Preliminary Shotgun Deer Season Figures Are Up

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Licensed Bay State hunters took advantage of nearly ideal conditions for much of the shotgun deer season, reporting 8,199 deer at official check stations according to preliminary figures compiled by MassWildlife's five District offices. The shotgun season opened statewide on December 2 running through December 7 on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard and through December 14 across the remainder of the state. During the 2001 shotgun season a total of 6,057 deer were checked. The highest shotgun season kill on record was 1995 when 8,131 deer were taken.

"Deer hunting doesn't get much better than this," notes MassWildlife Deer Project Leader Bill Woytek. "We have a healthy and abundant deer herd, the longest archery, shotgun and muzzleloader seasons ever, are protecting open space at an unprecedented rate and even have snow on the ground to improve everyone's chances of tracking, spotting and recovering deer."

MassWildlife's Western District check stations tallied 1,366 deer while Connecticut Valley District stations reported 1,688. Central District stations had 2,489 deer checked, Northeast District 904 and Southeast District 1,752 for the 8,199 total. An additional 153 deer were taken during the Quabbin Controlled Hunt.

"With antlerless deer permits now mandatory for all antlerless deer taken, MassWildlife can better manage the herd on a landscape scale while offering increased recreational opportunities for the licensed hunter. Analysis of the data collected at our check stations this year will be finalized by late spring and we'll publish the total deer harvest by season, zone and sex. Based largely on that information we'll adjust antlerless deer permit allocations accordingly for 2003," Woytek stated.

Deer hunters are reminded that the muzzleloader season is open through December 31, 2002 and that antlerless deer permit applications for next season are due by July 16, 2003. For more information, contact Bill Woytek, 508.792.7270 x121.