The preliminary statewide deer harvest for 2018 is 14,513 – a new record high. The preliminary harvest figures by season are as follows:

  • Youth Deer Hunt Day (Sept. 29): 138
  • Paraplegic Deer Hunt (Nov. 1–3): 3
  • Archery Season (Zones 1-9: Oct. 15–Nov. 24 and Zones 10-14: Oct 1-Nov. 24): 5,190
  • Shotgun Season (Nov. 26–Dec. 8): 6,495
  • Primitive Firearms Season (Dec. 10–Dec. 31): 2,687

Deer density and hunter effort tend to be the most important factors influencing harvest from year to year. However, there were two important changes for the 2018 season that may have led to the record harvest. The opening of over 7500 acres of Wachusett Reservoir Public Land and the two week extension to the archery season in Zones 10-14. The Zone 9 harvest increased from last year by about 300 deer, related to the newly opened Wachusett Reservoir Lands. Additionally, over 700 deer were taken during the two-week extension of the archery season in zones 10-14.
While total harvest by zone can be informative, it doesn’t provide the complete picture. Thus, it is important to assess harvest data and monitor trends by Wildlife Management Zone (WMZ map). Total harvest is influenced by deer density and the number of antlerless deer permits that MassWildlife allocates in each zone, as well as annual changes in hunter effort, harvest-rates, success-rates, weather, etc. The MassWildlife Deer Project Leader will spend the next few months thoroughly analyzing the deer harvest and biological data as well as assessing deer population trends in each zone. The results and recommendations for the 2019 season will take place at the annual deer management review presented at a Fisheries and Wildlife Board meeting in late spring. A complete harvest summary will be posted on the MassWildlife website shortly after the deer review, so please check back here in early summer.

Harvest numbers by WMZ can be found at the link below: