Massachusetts

State OKs hunt in Blue Hills to help control deer population, WCVB, Sept 8, 2017Massachusetts officials have approved a hunt in the Blue Hills Reservation as a way to help control the deer population there. The plan features two phases of hunting in the Blue Hills including archery hunting in limited areas of the reservation during the month of November and a four-day shotgun hunt in late November and early December.

Initiative to Reduce Deer Herd Dominates Tick Discussion, The Vineyard Gazette, Aug 30, 2017Efforts to reduce the deer herd on Martha’s Vineyard and an apparent spread of lone star ticks topped a presentation this week by tick expert Richard Johnson. “It’s not a sport,” Peter Harris said of the hunting efforts, favoring a more concerted push to reduce the number of deer. “I think it would be great if we found a good use of the venison, but the real goal of this is reduction in these tick-borne diseases.”

Editorial: Blue over a deer hunt, Boston Herald, Aug 28, 2017Pity the poor state conservation and wildlife officials who each year have to deal with critics more interested in offering birth control to the deer population in the Blue Hills Reservation than in seeing a single one of them shot.

Mark Blazis: Deer hunt helps control habitat, The Telegram, July 10, 2017Mass Audubon’s excruciatingly difficult decision was a long time coming, but was absolutely essential for preserving Moose Hill’s — established in 1916 it is the society’s oldest sanctuary — vulnerable plants and animals. Deer devastation of plants had long impacted Moose Hill’s ground-nesting birds including ovenbirds, wood thrush and ruffed grouse, which all need dense understory.

Generally, when a deer population exceeds 20 per square mile, habitat is degraded. Scientifically unmanaged, Moose Hill had more than 100 deer per square mile browsing plant life like Sherman marching through Georgia. Consequently, all sanctuary trees, other than white pine and those within areas of high human visitation, are suffering total regeneration failure. American chestnuts are dying because their sprouts can no longer grow above the reach of deer.

Second year of deer hunting in Blue Hills Reservation starts Tuesday, Fox 25 Boston, Nov 28, 2016Fewer than 500 hunters will be allowed to hunt deer on the Blue Hill Reservation during a four-day hunt aimed at controlling the deer population starting this week. The Department of Conservation and Recreation instituted the hunt last year to begin working to control the deer population in the reservation.

Logan deer indeed a ’gang problem, HJnews.com, Nov 23, 2016 We have tried everything to simply keep the deer away, including our current project: an 8-foot fence. It’s a shame that we are the ones who are forced to live like we’re imprisoned because no one was willing to reduce the deer population, don’t you think?

Access to Martha’s Vineyard Hunting Lands Is Limited, Vineyard Gazette, Nov 23, 2016Island tick biologist Richard Johnson is working with landowners in Chilmark and West Tisbury who have agreed to provide hunting access to their land, adding perhaps 90 acres to the Island’s relatively scarce hunting grounds. It is the first step in a long-term initiative to reduce the incidence of tick-borne illness on the Vineyard by targeting deer, which provide food and habitat for ticks at a key stage in their life cycle.

Deer management program approved for this fall, South Coast Today, Oct 8, 2016Changes from last season include the opening of more areas for hunting, archery hunting in certain areas, and an increase in the number of permits issued. The expansion of the hunt is designed to increase the harvest, necessary to reduce deer densities and bring under control the overpopulation of whitetail deer on the reservation.

New potentially deadly tick disease found on Cape, Cape Cod Times, July 19, 2016At least one Cape Cod resident has been stricken in the past few years with a potentially deadly tick-borne illness known as Powassan virus, which new research indicates has spread among deer ticks in several Cape towns. There were nine cases of Powassan virus among residents of Barnstable, Essex, Middlesex and Norfolk counties from 2013 to 2015. All of the individuals were ill enough to be hospitalized, at least 2 have died.

Blue Hills deer hunt will be back, Boston Globe, June 29, 2016Archers are expected to join hunters wielding shotguns over six days in November and December to cull deer from the 7,000-acre reservation, where wildlife officials say vegetation is being decimated by a deer population more than four times the target size. The planned hunt is longer than last year’s, which spanned four days, and will cover 3,835 acres instead of 2,980.

Driver swerved to avoid deer on highway; hit 2nd deer and rolled over, WWLP.com, June 16, 2016According to State Police, the driver was headed southbound on I-495 just south of the I-93 interchange, when a deer wandered into the travel lane. The driver swerved to avoid the deer, and ended up striking a second deer before rolling over.

Steps taken to control burgeoning deer population near Boston, Berkshire Eagle, Jan 9, 2016“Overall, given the conservative framework design for this first year of the hunt, the preliminary 2015 harvest results are very positive,” said David Stainbrook, MassWildlife Deer Project Leader. “The 64 deer taken represents a reduction of approximately 14 deer per square mile from the hunted areas of the reservation. “A more significant figure is that 47 deer taken were females, which equates to at least 120 fewer deer in next spring’s population.”

Oh deer — when bucks stop, trouble starts for animals, motorists on Route 24, Enterprise, June 8, 2016State police advise motorists to drive straight ahead and not swerve to avoid a deer while traveling on Route 24, which could cause a more serious accident. Wednesday’s deer accident occurred on Route 24 south near Exit 15 in Bridgewater, state police said. At least five deer have been struck by motorists on Route 24 this week, said state police.

Mark Blazis: Contrary protesters’ expectations, Blue Hills deer hunt proceeds with complete safety, Telegram.com, Dec 21, 2015 Anti-hunting groups boldly called on Gov. Charlie Baker to stop the hunt, claiming it would put people in danger. Some with a sky-is-falling-down mentality insisted it was just part of a much bigger conspiracy. One protester warned, “If the Blue Hills fall prey to hunters, every other reservation and safe place in the state will be under attack next. No animal will be safe anywhere in Massachusetts.” They got it wrong, of course. All wrong. As most extremists usually do.

Contrary to the worst expectations of the protesters, the hunt proceeded with complete safety, despite hikers being allowed to walk throughout the hunting area. Environmental police, state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) rangers and even state police worked to that end.

Blue Hills deer hunt was safe and effective, officials say, Boston Globe, Dec 15, 2015State wildlife officials on Tuesday praised the four-day deer hunt in the Blue Hills Reservation as a success, saying the effort will thin the growing population by at least 120 deer and serve as a model for future hunts in overrun forests.

To Reduce Deer Population, Hunters Return To The Blue Hills Reservation, WBUR, Dec 6, 2015Monday and Tuesday are the last two days of a four-day hunting season this year at the Blue Hills Reservation. It’s the first time hunting has been allowed there since the reservation was created in the 19th century. Hunters have been invited to cull the booming deer population.

Deer Hunt to Thin Herd Near Boston Is Criticized, New York Times, Nov 22, 2015The deer are a threat to public safety and to the forest ecosystem, said the deputy commissioner of the State Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees the park. The plan is to allow 98 hunters, armed only with shotguns, in the reservation for each two-day hunting session — Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and Dec. 7-8. Only about 3,000 of the reservation’s 7,000 acres will be open to them. Hunters will be allowed to take up to six deer, and the goal is to get down to the ecologically stable level of fewer than 20 deer per square mile, which state officials acknowledge may not be reached this year.

Protesters flock to defend Blue Hills deer, Boston Globe, Nov 7, 2015

    Animal rights activists protested on Saturday against the first legal hunt planned at the Blue Hills Reservation in more than a century.

Deer hunting could start in Blue Hills this December, Wicked Local-Randolph, Sept 9, 2015“The only predator that is available to control the herds of deer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the licensed hunter,” said George Peterson Jr., commissioner of state’s Department of Fish and Game. “There are no other predators out there, other than automobiles and trucks.”

Suburbia suits deer just fine, expert tells Hingham audience, Patriot Ledger, March 20, 2015They’ve found suburbia a good place to raise their children – lots of them. A lack of predators and many open-space areas add up to a growing deer population and the problems that come with it.

Deer Prudence: allow small hunt in Blue Hills, Boston Globe, Jan 26, 2015Two years ago, the fisheries and wildlife division released a survey of the deer population in the Blue Hills area. Researchers found that on average, there are about 85 deer per square mile of habitat. The state agency’s goal — in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem in the park — is to have 6 to 8 deer per square mile. Having 10 times the normal population of deer is not ecologically sustainable.

Wildlife officials consider allowing deer hunts in state parks, NewburyPortNews.com, Dec 1, 2014BOSTON – Wildlife officials are considering plans to allow deer hunting in several state preserves — including Willowdale State Forest in Ipswich — to cull herds that have flourished under state and local protections.
The move, details of which are still being worked out, will likely require legislative approval and is expected to prompt a backlash from animal rights groups and others who say they parks should remain sanctuaries for wildlife.

Overrun by deer, some towns turn to bowhunters for help, WickedLocal.com, Sept 28, 2014Westborough is among a growing number of communities taking steps to address the challenge by allowing bowhunters to kill deer on some town-owned land. For the first time last year, the police department issued 52 special permits allowing people to hunt deer with bow and arrow on more than 100 acres of public property.

Effort to curb Lyme disease puts deer in the crosshairs, Boston.com, Oct 26, 2010With tick-borne Lyme disease posing an increasing health threat in Boston’s wooded suburbs, communities are training their sights on the profusion of deer that host the bloodsucking parasites. A number of towns — from Andover to Martha’s Vineyard — are discussing whether to introduce or expand deer hunting in hopes of curbing Lyme disease, which has exploded in Eastern Massachusetts over the past decade.

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