Hunter Gets Town Talking

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A resident of Needham, Massachusetts became concerned after her teenage daughter came home from walking their dog, saying she ran into a hunter in a tree stand. The location is very close to the residential Ridge Hill Reservation, where the girl and her family live. The girl said the hunter was wearing camo, in a tree stand. She was unsure whether he was armed or not, but told her that he was hunting deer for a state study on Lyme disease.

No one in Needham knows of this study, or if it is legit. But the fact that there was a hunter in this area also led to bringing out maps to see who owns the land, and whether hunting is even allowed in the area. The tree stand where the man was seen was removed but the hunter was not found. Some say the land may be owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, if this is the case hunting is allowed. Others are adamant that the land is conservation land owned by the town, and hunting is prohibited.

The uncertainty surrounding the area, where town, federal and private property intersect, was unsettling to residents like Clara Germani, mother of the girl who ran into the hunter.

Needham does not allow firearms for hunting in the town district, but bow hunting is fine. Residents would prefer hunting to happen far off in the wooded forests, but Massachusetts doesn't have much remote wooded areas left. The deer do not have natural predators, so to keep the numbers down some towns nearby strongly support bow hunting in town. Hunters are supposed to know the rules for the areas they are hunting, but it is hard to see boundary lines that are almost indecipherable on maps. From


Retired2hunt's picture

  I would think a call to the


I would think a call to the Army Corps of Engineers would also be necessary rather than simply looking at city maps, etc... and relying on the "almost certainly town conservation land" comment.  I think there are several clues here that this was nothing more than a poacher and nut case.  Clue#1 hunting specifically for a state study on lyme disease, #2 black ski mask - I know it is cold but reads as if a bank robber, #3 tree stand is a chair attached to the tree with fabric straps.  Funny but serious story as it could have negative implications on the archery hunters who are now legal to hunt nearby but after this may not be.


not a hunting place

I'm the Needham resident mentioned in the story. The city manager resolved the matter by reconciling several maps, including those from the Army Corps of Engineers. The land the hunter's stand -- and another found nearby -- had been used for years, unbeknownst to us, the closest landowners. The land was found to be recreation park land -- illegal to hunt. There is a multi-acre chunk of federal land nearby that is, indeed legal to hunt with bow or gun. There is a 5 acre plot owned by a neighbor who legally hunts his land and has a legal platform on a tree there. But the land my daughter found the hunter on, which is a few yards from the creek on our property that she plays in was not legally huntable. The city and police agree on that.

As for the ski mask: That's what my daughter saw. Though he may have had camouflage paint that resembled a mask. He mumbled to her something about lyme disease. We have since heard that there are other reports of hunters saying something similar to local residents who find them on their land. There are lyme studies going on in Needham, but the people conducting them are on the ground and wear white overalls, according to town officials, not hunting apparel.

A police officer who came out to help does indeed know who the hunter is who had the tree stand there. He said a group of local hunters here have used it an other stands nearby for years, thinking it was federal land. I helped the police officer take the stand down and it indeed was a metal folding device with nylon straps.

I am not anti-hunting. But I am pro-information. I want to know where it's ok for hunters to be so I can make informed decisions. I want hunters to know where it's ok to be so they can safely do their thing.

Retired2hunt's picture

  Then here is what I think


Then here is what I think is your next move for contacting the right people to assist you -

Contact them for direction is my best direction... hope you find your answers.