State Announces 2022 Deer Management Plan for Blue Hills Reservation

 
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), in consultation with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), on Friday announced the 2022 Deer Management Plan for the Blue Hills Reservation. Based upon the experience of implementing and assessing the outcomes of seven successful controlled hunts, DCR will implement a plan in 2022 that mirrors permitted archery hunting conducted in 2020 and 2021. Similar to last year, the 2022 plan will feature archery only hunting in the Blue Hills Reservation in the same designated areas of the park during the month of November. With over 7,000 acres of parkland within the reservation, a total of 2,622 acres will be made available for hunting during the 2022 Deer Management Plan for the Blue Hills Reservation. 
  
Under legislative mandate, DCR is required to implement a management plan where deer overpopulation is negatively impacting forests, water resources, or plant growth on department owned land. The Blue Hills Deer Management Program utilizes controlled/permitted hunting as part of DCR’s efforts to manage the high deer densities within the state reservation. Benefits of managing the deer herd within the Blue Hills Reservation includes: 
·       The promotion of tree and plant regeneration, including rare plants; 
·       The sustainability of species diversity; and, 
·       The diminished risk of forest wildfires due to the growth of plant life. 
  
DCR has safely and successfully conducted seven annual controlled hunts in the Blue Hills Reservation since 2015. In light of DCR’s commitment to long-term deer management in the Blue Hills and in order to continue these successful efforts, DCR and MassWildlife will continue to implement controlled hunting in the Blue Hills in 2022. Like last year, permitted archery hunting in designated areas of the reservation will be Mondays through Thursdays between November 7, 2022, and November 23, 2022. There is no hunting on Thursday, November 24, 2022, in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. Licensed hunters will be required to submit an application and DCR will issue up to 225 permits. 
  
The use of licensed public hunters in managing deer populations is one of the most widely used management methods employed throughout the United States. In Massachusetts, it is the primary management tool supported by MassWildlife and has been shown to be successful in addressing situations involving deer overabundance and vegetation over-browse. The Quabbin Reservoir controlled deer hunt is the most notable example. In addition, DCR manages thousands of acres of forest and parkland across the Commonwealth where licensed hunters are allowed to hunt during the regulated seasons. 
  
Hunters interested in applying for archery hunting should click on the following link: Blue Hills Deer Management Program to review application instructions as well as to complete and submit an application. Selected hunters will be required to complete a mandatory hunter orientation to review the guidelines for deer hunting in the Blue Hills. Also contained on the program webpage are the previous year overview and results which provides information regarding logistics and an analysis of harvest results from last year’s controlled hunting program. 
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