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News Deer hunting information and reminders

Archery season extension; Antlerless Deer Permits; Wachusett hunting extended; and more!
  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Media Contact for Deer hunting information and reminders

Marion Larson, MassWildlife


Archery Extension

A regulatory amendment has been approved to extend the archery deer hunting season by two weeks in eastern Massachusetts. In zones 10-14, the archery deer season will now open the eighth Monday prior to Thanksgiving. In zones 1-9, the archery deer season will remain the same, opening six weeks before Thanksgiving. The change will take effect beginning with this fall's hunting seasons. The extension will increase hunting opportunities in a region where deer numbers are above the statewide management range of 6-18 deer per square mile.

Bowhunters are reminded that all bait must be removed at least 10 days prior to the start of the archery season in the zone they are hunting. Bait includes any natural or artificial substance which may be ingested that is used to entice deer. 

Learn more about the archery deer season extension.

2018 Deer Hunting Seasons

Youth Deer Hunt Day: Sept. 29
Paraplegic Hunt: Nov. 1–Nov. 3
Archery Season (Zones 10–14): Oct. 1–Nov. 24
Archery Season (Zones 1–9): Oct. 15–Nov. 24
Shotgun Season: Nov. 26–Dec. 8
Primitive Firearms Season: Dec. 10–Dec. 31

All dates inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.

Surplus Antlerless Deer Permits

Surplus permits will go on sale in late September for Zones 9, 10, 11, 13, and 14. Surplus permits are sold for $5 each on a first come, first served basis. You may purchase only one Zone 11, one Zone 10 permit per day, and one Zone 9 permit per day; up to four permits per day may be purchased for Zones 13 and 14. Find number of surplus permits available by zone and instructions.

  • Zone 11: Tuesday, September 25 at 8 a.m.
  • Zone 10: Wednesday, September 26th at 8 a.m.
  • Zones 9, 13, and 14: Thursday, September 27 at 8 a.m.

Apply Online for the Quabbin Deer Hunt

The Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt takes place every year on Quabbin Reservoir watershed lands. To have a chance of participating in the hunt, you must apply online between July 1 and August 31; there is no application fee. For application and more information from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), go to

Wachusett Hunting Expanded

DCR recently opened 7,500 acres of land to hunting in the Wachusett Reservoir Watershed. Learn more about hunting on the Wachusett Reservoir watershed. There are two free permit types available based on the location of the property.

  • A five-year permit for hunting on property both west and east of Interstate 190. This area is open for the entire hunting season and for all game.
  • An annual permit for a Controlled Deer Hunt for hunting property immediately adjacent to Wachusett Reservoir, designated by DCR as the “Reservoir Zone”, which encompasses land within Routes 110, 12, 40, and 70. Hunting in this area is only for white-tailed deer and only from December 1 through December 31. This permit is selected by lottery; you must apply by 8/31.

Antlerless Deer Permit Instant Award Period begins August 1

Hunters who applied for an Antlerless Deer Permit by the July 16 deadline must return to the MassFishHunt licensing system to try to win a permit. The Instant Award Period begins August 1 at 8:00 a.m. and continues through December 31. This is NOT a first-come first-served system. The odds of winning an Antlerless Deer Permit during the Instant Award Period are the same whether a customer tries to win in August, September, or any time before December 31. See instructions, allocations, and chances of winning.

Youth Deer Hunt Day

The 2018 Youth Deer Hunt Day is Saturday, September 29. Youth Deer Hunt Day permits are available online, beginning August 1. With this permit, youth may take either an antlered or antlerless deer in any zone on the Youth Deer Hunt Day. Learn more about the Youth Deer Hunt Day.

Media Contact for Deer hunting information and reminders

Division of Fisheries and Wildlife 

MassWildlife is responsible for the conservation of freshwater fish and wildlife in the Commonwealth, including endangered plants and animals. MassWildlife restores, protects, and manages land for wildlife to thrive and for people to enjoy.