The shotgun deer season opens in Massachusetts on Monday, Nov. 26, and will end Dec. 8. The Black powder season will be held from Dec.10 to Dec. 31. The limit is two antlered deer per year. Because of the easy winters we have had in the past couple of years, the number of deer in the woods all over Cape Ann is high. In fact, there is a chance we will break the record for the number of deer taken in the state that was set in 2002 at 12,417.
Massachusetts Deer Project Leader David Stainbrook reports a total of 11,154 white-tailed deer harvested by licensed hunters during the combined 2011 seasons. By season, the total broke down to 8 deer taken during the special deer season for paraplegic sportsmen; 3,765 taken in the archery season; 5,349 taken during the shotgun season; 1,959 taken during the muzzleloading season; and 73 deer harvested during the Quabbin Reservation hunt.
Deer populations are managed according to deer density goals established to maintain healthy deer populations in balance with the environment. Goals are set at levels that allow sustainable deer harvest and deer viewing opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers, and at levels which minimize impacts on property damage, public health issues, and safety.
Of course the problem here on the North Shore is that the areas open to the public to hunt are shrinking.
This means that the deer herd will continue to grow resulting in populations that the land cannot sustain.
It is interesting the to look at the deer harvest figures over time.
In 1966 there were a total of 3,404 deer taken of which 3,386 were killed with shotguns and 18 by archery.
The total the reflected the huge weather problems of that winter with only 1,193 deer harvested. There were ups and downs over the next decade, until in 1981 when the harvest jumped to 5,011.
It was in that era that the archery hunting started to really come into popularity.