Massachusetts Releases 2006 Deer Harvest Numbers

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MassWildlife Deer Project Leader Bill Woytek reports a total of 10,479 white-tailed deer taken by licensed hunters during the combined 2006 seasons. Additionally, 117 deer were taken during the Quabbin Reservation hunt. The statewide harvest combined with Quabbin was 10,596. By season, the total breaks down to 8 deer taken during the special season for paraplegic sportsmen, 3,385 taken by archers, 5,603 taken during the shotgun season and 1,482 taken during the muzzleloading season.

Woytek noted that 2006 was another record year for archery with a 7% increase in all but two WMZs, saying, "Archery is an important management tool in suburban areas where deer densities are higher and firearms discharge and other local bylaws are in place." However, he points out that there was an overall decrease from 2005 during the shotgun and muzzleloader seasons, with poor hunting conditions due to lack of snow cover throughout most of the state during those seasons. In addition, fewer antlerless deer permits were issued in 10 of the 15 Wildlife Management Zones (WMZ), as reduced deer densities in many WMZs meet MassWildlife's goals for those zones.

"Hunters can still find quality deer in any part of the state," says Woytek. "Deer hunters should remember that an antlerless deer permit is required to take antlerless deer in any deer season. Hunters should send in their antlerless deer applications, as there may not be many permits available for over the counter sales in some WMZs." Permit applications are attached to traditional hunting and sporting licenses and must be submitted prior to July 16. Hunters purchasing licenses on line via may apply for an antlerless permit electronically.