Deer shotgun season reaps some bruisers

Mark Morris of Edgartown shot a deer that sported a unique set of horns. — Photo courtesy of Mark Morris

The first week of the two-week deer shotgun season got off to a slow start on Martha’s Vineyard but was notable for the size of several deer brought to the State Forest check station.

Mark Morris of Edgartown shot a deer with a unique set of antlers that generated plenty of buzz among Island hunters when he brought it to be checked in last Tuesday. Although not particularly heavy at 147 pounds, it was pronounced a 16-pointer and between 7. 5 and 9 years old by the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife forester checking in deer. Mr. Morris told The Times he has been hunting all his life and never encountered a deer like this, now destined for his wall.

John Bunker Jr. of Chilmark shot a deer he described as “the buck of a lifetime.” The 3.5-year-old deer weighed 150 pounds but sported an 18-point rack.

Mr. Morris said he thinks an abundance of acorns in recent years explains the antler size of so many bucks.

Mr. Bunker added to that theory. “Mild winters and all those people planting nice things for them to eat,” he said.

Environmental Police Sergeant Matt Bass said the first week of shotgun “was not uneventful, nothing too extraordinary but enough to keep busy.”

DFG wildlife forester Brian Hawthorne, on duty at the State Forest, checked in 148 deer the first week of the 2013 shotgun season. In 2012, he checked in 156 deer, still well short of 2011 when the forest check station accounted for 210 deer.

Steve Purcell, owner of Larry’s Tackle on Upper Main Street in Edgartown, said he checked in about 25 deer the first week, well down from the 44 deer he checked in the first week of the 2012 shotgun season.

Bret Stearns, director of the Wampanoag Tribe natural resources department, said the tribe checked in about 60 deer the first week, about the same as last year.

The muzzleloader season begins Monday and ends December 31. Final tallies for all seasons are not expected for months.