Quabbin Reservation Deer Hunt

Learn more about the Quabbin Reservation Deer Hunt.

There are three choices for hunting in the Quabbin Reservoir watershed:

  • The Pelham Hunt Zone will be open for the entire two week shotgun season, December 2 - December 14, 2019, with a free Quabbin Access Permit.
    The application period for the 2019 Quabbin Pelham Hunt Zone Access Permit is now closed.
  • The Quabbin Park Controlled Deer Hunt scheduled for December 5 and 6, 2019 has been postponed.  Hunters selected by lottery will be notified directly.  
    Click here for Press Release.

Getting chosen for one hunt does not exclude you from  the other hunts.  Please scroll down for additional information.

Buck in the fall
Photo courtesy of Dale Monette, North Quabbin Photography

The Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt

The Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt is an annual event conducted on Quabbin Reservoir watershed lands, implemented as part of the management program to maintain a balance between deer herd densities and forest regeneration. Participants are selected from an applicant pool in a special lottery in early September. Since 2016, all applications must be submitted online; the application must be filled out and submitted from the DCR Deer Hunt web page between July 1st and August 31st. Hunters can get assistance completing the online application at the Quabbin Visitor Center on Saturdays (9 a.m. to noon) and Wednesdays (noon to 3 p.m.) during the application period.

Once selected, all successful applicants will receive written notification by early to mid-October. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Quabbin Reservoir - Visitor Center
Department of Conservation & Recreation

485 Ware Rd.
Belchertown, MA 01007
(413) 323-7221

Additional Information:

Interactive Maps

The Division of Water Supply’s (DWSP) has developed several interactive maps with detailed information about hunting areas on DWSP property.  There are two ways to access these maps: one is an online program that is accessible from your desktop computer or mobile device’s web browser; the other is through an App you can download directly to your mobile device and use in the field.  The mobile device App is recommended for use in the field.

Click on the links below to directly access the on-line program.  Please see the Instructions for Using DCR Division of Water Supply Protection's Deer Hunt Interactive Maps for information about the mobile app.

Note: Location information on these maps is for reference purposes only.  The maps are not meant to be used to determine accurate location with regards to boundaries or other features.  Please obey signage and respect our neighbors.  Hunters should be aware that these maps are updated as needed and setbacks, boundaries and available features may change.  

Additional Resources for


Since its creation in the 1930s, hunting had not been permitted on the Quabbin Reservation. This allowed deer populations to grow immensely.

In June of 1989 the Office of Watershed Management determined that the deer herd was negatively impacting its mandate to protect the natural resources and water of Quabbin. At that time it was also determined that the best solution to this situation was to reduce deer populations using a series of controlled public hunts.

Controlled hunts began in 1991 in the Pelham area and expanded to the four other management blocks (Prescott, New Salem, Hardwick and Petersham) during the next three years. As deer populations were lowered, yearly hunting effort was reduced so that by 1996 only one hunting segment was used in each hunt area. This was in keeping with DCR’s intent to scale back hunting effort as the program moved from the initial reduction phase to a population maintenance phase. The goal of this latter phase is to maintain deer populations at levels that allow for forest regeneration. While hunter success has been lower during this phase than in earlier years, the exceptional scenery and habitat of Quabbin Reservation still makes for a quality hunting experience.

Doe in the field
Photo courtesy of Dale Monette, North Quabbin Photography

Organization of the Controlled Deer Hunt

During 2019, controlled hunting will occur in the following area:  

  • Petersham between Gates 38 and 40 on December 12 & 13.

Access will be restricted to designated gates. Hunters must check in and out by posted times on each day they hunt and obey all regulations and directions of DCR and law enforcement personnel.

Hunters will be assigned to a specific access zone where they must check in and out each day.

There will be a limited number of Antlerless Deer Permits available to participating hunters in Petersham, so unlike in past years, not all hunters are able to purchase an Antlerless Permit.

Since 2007, hunters have been able to use muzzleloaders for the Quabbin Deer Hunt. However, all hunters must possess a valid FID Card in order to participate in the hunt.

The hunt may be cancelled due to severe weather conditions or security situations.

Controlled Hunt Application Process

The application must be filled out and submitted online through the DCR Deer Hunt web page. There is no application fee.  

To minimize vehicular traffic and increase efficiency, hunters in Petersham may apply in groups of up to six with a MINIMUM of two. Hunters may only apply on one application. There are several required fields on the application which must be completed before it can successfully be submitted, including a valid email address for Hunter #1.  This hunter will receive an email message confirming successful submission of the application.

Getting chosen for one location does not exclude you from the other.

Once selected, hunters will be assigned to a specific access zone where they must check in and out each day.

Hunter Selection Process

The drawing to select hunters will be based on the last digits of your MassWildlife Customer ID Number.  All eligible Customer ID numbers listed on the application will be included in the lottery.

Selected hunters will be required to complete an orientation session prior to the 2019 Quabbin deer hunt except for those who completed an orientation session in 2018, 2017, or 2016.  DCR has developed an online orientation session option for returning hunters who have not completed an orientation session in 2018, 2017, or 2016 but have attended an orientation session at some point in the past.  New Quabbin hunters will still be required to attend an in-person orientation session.

Instructions for Completing the Controlled Hunt Application

  1. From the Quabbin Deer Hunt web page, click on the “application” link.
    The application period is closed and the lottery has been completed. 
    Click on the following link to find the results of the lottery.

    2019 Quabbin Deer Hunt Selected Hunters for Petersham by Customer ID Number
  2. You must possess a valid 2019 Massachusetts Hunting or Sporting License BEFORE you apply.
  3. Complete the online application with all required information.
  4. a.  There must be at least two hunters on the Petersham application with a maximum of six hunters.
    b.  Everyone’s license number is eligible for the drawing.
  5. No name can appear on more than one application for each site. Duplicate applicants will be eliminated from the drawing.
  6. Hunter #1 on the application must have a valid email address.  This information is used only for the purpose of sending a confirmation email or if there is important information about the deer hunt that must be conveyed to the hunting party.

Controlled Hunt Schedule

July 1:  Online application available for Petersham.
July 6, 13, 20, 27; August 3, 10, 17, 24:  Application assistance by Quabbin Visitor Center staff at the Visitor Center between 9:00 a.m. and noon.
July 3, 10, 17, 24; August 7, 14, 21, 28:  Application assistance by Quabbin Visitor Center staff at the Visitor Center between noon and 3:00 p.m.
August 31:  Deadline for application submission.
September 11:  Permit drawing to select hunters.  Only winners will be notified by mail. Winning numbers will be posted on the DCR Quabbin Deer Hunt website. (Rescheduled from original date of September 5)
October 1 – October 31:  Online Orientations Available
October 21 – November 23:  Classroom Orientation Period
November 11 December 13:  Quabbin Antlerless Permits available from MassWildlife
November 23:  Last in-person Orientation
November 23 & 24:  Scouting days.  Vehicle access allowed in all hunt areas for valid permit holders.

Pelham Shotgun Season Hunt

The Quabbin Hunt Zone of Pelham will be open to hunting for the entire two week shotgun season (December 2 - December 14, 2019).

Click here to download the Quabbin Reservation Deer Hunt Pelham Zone Map (8 MB) or use the online, interactive DCR DWSP Deer Hunter Field Map Watershed Lands Open to Hunting.

The application period will close at 5 p.m. on October 31, 2019.  Every hunter that applies will be given an access permit.  Your DCR access permit will be mailed to you by November 22, 2019. The application period for the 2019 Quabbin Pelham Hunt Zone Access Permit is now closed.

A limited number of Quabbin Antlerless permits will be available for this hunt through the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s MassFishHunt website.

Access for this portion of the hunt will be walk-in from the gates or other designated parking areas.  Additional access will be granted through Gate 8.  Parking will be allowed on the Gate 8 road down to the powerlines. 

Hunters will not be required to complete a Quabbin Deer Hunt Orientation to hunt in Pelham.

Quabbin Paraplegic Hunt

Each year MassWildlife holds a special three-day deer hunting season for paraplegic hunters at Quabbin. Staff and volunteers place hunters in safe areas at several hunt locations. When a hunter shoots a deer, volunteers assist the hunter by retrieving the deer, field dressing it, and getting it checked in. 

For more information about this special hunt and how to take part click here:  www.mass.gov/service-details/deer-hunt-for-paraplegic-hunters.

Harvest Locations 2010-2018

Quabbin Controlled Deer Hunt Harvest Interactive Map

View static maps from 2009-2015: