Shotgun deer hunting season begins Monday

Hunters gather at the state forest check station in this photo from a season long past. — File photo by Ezra Newick

The Massachusetts two-week shotgun season for deer begins one-half hour before sunrise Monday, December 1, and ends one-half hour after sunset on Saturday, December 13.

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.

In past comments, Environmental Police said that while walkers and hikers are not required to wear orange they should be aware that it is hunting season and dress appropriately.

With the exception of of shotgun season, hunters now have the option to check in deer online. The one exception is to allow the division to collect biological data about the health of the herd.

All deer taken during the Vineyard shotgun season must be appropriately tagged and taken to official deer-checking stations in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest or the Wampanoag tribal headquarters building in Aquinnah. Larry’s Tackle shop on Upper Main Street in Edgartown will also be checking deer the second week of shotgun season on a limited basis. Call for hours.

In 2013, Island hunters took 726 deer, the majority of them with shotguns. By season, Island hunters took 257 deer during the six-week archery season; 368 deer during the two-week shotgun season; and 101 deer during the approximately three-week primitive firearms season.

The six-week archery season ends this Saturday. The primitive firearms deer season begins Monday, December 15, and ends Saturday, December 31.

The Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun club on Third Street in Edgartown will host a shotgun deer shoot competition from 10 am to 2:30 pm, this Sunday, November 30. The public is invited.