The following is a Department of Conservation and Recreation press release.  For more information on the program, visit the DCR website.

DCR Announces 2020 Deer Management Plan for Blue Hills Reservation 

BOSTON — The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), in consultation with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), today announced the 2020 Blue Hills Deer Management Plan for the Blue Hills Reservation. Based upon the experience of implementing and assessing the outcomes of five annual controlled hunts, DCR and MassWildlife will implement a controlled hunting plan in 2020 that features only archery hunting (no shotgun hunting). Additionally, COVID-19 guidelines will be in place in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. These guidelines include hunters practicing social distancing by remaining at least 6 feet away from others while hunting and hunter use of face coverings if social distancing cannot be maintained.

The 2020 plan features one phase of permitted archery hunting in the reservation in designated areas during November on 2,622 acres of the Blue Hills Reservation’s more than 7,000 acres of property. All areas included in this year’s hunt have previously been opened to either shotgun or archery hunting in prior years.

Under legislative mandate, DCR is required to implement a management plan where deer overpopulation is negatively impacting forests, water resources, or plant growth on department owned land. The Blue Hills Deer Management Program utilizes controlled/permitted hunting as part of the agency’s efforts to manage the high deer densities within the state reservation. Benefits of managing the deer herd within the Blue Hills Reservation includes:

  • The promotion of tree and plant regeneration, including rare plants;
  • The sustainability of species diversity; and,
  • The diminished risk of forest wildfires due to the growth of plant life.

DCR has safely and successfully conducted five annual controlled hunts in the Blue Hills Reservation since 2015. Archery hunting for the 2020 deer hunt will commence on Monday, November 16, 2020 and continue through Thursday, December 3, 2020 on Mondays through Thursdays only (there will be no hunting on Thursday, November 26, 2020 in observance of Thanksgiving). Licensed hunters will be required to submit an application and DCR will utilize a random lottery to select 225 hunters to receive permits. All hunters participating in the 2020 Blue Hills Reservation deer hunt will be required to participate in a virtual hunter orientation to review guidelines for deer hunting in the state park.

The use of licensed public hunters in managing deer populations is one of the most widely used management methods employed throughout the United States. In Massachusetts, it is the primary management tool supported by MassWildlife and has been shown to be successful in addressing situations involving deer overabundance and vegetation over-browse. In addition, DCR manages thousands of acres of forest and parkland across the Commonwealth where licensed hunters are allowed to hunt during the regulated seasons.

Hunters interested in applying for archery hunting should click on this link to review application instructions and complete and submit the application.