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News Special deer hunt for paraplegic hunters

Since 1972, MassWildlife has offered paraplegic hunters the opportunity to participate in a special 3-day hunting season.
11/04/2019
  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Jordan Bird (hunter) with volunteers John Smey (left) and Ray Thibeault (right)

Since 1972, MassWildlife has offered paraplegic hunters the opportunity to participate in a special 3-day hunting season. This year's hunt was held October 31–November 2, 2019 at five sites statewide in the Northern Berkshires, the Southern Berkshires, the Quabbin Reservoir, Devens Reserve Forces Training Area in Lancaster, and Otis/Edwards Military Reservation in Falmouth. Eighteen hunters participated in this year's hunt and 5 deer were harvested (1 six-point buck and 4 adult does) for a 28% success rate. Hunters at all five sites observed several deer and many were presented with shooting opportunities. Despite poor weather two out of the three days, participants, volunteers, and staff all reported having positive experiences. 

Over 35 volunteers and MassWildlife staff assisted the hunters. Staff and volunteers strategically place hunters in safe locations where deer sign has been observed. If a hunter shoots a deer, staff and volunteers assist by tracking and retrieving the deer, field dressing it, reporting the harvest on site, and coordinating with a local butcher for processing.

“This is my ninth year staffing the deer hunt for paraplegic sportsmen and my second year as the coordinator of the program. Participating in this special hunt has always been an incredible honor and such an enjoyable experience," said Susan McCarthy, MassWildlife Coordinator for the hunt.  "This program could not possibly be successful without our many volunteers, MassWildlife staff, DCR staff, military personnel at both Devens RFTA and Otis/Edwards MMR, and of course our amazing hunters.” 

Next year’s hunt will be held October 29–31, 2020. For more information please contact MassWildlife Field Headquarters at (508) 389-6300.

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.
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