Shotgun Hunting Season Begins

Hunter orange is showing up around the Island Monday as the two-week shotgun hunting season gets underway. The season runs through Dec. 12; hunting hours begin half an hour before sunrise and end half an hour after sunset.

Large Deer Population Is Food for Thought and the Table

Shotgun hunting season opened last week, and runs through Dec. 13. In addition to putting food on the table, the season is essential for gathering the data used to manage the deer population.

Deer and Birds

At first glance, it seems unlikely that there is a connection between the abundance of white-tailed deer and the long-term documented decline of many songbirds. But let’s take a closer look.

Amazingly enough, deer used to be scarce, with low populations nationwide prior to 1900. Their populations rebounded once restrictions on hunting were put in place and now they are incredibly abundant, making this perhaps one of the most successful wildlife conservation efforts ever.

No Friend to Flowers, How to Deter Deer

The arrival of spring means longer days, budding blooms, birdsong and, unfortunately, the unwelcome arrival of deer in the backyard. Deer dig up gardens, eat tulips, and trample plants. They scrape bark off young trees and decimate backyard greenery, all in their quest to find food. Bambi is a beautiful creature, but he can be very detrimental to a garden.

Have Host Will Travel, Ticks And Deer Thrive on Vineyard

Although frost still covers the ground some mornings, Island boards of health already have their focus turned towards summer and tick season.

At last week’s All-Island Selectmen’s meeting, Tisbury health commissioner Michael Loberg and Edgartown health agent Matthew Poole presented their annual year-end report for the Tick-Borne Illness Reduction Initiative, a five-year study funded by a grant from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. The study has just completed its second year.

Scientists Use Thermal Imaging to Map Tick-Carrying Deer

In an attempt to quantify the Vineyard deer population, a Mount Holyoke College professor flew across the Island last Friday afternoon taking thousands of aerial infrared photographs for a tick-borne illness study. While a snowy, 20 degree day on Martha’s Vineyard may not be most visitors’ optimal conditions for a flight around the Island, professor of geography Thomas Millette deemed Friday’s weather ideal. A frozen ground, calm winds and an overcast sky all optimize the efficiency of the thermal imaging system developed by Mr. Millette.

Vineyard Deer Are Fat and Sassy, Except During Hunting Season

Mom and Dad:

It has been a long time since I swam over to the Island, leaving you guys in the past. I meant to write to you sooner, but I’m a deer, so it’s been tough for me to find the time or the means to get a message to you. I met a Canada goose last fall who promised to pass along this message in his travels, but I never saw him again and am not sure he ever found you. I hope you are all right. I know food was getting scarce on the mainland and those coyotes were making themselves very comfortable in your parts. I hope you have remained strong and healthy.

Hunting Regulations Changed to Address Large Deer Population

Next week the deer hunting season shifts from bow and arrow to shotgun.

“You are up close and personal when you are in archery season, at 20, maybe 30 yards away,” said Walter Ashley, an experienced hunter on the Island. “With a shotgun, it’s not so critical.”

Mr. Ashley has been hunting for nearly 50 years, whether it be bow and arrow, shotgun or muzzleloader.

“I’d go if they had a stick and stone season,” he said.

Deer Count Suggests Herd Thrives Though Hunters Hurt This Season

A total of 292 deer were taken during the two weeks of shotgun season on the Vineyard, which ended on Saturday, Dec. 12. Hunters were successful and the numbers are close to what was expected, despite weather conditions that were less than ideal.

“The weather was not that great,” said John Scanlon, state wildlife biologist. Mr. Scanlon operated the deer check-in station at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest during the first week of the hunting season. He checked in 137 deer.

Four Days In and Nearly Two Hundred Deer Already Taken; Shotgun Season Continues

Four days into the deer shotgun season and already 196 deer have been taken. The two-week hunting season began Monday morning with foul weather. John Scanlon, a state wildlife biologist assigned to the Vineyard this week, said that the hunters didn’t start bringing deer to the check-in station at the state forest until later in the afternoon.

By Wednesday afternoon the number was 79. By yesterday afternoon the number had grown to 95, even though Thursday morning was windy and stormy.