Massachusetts Preliminary Deer and Bear Numbers Released

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A preliminary total of 11,206 deer were taken during the 2008 deer seasons. Some check stations results have yet to be compiled. Paraplegic hunters took eight deer during the three-day hunt. For the 2008 archery deer season, a preliminary total of 3,581 deer were checked in at official deer check stations. The Western District office tallied 377 deer while Connecticut Valley District office reported 416. Central District stations had 666 deer checked; Northeast District, 830; and Southeast District checked 1,162. In 2007, the final archery total was 3,303.

Preliminary figures for deer checked in for the statewide shotgun season totaled 5,324. Deer checked by District were: Western District, 776; Connecticut Valley District, 1,028; Central District, 1,229; Northeast District, 729 and Southeast District with 1,562. In addition to the above total, 79 deer were taken during the controlled hunt at Quabbin Reservation. The second day of the Hardwick and Petersham hunts, December 12, was cancelled due to impassable roads and hazardous conditions created by the ice storm.

During the muzzleloader season, a preliminary total of 2,087deer were checked. By district, the numbers of deer checked in are as follows: Western District, 259; Connecticut Valley District, 315; Central District, 467; Northeast District, 503 and Southeast District with 543. Final numbers will not be available until later in the year, after the data from check stations has been entered and analyzed.

2008 BEAR SEASON FIGURES -- During the September and November bear seasons, licensed hunters took a total of 100 black bears. During the 17-day September season 78 bears were taken, and 22 more were taken in the 18-day November season. Last year, the total number of bears taken was 143. The breakdown of figures by county is as follows: 41 bears taken in Berkshire County, 24 in Franklin, 9 in Hampden, 23 in Hampshire and 3 in Worcester County. No bears were taken in Middlesex County. The largest bear weighed 350 pounds and was taken in Hawley. The second largest bear weighed 331 pounds and was taken in Westhampton. Both animals were taken by rifle. The largest bear taken by archery equipment was 285 pounds. Bear hunters are reminded that their 2009 bear permit application and $5 application fee are due July 16, 2009. Hunters with paper licenses will find their permit application on their hunting /sporting licenses. The application and fee must be sent in to MassWildlife's Field Headquarters in Westborough. Online license holders must apply and pay for their bear permit application by going through the MassOutdoors system.