Participate in a controlled public hunt in Massachusetts

If you are looking for a place to hunt, consider applying for or participating in 1 of the 5 controlled hunts in Massachusetts.

There are several opportunities to participate in controlled hunts in Massachusetts. These hunts take place during the regular hunting seasons. Some hunts limit the number of days that are open to hunting, limit the number of hunters, allow access to areas otherwise off limits to hunting, or some combination of the three. You’re still required to follow all the usual hunting regulations, in addition to the rules for the specific hunt.

You’ll find that taking part in some of the hunts is simple, while others have a more involved application process.

Quabbin Reservation Deer Hunt

The Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt takes place every year on Quabbin Reservoir watershed lands. You must apply for the hunt in the summer. There is no fee to apply. Participants are selected from the pool of applicants. You must have a firearms identification card to take part in the Quabbin hunt regardless of the type of firearm you use. Hunters must apply in groups of 2–6 people. Hunters may only apply on one application.

Applications and more information are available through the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and must be submitted online. The application period is July 1 to Aug. 15. If you’re selected, you’ll receive written notification in the fall and an assigned zone where you must check in and out each day of the hunt. Contact the Quabbin Visitor Center at (413) 323-7221 for more information.

Additional Resources

Blue Hills Deer Management Program

The Blue Hills Deer Management Program is part of a long-term effort to manage high deer densities within the Blue Hills Reservation. You must apply and be selected through a lottery system to participate in the hunt. For the most current information, please check the Department of Conservation and Recreation website.

Additional Resources

Wachusett Reservoir Watershed Hunt

You can hunt in certain areas of the Wachusett Watershed Management lands in Central Massachusetts if you have a permit.
Hunters must complete an application for a 5-year permit and mail or deliver it to:

DCR, Division of Water Supply Protection
Office of Watershed Management
180 Beaman Street
West Boylston, MA 01583

You must include a self-addressed #10 envelope with your application in order to receive a map of areas where you can hunt and your permit. There’s no fee for the permit and it’s valid for 5 years.

Camp Edwards Controlled Hunting Program

Camp Edwards on Joint Base Cape Cod is located in the towns of Bourne and Sandwich. Controlled deer hunts are held in the fall. Controlled turkey hunts are held in the spring. About 11,000 acres of this active military training area are open to hunting and access is strictly controlled. 

Additional Resources

Templeton Development Center Bowhunting Program

During the fall deer and fall turkey hunting seasons, bow hunters can access the Templeton Development Center (TDC), operated by the Department of Developmental Services. The goal of the TDC Bowhunting Program is to provide recreational opportunities for Massachusetts hunters and to address the high deer and turkey densities in the area. There is no application or permit required to hunt in this area. There are special regulations that must be followed.

Regulations for Hunting on Templeton Development Center lands:

  • Archery hunting only. No firearms of any kind.
  • Archery hunting allowed for deer and turkey only. Turkey may only be hunted during the fall season.
  • Scouting is allowed 2 weeks prior to start of archery deer season.
  • Hunting is allowed from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Hunting is prohibited within open fields, access roads, trails, marked safety zones, and within 500 feet of any TDC building. See TDC map.
  • Hunters must wear a minimum of 500 square inches of blaze orange.
  • Treestand hunting only. Driving deer and turkey is prohibited.
  • Do not block gates. See TDC map for parking areas.
  • Hunters are not permitted to walk on or across TDC open fields, paved roads, or non-hunting areas. Violations subject to trespass laws. See TDC map.
  • If deer or turkey are wounded and enter a prohibited area, you must contact campus police at (978) 939-2161, Ext. 0.
  • Motorized vehicles, camping or campfires, littering, drugs, or alcohol are not allowed.

Please limit traffic through the TDC campus. Speed limits on grounds are strictly enforced.

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