The six-week deer archery season in Massachusetts begins on Monday. It is part of the increasing attempt to control the growth of deer herds within the state. Archery hunting is viewed as the preferred method in highly populated areas where gun hunting is infeasible or unwelcome.
During the 2009 archery season, bow hunters on Martha’s Vineyard killed 157 deer. During combined muzzleloader, shotgun, and archery seasons, they bagged a total of 628 deer. The mild winter last year, combined with its bumper acorn crop, lead officials to conclude that there are many healthy deer on the island.
To kill a deer with a bow, the archer generally needs to get within 20 yards of the animal. It may be difficult for hunters to pattern the deer movements, due to the abundant crop of acorns again this year. Deer do not need to move as much when they have enough food available around them. However, there are many deer out there on the Vineyard. Sonja Christensen, chief deer and moose biologist with the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, stated, “Relative to the entire state, you have a thriving deer population.”
Individuals with state hunting licenses may take two bucks during all three hunting seasons combined. Taking a doe requires a $5 antlerless deer permit. Some areas of the state distribute these permits by lottery but Martha’s Vineyard does not have a limit on doe permits. This has resulted in a success rate ranging from 30 to 33 percent, higher than the 15 percent within other zones of the state. The number of permits sold in 2009 was 1,377, a slight increase from 2008 sales.
Ms. Christiansen advises that hunters look for white oak and locate deer bedding areas. Deer hunters may not bait and hunt deer on private property without landowner permission. Baiting in general is illegal within the state.
Source: Sigelman, Nelson. The Martha’s Vineyard Times Online. Wildlife officials, hunters prepare for deer archery season.