The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission considered allowing Youth Deer Hunt Day on its properties.
During a meeting on Monday, land superintendent Harrison Kisiel told the commission that a Youth Deer Hunt Day takes place in the state on the “fourth Saturday after Labor Day,” which would be Oct. 1, for minors 12 to 17 years old. According to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), children 12 to 14 years old need a licensed adult with them, while those who are 15 to 17 years old need only a minor hunting license. Both age groups need a “free youth deer hunting permit.” Out-of-state hunters who are 15 to 17 years old will need a Massachusetts nonresident big game license alongside the permit. Kisiel recommended going ahead and advertising the event, which to his knowledge the Land Bank has never done before.
“This was brought up in our last hunting subcommittee meeting,” Kisiel said. “There is excitement from some members of the board to see if the Land Bank would be willing to do this.”
Oak Bluffs commissioner Kristen Reimann wanted to know the procedure if there were only a couple of interested people.
“The reason I wanted to get this out there pretty much right away is to see what sort of volume we get,” Kisiel said. He said if the signup was very low, he would ask which property the hunters had an interest in, such as Waskosim’s Rock Reservation, then that area would be closed off for Youth Deer Hunt Day. Kisiel added that the day allows for shotgun hunting, so properties that typically allow shotgun hunting would need to close “weeks earlier” than the usual deer shotgun season, which MassWildlife lists as happening from Monday, Nov. 28, to Saturday, Dec. 10.
On the other hand, Kisiel said that if there are many people signing up for the youth hunt day, then some limitations may be implemented on how many hunters are allowed per property.
“I don’t think it’s going to be very widespread, but it’s very heartfelt that some fathers and sons wanted to continue this tradition … kind of in a low-key way before the whole season opens up,” commission chair Pamela Goff said.
Aquinnah commissioner Sarah Thulin said while she does not have an issue with the Youth Deer Hunt Day, the Land Bank staff will need to keep in mind that many people like walking some of their properties during the shoulder season.
The commission unanimously voted to return to the topic in a couple of weeks, after Kisiel follows up with the hunting subcommittee and returns with a more detailed proposal.