Preliminary Shotgun Deer Season Figures

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Licensed deer hunters participating in the 2001 shotgun season brought 6014 whitetails to statewide check stations according to figures compiled by MassWildlife's regional District offices. Sportsmen and women are required to bring deer to an official check station to legally report the kill. Biologists examine roughly one half of the deer taken during shotgun season and record data including weight, sex, age and antler beam diameter. The information is entered into a database and provides insight on the condition, sex ratio and age structure of the herd as well as the quality of habitat. Check station operators tag each deer with a metal seal. Successful hunters may then have the deer processed for venison and/or mounted by a taxidermist.

A preliminary total of 953 deer were reported from stations in the Western Wildlife District, 1195 from the Valley District, 1480 from the Central District, 637 from the Northeast District and 1749 from the Southeast District. The 6014 figure is 1604 deer fewer than the 7618 final total recorded for the 2000 shotgun season. A handful of remote check stations could not be reached, nor were deer taken as part of the Quabbin Controlled hunt included.

"It looks like we'll have another year with well over 9000 deer taken," notes MassWildlife Deer Project Leader Bill Woytek. "The preliminary numbers for archery and shotgun seasons have us near the 9,000 deer mark already and with snow covering much of the state for the bulk of the primitive firearms season that kill could add another 500 to one thousand."

Regulatory changes for the 2002 season should bolster MassWildlife's continuing efforts to balance deer densities with both available habitat and the public's interest. Among these are a requirement that an antlerless permit be in possession for the taking of all antlerless deer, regardless of the season. Also coming in 2002 is a statewide six-week archery season and a muzzleloading season extending to the end of the calendar year. Read all about the changes in the Abstracts of the 2002 Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Laws, available on-line at www.MassWildlife.org or in hard copy format when you purchase your 2002 hunting or sporting license.For more information, contact Bill Woytek, 508.792.7270 x121.