunting during the shotgun season. Two-day controlled hunts are still scheduled on a rotating (non-annual) basis in other zones. While hunter success has been lower during the deer maintenance phase of the program than in earlier reduction phases, the exceptional scenery and habitat of Quabbin Reservation still makes for a quality hunting experience.

Doe in the field
Photo courtesy of Dale Monette, North Quabbin Photography

2022 Shotgun Season Quabbin Hunt Zones

Similar to 2021, Hardwick, Pelham, and New Salem will be open for the entire two-week 2022 shotgun season (Nov. 28 - Dec. 10, 2022).  Access is by foot from DCR gates or designated access points. There may be increased vehicle access for parking on interior roads at designated gates in each section.  

There is no lottery for permits in these 3 zones.  Each hunter must apply for their own permit.  DCR will not limit the number of permits. 

Each hunter will be able to use the two buck tags issued with their hunting license as well as have a chance to win a Quabbin-specific antlerless tag purchased from MassFishHunt's instant award lottery. 

See below for an application.

2022 Prescott Controlled Hunt

DCR will also hold a two day controlled hunt on the Prescott Peninsula on Wednesday Dec. 7 and Thursday Dec. 8, 2022. 

This hunt will be administered the same as past Quabbin controlled hunts.  Hunters can apply specifically to hunt this area in groups up to two hunters and the number of permits will be capped.  If that cap is reached, there will be a lottery. A lottery was held on October 7, 2022; please click this link for 2022 Quabbin Deer Hunt Prescott Lottery Results.

Permitted hunters will be allowed vehicle access to the Prescott for the two-day hunt.  Hunters will check in and out of the hunt each day.

Each hunter will be able to use the two buck tags issued with their hunting license as well as have a chance to win a Quabbin-specific antlerless tag purchased from MassFishHunt's instant award lottery. 

See below for an application

Additional Resources

Quabbin Park Hunt - Postponed in 2022

The Quabbin Park hunt is still pending.  DCR is not taking applications for this hunt.  All the hunters that were accepted and completed orientations before the postponed 2019 hunt will be issued permits if the Quabbin Park hunt occurs in 2023.

Quabbin Deer Hunt Applications 2022

There are two deer hunts that hunters can apply for in 2022.  Each application is separate and hunters may apply to one or both hunts.  If you participate in one hunt, it does not preclude you from taking part in the other.

Please Note

  • You must possess a valid 2022 Massachusetts Hunting or Sporting License BEFORE you apply to either hunt.
  • No orientation is necessary to participate in the 2022 Controlled Deer Hunt in Hardwick, Pelham, and New Salem. 
  • Orientation will be required for the 2022 Prescott Peninsula Hunt.
  • Hunters must obey all regulations and directions of DCR and law enforcement personnel.
  • There will be a limited number of Antlerless Deer Permits available to participating hunters; not all hunters may be able to purchase an Antlerless Permit.
  • 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.
  • Successful hunters in Hardwick, New Salem or Pelham must self-report harvest information on the  2022 Deer Harvest Reporting on DWSP Lands form and are legally required and are legally required to submit data to MassFishHunt (https://massfishhunt.mass.gov).

​​​​​​​Application for the 2022 Quabbin Shotgun Season Deer Hunt in Hardwick, Pelham and New Salem

Hunt dates: November 28 - December 10, 2022

  • CLICK HERE TO APPLY for the Hardwick, Pelham and New Salem deer hunt.
  • The application must be filled out and submitted online through the DCR Deer Hunt web page. 
  • There is no application fee.   
  • There are several required fields on the application which must be completed before it can successfully be submitted, including a valid email address. Please make sure the email address is valid and entered correctly.  
  • You will receive an email message confirming successful submission of the application and this is where your permit will be sent. 
  • DCR has been notified that the return message with the permit is sometimes flagged as spam by email providers (hotmail, gmail, yahoo, outlook, etc.) and is sent to a junk/spam folder. To prevent this, please add dcrnaturalresources@gmail.com to your “Safe Sender” list to ensure you receive your permit.  Please also check your junk/spam folder. If you have still not received your permit a week before the hunting season begins, please email ken.mackenzie@mass.gov.
  • Please note that there is no deadline for submitting the application for the Hardwick, Pelham and New Salem hunts in 2022.  However, to be eligible for the bonus Quabbin Antlerless Permits you must apply for the DCR Quabbin deer hunt access permit by Monday, October 31, 2022.  After that date, you can still apply to hunt at Quabbin, but you will not be able to purchase a bonus antlerless permit through the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.  Quabbin Antlerless Permits will go on sale in November on the MassFishHunt website.
  • There will be no vehicle access for Hardwick, Pelham and New Salem.  However, the area is open to the public year-round for scouting on foot. Access to this hunt will be from DCR gates and other points designated on the Quabbin Controlled Hunt Map

Application for the 2022 Controlled Deer Hunt on the Prescott Peninsula 

Hunt dates: December 7 - December 82022

The application period for the 2022 Controlled Deer Hunt on the Prescott Peninsula is now closed. Please click here for 2022 Quabbin Deer Hunt Prescott Lottery Results.

The application must be filled out and submitted online through the DCR Deer Hunt web page. 

There is no application fee.   

There are several required fields on the application which must be completed before it can successfully be submitted, including a valid email address. Please make sure the email address is valid and entered correctly.  

You will receive an email message confirming successful submission of the application and this is where your permit will be sent. 

DCR has been notified that the return message with the permit is sometimes flagged as spam by email providers (hotmail, gmail, yahoo, outlook, etc.) and is sent to a junk/spam folder. To prevent this, please add dcrnaturalresources@gmail.com to your “Safe Sender” list to ensure you receive your permit.  Please also check your junk/spam folder. If you have still not received your permit a week before the hunting season begins, please email ken.mackenzie@mass.gov.

Scouting: Due to restricted public access on the Prescott Peninsula, there will be a special scouting weekend on Saturday, November 19 and Sunday November 20, 2022.  Permitted hunters will be allowed to drive in the Prescott hunt zone at Gate 17 to scout the area.  Hunters must check in and check out each day that they scout.

Controlled Hunt Schedule

July 1:  Online application available.

August 31:  Application period for the Controlled Hunt on the Prescott Peninsula closes on August 31. 

  • There is no deadline for submitting the application for the Hardwick, Pelham and New Salem hunts in 2022.
  • Application assistance by Quabbin Visitor Center staff is available from July 1 to August 31.  If you need assistance completing the online application, call the Quabbin Visitor Center at (413) 323-7221 and leave a message; someone will get back to you within two business days.

October – November: Prescott Peninsula Orientations (training done remotely).

November – December:  Quabbin Antlerless Permits available from MassWildlife. Specific dates to be determined.

November 19 – November 20: Scouting for controlled hunt on the Prescott Peninsula.

November 28 – December 10: Shotgun season hunt in Hardwick, Pelham and New Salem.

December 7 – December 8: Controlled hunt on the Prescott Peninsula.

Deer Harvest Reporting

Harvest data is important to understand the deer populations on DCR Division of Water Supply Protection lands.  Information collected about the deer harvest helps DCR with the management and logistics of the hunts held on the Quabbin Reservoir, Wachusett Reservoir, and Sudbury Reservoir watersheds, which provide drinking water to 3.1 million people. 

Data from harvests that occur in Pelham, New Salem and Hardwick zones must be submitted to two agencies: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) and DCR Division of Water Supply Protection (DWSP). It is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT to submit your harvest information to MassWildlife through the MassFishHunt system. It is also required that you submit your harvest information to DWSP’s database.

Deer harvested on the Prescott must be checked at an on-site deer check station. DWSP biologists will check-in the deer for you.

Online Deer Harvest Reporting Instructions

  • Each deer harvested is legally required to be reported to MassWildlife.
    • Submit data by clicking here (MassFishHunt).
    • When asked about antlered and antlerless deer in the MassFishHunt system, please select the following for all harvests on DWSP lands regardless of whether you harvested in a controlled hunt or under a 5-year permit:
      • “Was this deer harvested during a permitted or special controlled hunt”: Select “YES”
      • “Select the controlled hunt this deer was harvested during”: select “DCR Water Supply Property”
  • Once you have your MassFishHunt Confirmation Number for your harvest, you must then submit your data to DWSP.  
  • Each deer harvested must be reported separately.  If you have two harvests, then two separate reports are required.
  • Please answer all of the questions. You will need to examine your deer to answer some of these questions.

Other Hunting Opportunities at Quabbin

Off-Reservation Hunting

There are areas managed by the Division of Water Supply Protection that are outside of the traditional Deer Hunt Zones - "Off-Reservation" land that is north and west of Routes 202 and 122 -  which are open for hunting and trapping for all game during the state hunting season.  You can view these other areas within the Quabbin watershed that are not part of a Controlled Hunt on the Deer Hunter Field Map, where they are shown as yellow or green.  Click on any location to find additional information about rules, regulations, and contact information.   All State Fish and Wildlife Regulations are in effect for these properties.

Some properties, as shown as yellow on the Deer Hunter Field Map, allow increased access through the gates with a Deer Hunt Vehicle Access Permit. Click here for the 2022 Off-reservation Deer Hunt Vehicle Access Permit application and gate key information.  If you have any questions email the Visitor Center at QuabbinVisitor.Center@mass.gov or call 413-323-7221.

Paraplegic Hunt

Each year MassWildlife holds a special three-day deer hunting season for paraplegic hunters at Quabbin. Staff and volunteers place hunters in safe areas at several hunt locations. When a hunter shoots a deer, volunteers assist the hunter by retrieving the deer, field dressing it, and getting it checked in. For more information about this special hunt and how to take part click here:  www.mass.gov/service-details/deer-hunt-for-paraplegic-hunters.

Deer Hunt Reports and Surveys

Hunter Survey Results

DCR is conducting research on the different types of hunts that are hosted by the Division of Water Supply Protection. We reached out to the hunters who took part in the 2019 Pelham Zone hunt to ask about their experience.  This information helps DCR make improvements to the existing hunt structure and provides information  to evaluate the success of the hunt. This short survey took less than five minutes and the responses were completely anonymous. Thanks to all the hunters that participated.  We really appreciate your input!

Click here for DCR Watershed Pelham Hunt 2019 Survey Results.

Past Reports

Harvest Locations 2010-2018

Contact

Address

100 Winsor Dam Rd.
Belchertown , MA 01007

Address

180 Beaman Street
West Boylston, MA 01583
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