Shotgun season for deer began on Monday and the first week of the 12-day season was marked by good weather and a decent harvest by hunters.
By 1 p.m. yesterday, Brian Hawthorne, a forester for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, had seen 71 deer come through the deer check-in station in the state forest.
On Wednesday afternoon, Steve Purcell of Larry’s Tackle Shop had checked in 30 deer. “About 60 per cent of them are nice-sized bucks; we’ve seen nice eight to ten-point bucks,” he said. On the same day Bret Stearns of the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah said they had checked in three deer so far this week.
The shotgun season ends on Saturday, Dec. 11, half an hour after sunset. Hunters are allowed to hunt every day but Sunday.
During archery season, which ran from Nov. 16 through Nov. 27, Mr. Purcell checked in 138 deer. “It is a lot better than last year,” Mr. Purcell said.
Mr. Hawthorne reports seeing an even spread of male and female deer.
Scientists from the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine were at the station collecting ticks on Wednesday and Thursday this week to check for tick-borne diseases.
Sonja Christensen, a state deer and moose project leader, said statewide the deer population is high and the harvest has been pretty good so far.
“It is a little early to tell . . . I think the numbers are comparable to last year,” she said. Biologists are interested in the amount of food for the deer that is in the woods; this was a productive year for acorns, Ms. Christensen said. “That has a big impact on the weight of the deer. We’ve seen a lot of growth this year,” she said.
The deer population on the Vineyard and Nantucket is considered high.