The Massachusetts two-week deer shotgun season begins one-half hour before sunrise Monday and ends one-half hour after sunset on Saturday, December 11.
While risk to non-hunters is minimal, public safety officials advise people entering wooded areas to exercise caution and wear bright colors, preferably blaze orange, particularly at dawn and dusk, when deer and hunters are most active.
Hunting is prohibited within 500 feet of any occupied dwelling or building, without the authorization of the occupant or owner, and 150 feet from hard-surfaced roadways. Hunters must wear a minimum of 500 square inches of blaze orange on the back, chest, and head.
Environmental police sergeant Matt Bass advised hunters to wear the required blaze orange on their head and body at all times, including when sitting in a tree stand or a ground blind.
Sergeant Bass said walkers and hikers are not required to wear orange but should be aware it is hunting season and dress appropriately. He said blaze orange is “a good idea.”
The six-week archery season ends on Saturday. Sergeant Bass said he has received no hunting-related complaints.
Initial reports from Larry’s Tackle on Upper Main Street in Edgartown, an official deer check station, are that hunters are having some success.
Steve Purcell, owner, said that as of Monday he had checked in 122 deer. Overall, Island bow hunters took 157 deer in the 2009 archery season.
Last year’s bumper crop of acorns and mild winter provided ideal conditions for deer. State officials said that the Island herd is healthy and numerous.
All deer taken during the Vineyard shotgun season must be appropriately tagged and brought to an official deer-checking station in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, the Wampanoag tribal headquarters building in Aquinnah, or Larry’s Tackle.
The primitive firearms deer season begins Monday, Dec. 13, and ends Friday, Dec. 31.