Donning their blaze orange vests and hats, hunters are again prowling the Vineyard’s woods and meadows, savoring the short fall days and hoping to fill their freezers with venison.

Shotgun hunting season opened last week, on the heels of archery season, and will give way to primitive firearms season later in December. This year’s shotgun season runs Dec. 1 through Dec. 13.

An overabundance of deer makes for especially good hunting on the Vineyard, and these two weeks are essential in gathering the data used to manage the deer population. Hunters must bring their kills to one of three check-in stations — in Edgartown, West Tisbury and Aquinnah — to be measured and tagged. The deer can then be transported anywhere in the state, including by ferry.

Steven Purcell mans the check-in station at Larry’s Tackle Shop in Edgartown. He said this year’s season seems to be off to a slower start than last year, with about 60 deer passing through the check-in station as of Wednesday. Last year 726 deer were harvested on the Island, up from 610 in 2012.

Waiting it out at Moshup Trail. — Timothy Johnson

Last year was also the first year in which deer were checked in online. The online system is now used during all three seasons, but during shotgun season, the deer must physically be checked in. “You used to have to come in and get a metal tag on it,” Mr. Purcell said. “Now you just go online and get a confirmation number. It’s pretty easy, pretty convenient.”

The numbers collected go straight to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, which monitors deer populations statewide and schedules the various hunting seasons.

David Stainbrook, the deer and moose project leader at the DFW, said in an email that there were about 3,000 deer on the Island — about 30 per square mile — which is way above the state’s goal of less than eight per square mile for the Vineyard. In areas with adequate hunting, he said, the population is stable or decreasing, but overall, the population is slowly increasing.

“Despite the deer density being high, the deer are not yet starving,” Mr. Stainbrook said.

The state regulates deer density mainly by controlling the number of hunting permits it issues every year. In areas such as western Massachusetts, where there are fewer deer, fewer permits are issued. On the Vineyard there is essentially no limit, and hunters may take up to four deer in a day.

“We are kind of limited by the amount of hunters that are there and the amount of areas that they can access,” said Emily Stolarski, communications specialist for the DFW. “So that might account for some of the unequal distribution of the population.”

Mr. Purcell said that in Edgartown, there are between 50 and 100 hunters in the woods every day, but that many of the larger, privately owned properties are closed to hunting. He said the area was about evenly split, with slightly less land being open to hunting.

Too many deer can lead to increased vehicle accidents, garden damage and the spread of Lyme disease, which is carried by deer ticks. (The deer allow the ticks to distribute more widely.)

But the abundance of deer also supports the vast majority of hunters who hunt for subsistence. Mr. Purcell said that every hunter he knows uses their deer for food, and that the ability to harvest many deer in a season helps moderate the high cost of living on the Vineyard.

“Some people are really good hunters and unlimited doe tags help them harvest the deer for family members that can’t do it — they are too old, or female, don’t know how to hunt,” he said. He noted that deer are just one of the species harvested naturally on the Vineyard throughout the year. “Not one fish, not one clam, not one piece of deer goes to waste here, which is pretty unique,” Mr. Purcell said.

On the other end of the Island in Aquinnah, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) follows its own hunting season schedule to support the many hunters there who rely on the deer for food. Unlike on the rest of the Island, the tribe’s primitive firearm (black powder) season occurs before the shotgun season to coincide with Thanksgiving.

“We changed the lineup of our seasons because it gave an advantage for our tribal members to harvest an animal during the time when people have time off or they’re with family,” said Bret Stearns, the tribe’s director of natural resources. In addition, the tribe’s waterfowl season is longer and allows hunters to take more birds.

“I don’t think that there really is such a thing as sport hunting for tribal members,” Mr. Stearns said. “It’s for sustenance, it’s for food. Just like many other people.” He said most of the tribe’s active hunters use all of the available hunting seasons — hunting with bows, shotguns and muzzle loaders.

As of Wednesday, Mr. Stearns had checked in about 30 deer in Aquinnah, not including the 15 or more that were harvested during the archery and primitive firearms seasons.

He said the deer density on tribal land was relatively high for the Island, possibly exceeding 15 deer per square mile. Only about 240 of the tribe’s 600 acres are open to hunting, he said, and only tribal members and their spouses may use the land. The 40 or so hunters who use the land include many from off-Island, drawn here for the abundance of deer.

“I think there is a higher success rate out here on Martha’s Vineyard overall than in other places,” Mr. Stearns said. Mr. Purcell has observed a similar situation in Edgartown, guessing that between 30 and 40 per cent of the hunters are from off-Island.

“The Island is great hunting,” he said. “You can have a person that has never hunted before go out in the woods, and if they stay in the woods every day they are going to get something.”