- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for DCR Approves 2021 Deer Management Plan for Blue Hills State Reservation
Carolyn Assa, Communications Director
BOSTON — The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), in consultation with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), today approved the 2021 Deer Management Plan for the Blue Hills State Reservation. Based upon the experience of implementing and assessing the outcomes of six controlled hunts and the success of controlled hunting efforts in 2020, DCR will implement a controlled hunting plan in 2021 that mirrors the permitted archery hunt conducted in 2020.
Similar to last year, the 2021 plan features archery only hunting in the Blue Hills in designated areas of the reservation during the month of November. A total of 2622 acres are included in this year’s hunts. These same areas have already been opened to archery hunting in prior years.
Under legislative mandate, the DCR is required to implement a management plan where deer overpopulation is negatively impacting forests, water resources, or plant growth on department owned land. The Blue Hills Deer Management Program utilizes controlled/permitted hunting as part of DCR’s efforts to manage the high deer densities within the state reservation. Benefits of managing the deer herd within the Blue Hills Reservation include:
• The promotion of tree and plant regeneration, including rare plants;
• The sustainability of species diversity; and,
• The diminished risk of forest wildfires due to the growth of plant life.
DCR has safely and successfully conducted six annual controlled hunts in the Blue Hills Reservation since 2015. In light of DCR’s commitment to long-term deer management in the Blue Hills and in order to continue these successful efforts, DCR and MassWildlife will continue to implement controlled hunting in the Blue Hills in 2021. Similar to last year, permitted archery hunting in designated areas of the reservation will be Mondays through Thursdays between November 15, 2021 and December 2, 2021. There is no hunting on Thursday, November 25, 2021 in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. Licensed hunters will be required to submit an application and DCR will utilize a random lottery to select 225 hunters to receive permits.
The use of licensed public hunters in managing deer populations is one of the most widely used management methods employed throughout the United States. In Massachusetts, it is the primary management tool supported by MassWildlife and has been shown to be successful in addressing situations involving deer overabundance and vegetation over-browse. The Quabbin Reservoir controlled deer hunt is the most notable example. In addition, DCR manages thousands of acres of forest and parkland across the Commonwealth where licensed hunters are allowed to hunt during the regulated seasons.
Hunters interested in applying for archery hunting should click on the following link: Blue Hills Deer Management Program to review application instructions as well as to complete and submit an application. Selected hunters will be required to complete a mandatory hunter orientation to review the guidelines for deer hunting in the Blue Hills. Also contained on the program webpage are the previous year overview and results which provides information regarding logistics and an analysis of harvest results from last year’s controlled hunting program.