2023 Bow Hunting Seasons
Turkey Season: April 24 through May 20
Deer Season: October 2 through December 9**
Note: Hunting is not permitted on Sundays in either season.
**Bow hunters with a state issued "primitive firearms stamp" may also hunt deer from December 11 through December 30.
2023 Turkey Season
The Conservation Commission allows turkey hunting by permit only. Applications for the Spring 2023 Turkey Season are no longer being accepted.
2023 Deer Season
The Conservation Commission allows deer hunting by permit only. The application for the Fall 2023 Deer Season is posted below. All applications are due by Friday, August 18, 2023 at noon.
The Conservation Commission has allowed bow hunting on conservation land since 2006, mainly as a land management tool to reduce issues caused by overpopulation of certain animal species, particularly white-tailed deer. Deer overpopulation affects the entire ecosystem, particularly forests, and can include excessive destruction of vegetation, decrease in diversity of plant species, negative impacts to other wildlife and wildlife habitat, damage to landscaping and gardens, unhealthy deer herds, potential spread of tick-borne diseases and other illnesses among animals and to humans, and collisions between vehicles and wildlife.
The hunting program has changed over time to adapt to land and wildlife management needs, hunter requests, and public input. In 2014, Town Meeting approved changes to the Town By-Laws to formally allow hunting on conservation land, consistent with state regulations, and the Commission created detailed bow hunting regulations. In 2017, the Commission worked closely with hunters, residents, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Environmental Police to improve the program and its safety and effectiveness for managing the deer population. As a result, more significant changes were made to the regulations, in particular, limiting the number of deer hunters to 35 each year and inviting back hunters who harvest a doe. The program continues to be managed by the Commission and conservation staff. Deer and turkey hunters are also asked to report and help address any issues, and are encouraged to volunteer their time for conservation land maintenance activities, such as trash removal and trail clearing.
Per state and local regulations, hunters are not allowed to hunt within 150 feet of roads or designated walking trails, or within 500 feet of any dwelling or building in use, unless permitted by the owner or occupant. Hunting is also not allowed on Sundays, per state law. Visitors to conservation land that is open to hunting can consider wearing blaze orange during the hunting seasons to be even more visible to any hunters, as explained on Mass.gov: Wear blaze orange during hunting season.