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Massachusetts 2009 deer harvest totals in; second highest archery record

From the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game

-- A total of 10,581 white-tailed deer were harvested by licensed hunters during the combined 2009 seasons, according to Deer Project Leader Sonja Christensen.

By season, the total breaks down to 4 deer taken during the special deer season for paraplegic sportsmen; 3,492 taken in the archery season; 4,927 taken during the shotgun season; 1,958 taken during the muzzleloading season; and 200 deer harvested during the Quabbin Reservation hunt. The 2009 deer harvest information is posted at
Christensen noted that 2009 was the second highest harvest for the archery season on record, falling slightly below the 2008 season.

"Archery is an important management tool in suburban areas where deer densities are higher due to limited hunting access." However, she points out that there was a decrease from 2008 during the shotgun season. Many hunters noticed a large acorn crop in 2009, which often results in less deer movement as deer do not need move long distances for food resources. Also, as deer populations in Wildlife Management Zones have begun to reduce or stabilize toward deer management goals, fewer antlerless deer permits are issued and ultimately fewer deer are harvested.

"Reducing antlerless deer permits puts less hunting pressure on female deer, allowing more fawns to be born the following spring. Deer populations are managed with deer density goals established to maintain healthy deer populations in balance with their environment (below biological carrying capacity), at levels that allow sustainable deer harvest and deer viewing opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers, and at levels that minimize impacts on public health and safety (below cultural carrying capacity).

"Quality deer are found throughout the Commonwealth," Christensen added. "We consistently see a balanced age structure among the deer checked in at our biological check stations, which means that young deer are surviving to older age classes."

For 2010, Christensen reminds deer hunters that an antlerless deer permit is required to take antlerless deer in any deer season. Hunters should apply for an antlerless deer permit, as there will be few permits available for over-the-counter sales in selected Wildlife Management Zones.

Permit applications are attached to traditional hunting and sporting licenses and must be submitted prior to July 16, 2010. Hunters who have purchased their license online must apply for an antlerless permit at

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