- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for DCR to Host Quabbin Reservation White-tailed Deer Controlled Hunt Public Meeting
Olivia Dorrance, Press Secretary
BELCHERTOWN — Seeking to continue its efforts to promote healthy forests and protect the water supply at the Quabbin Reservoir, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Division of Water Supply Protection will host a public information meeting on Monday, July 15, 2019 to highlight the impacts of high deer densities at Quabbin Park and present the white-tailed deer controlled hunt 2019 plan. The meeting will start at 7:00PM, and will be held at the Belchertown Town Hall Auditorium (2 Jabish Street, Belchertown, MA, 01007). Due to its direct impact on water quality, Quabbin Park will be added to the White-tailed Deer Management Program at Quabbin Reservoir in 2019 with a limited/permitted access-controlled hunt. The hunt will be held during the Commonwealth’s shotgun season in concert with the division’s regular controlled hunt program.
Importantly, the forests in the Quabbin Watershed ensure the reliable protection of the reservoir’s drinking water supply. Watershed management dictates that an actively growing, diverse, multi-age forest should be managed for regulating stream flow, maintaining water quality and preventing erosion. DCR staff have documented that deer browsing is a serious threat to the health and reproductive future of forests in the watershed. Additionally, Quabbin Park supports a high deer population density that is currently having adverse effects on the land. Surveys done by agency personnel estimate deer densities to be between 40-90 deer/mi2. The impacts of sustained high deer densities on forest and other plant regeneration and survival are evident in many areas of the park.
The Quabbin White-tailed Deer Management Program has had great success since hunts commenced in 1991. Deer densities in all areas outside of Quabbin Park were substantially reduced within the first few years of the hunt. Based on the continued success of the controlled deer hunts in the rest of the reservation, the Division of Water Supply Protection seeks to again address deer management efforts within Quabbin Park.