Massachusetts Deer:  The deer population is estimated at over 100,000 in mid 2019, about 95,000 in early 2018, over 100,000 in mid-2018, 100,000 in 2017, and 90,000 in 2015.  The population has been trending lower since 2002, but rebounded some starting in 2016.  About 50,000 deer in the 1990's.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Massachusetts deer hunting data and news archive

Massachusetts Deer News

... Eighty hunters will be spread out over six management zones beginning at 8 a.m...

Shotgun Deer Season Opens Monday November 28, 2019 Massachusetts, Athol Daily News
... Back in the late ‘60s, antlerless permits were established which required hunters to take only deer with at least one antler of at least three inches in length... the harvest back then was around 3,000 and we are not over 14,000 ...

Deer hunting season a time to exercise caution November 24, 2019 Massachusetts, The Lowell Sun
... Deer populations are at all time highs in most of the state. It is estimated there are now over 100,000 whitetails in the commonwealth. Last year was a record-breaking year for hunters because they took some 14,000 deer home..,

Officials warn upcoming deer mating season creates hazard for drivers October 31, 2019 Massachusets, Boston 25 News
... We have around 95-100,000 deer in the state but similar to the way the people population is in Massachusetts it's more densely populated in the eastern part of the state," ..,

Harvard, Voters debate hunting ban for nearly an hour October 31, 2019 Massachusetts, Harvard Press
... a proposed bylaw to ban the hunting program the Conservation Commission had approved in September. [defeated] ...  arguments for the ban ... no solid data that the deer population in Harvard was too high ... the proposed bow hunting program would be ineffective ...

Mass. moose sightings tell a story of survival October 22, 2019 Massachusetts, Worcester Telegram
... New Hampshire’s moose herd has declined by half since the late 1990s. The Vermont herd has more than halved since roughly the same time. Maine’s moose population is thought to have fallen from 76,000 five years ago to between 60,000 and 70,000 today... For whatever reason, moose in Massachusetts seem to be doing OK ...

Blue Hills, Study to look at health of Blue Hills October 11, 2019 Massachusetts, The Patriot Ledger
... A review of the use of hunting to control the deer population will be part of an independent scientific study of the Blue Hills Reservation required as part of a recently enacted state law ... “We all want the forest to thrive, but the annual deer culling program continues to be controversial and I share in the concerns held by many,”  [state Rep. William Driscoll, D-Milton] ...

Moose is moved to state park after run through St. John's Cemetery September 30, 2019 Massachusetts, Worcester Telegram
... captured by authorities and tranquilized.  Authorities took the bull moose to a state park for release ... The moose was one of two that Worcester police were tracking in the city ...

Martha's Vineyard, Bow Hunters Offered Financial Incentive to Take More Deer September 30, 2019 Massachusetts, VineyardGazette.com
...   archery hunters will be paid $100 apiece for every doe they take after the first two ... The Island deer population is known to be well above the statewide management goal of 6 to 18 deer per square mile...

State releases plans for Blue Hills deer hunt September 23, 2019 Massachusetts, Wicked Local
... This will be the fifth time the controversial controlled hunt has been hosted by the Department of Conservation and Recreation... a 2013 survey that conservatively estimated the reservation is home to more than 85 deer per square mile, far more than the six to 18 that state wildlife officials aim for [deer density for forest regeneration] ...

Subcommittee asks ConCom for deer hunting on town lands September 19, 2019 Massachusetts, Harvard Press
... the subcommittee concluded that Harvard’s current deer population is in the range of 20 to 35 deer per square mile... [deer density for forest regeneration] The use of professional sharpshooters, committee members said, would probably be even more controversial than bow hunting. Contraception was deemed prohibitively costly, at about $500 per deer every two years, besides running afoul of a range of state laws [costs for non lethal control] ...
Baker amendment would keep Blue Hills deer hunt alive September 18, 2019 Massachusetts, The Patriot Ledger
... a study proposed in the budget that would examine the environmental health of the reservation and the effectiveness of controlled public hunting and deer management programs in culling the deer population since 2015...

MassWildlife Proposes Ban On Coyote Hunting Contests​​ August 12, 2019 Massachusetts, Patch.com
... Some argue that coyote populations should be controlled in order to maintain deer populations, but statistics show a different view. The number of deer in the state is at a historic high of about 95,000, according to state officials..,

State to implement controlled deer hunt in Quabbin Park July 10, 2019 Massachuseeetts, GazetteNET
... Hunting has been permitted in the Quabbin Watershed since 1991, but Quabbin Park was not included in the division's white-tailed deer management program “for the purpose of experimenting with hunting alternatives,” such as electric fencing, which were ultimately deemed ineffective, according to DCR...

Antlerless deer permit allocations will be increased June 30, 2019 Massachusetts, Berkshire Eagle
... MassWildlife biologists estimate that there are over 100,000 deer statewide. Estimated densities range from about 12-18 per square mile in western and central Massachusetts, to over 50 deer per square mile on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Islands ..,

Deer Relocated After Getting Stuck in Pittsfield's Downtown  June 6, 2019 Massachusetts, Iberkshires
... MassWildlife tranquilized the deer and the Massachusetts Environmental Police transported it out of the city's downtown core. The deer is expected to survive...

Wildlife biologist advocates hunting to control deer May 29, 2019 Massachusetts, Harvard Press
... The density of deer in Harvard is between 30 and 35 per square mile, according to the speaker at last week’s meeting ... well above the level considered sustainable for a healthy forest ecosystem, which is fewer than 20 deer per square mile, according to Stainbrook [U.S. Forest Service study puts the optimal deer density at 15 to 28 per square mile with regeneration at higher numbers]

...  “There’s no safety issues with bowhunting—none at all,” [see safety issues... asked if Andover had been able to show that its forest had improved since the hunting program had been implemented... no systematic study had been done...

Groups seek harsher penalties for poachers May 6, 2019 Massachusetts, Eagle Tribune
 ... Under the proposed changes, fines for killing a deer or turkey out-of-season or without a hunting license would rise from a low of $300 to a high of $3,000 per offense. Violators could also face up to six months in prison...

Deer don't get Lyme April 16, 2019 Massachusetts, Martha's Vineyard Times
...  a scientific paper  ... research she and fellow scientists conducted on Block Island concluded white-tailed deer play a role in lowering the prevalence of Lyme (Borrelia burgdorferi) infection in black-legged tick nymphs... may call into question the utility of deer culling... “The blood in the deer actively kills the borrelia in the tick as it feeds,” [Columbia University eco-epidemiologist Maria Diuk-Wasser] ...

Deer hunting continues to thrive in region February 11, 2019 Massachusetts, Worcester Telegram
... Many factors contributed to this past year’s hunter success, but the devastation of oak trees by gypsy moths and bad weather during pollination time contributed to a lack of acorns that sent deer wandering significantly farther afield for food, providing more shot opportunities for hunters..,

...  Wildlife officials said there were two important changes in the 2018 season. which include the opening of more than 7,500 acres of Wachusett Reservoir Public Land, and the two-week extension of the archery season..,

Preliminary deer harvest report shows record year in 2018 January 23, 2019 Massachusetts, Mass.gov
... The preliminary statewide deer harvest for 2018 is 14,513 ... A complete harvest summary will be posted ... here in early summer...

MassWildlife Rescues Deer Stuck on Pontoosuc Lake January 17, 2018 Massachusetts, iBerkshires.com
... "This deer was out on the ice and couldn't get any grip, splayed out. It looks like he has some injury there. The deer is immobilized now and we'll take it off-site and assess the injuries," ...

Deer herd has healthy numbers across New England December 26, 2018 Gloucester Daily Times
... MassWildlife biologists estimate that there are over 100,000 deer statewide...
Average Year Projected for Deer Harvest December 13, 2018 Massachusetts, The Vineyard Gazette - Martha's Vineyard News
... “The most important thing for Zone 13 [Martha’s Vineyard] is to keep the female harvest high so we can continue to reduce population growth,” Mr. Stainbrook said. Last year 457 male deer were harvested on the Island, while 387 female deer were taken...

53 deer taken from Wachusett Reservoir area in first hunt in decades December 8, 2018 Massachusetts, Worcester Telegram
... opened those areas that had an estimated deer density of 15 deer per square mile or more...restricting forest regeneration [deer density and forest regeneration]  ... “Wachusett deer have never been hunted in 50 years, but Quabbin deer are wily and seek out hiding spots,” ...

... he spot where the individual was said to have stood was within 500 feet of nearby residences as well as multiple houses through the tree line, and horses on the back side of the field...

Massachusetts Deer News and Information Archive by Topic

Massachusetts Data:  An estimate of over 100,000 deer in mid 2019, about 95,000 deer in early 2018, over 100,000 later in 2018, and 100,000 deer in 2017, up from about 90,000 deer (85,000 to 95,000) in 2015.  A hard 2014-15 winter reduced survival.   Population growth in the central  western regions.  Some of the increase in the number of deer killed in the 2018-19 hunt was due to the opening of Wa Reservoir Public Land, a two-week extension of the archery season, and a poor acorn crop.
    Some hunters attribute the trend in lower deer harvests since 2002 to fewer deer although the state has attributed some of the decline to weather conditions during hunting season. Deer had been on the decline in the western part of the state and the WDFW issued fewer antlerless deer permits in 2013 with about the same number issues for 2014.   From 30 to 50 percent of the fawns die each year, 20 to 35 percent killed by predators.  Coyotes take about 25 percent of all fawns.  
    Overall, deer numbers are near target levels - below target in the West, but above target in the East near the New York border and east to Ashby and Westminster.  Deer numbers are very low in Cape Cod as a result of extensive development, lack of good habitat and nutrition, and deer-vehicle collisions.  Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket have higher deer densities. Hunting Statistics
     The deer population that had reached a low of 5,000 around the year 1900, rebounded to 10,000 to 15,000 by 1908.  Hunters registered for the first time in 1909.  About 50,000 deer in the 1990's.
     About 8,000 deer killed annually by vehicles, 10,000 by hunters.

     Moose, between 1,000 and 2,000 in 2015, concentrated in northern Worcester County and the southern Berkshires. No moose hunting
     Coyotes, around 10,000 in the state in 2016, not native, arrived in the 1950s.

Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game 
- Weston Deer Friends