October 12, 2012
NEW REGULATIONS ON TURKEY HUNTING AND DEER POSSESSION LIMIT CHANGES ON THE ISLANDS
NEW TURKEY HUNTING REGULATIONS
Effective October 12, 2012, several new hunting regulations have been promulgated which expand wild turkey hunting opportunities across the state. These regulations take effect in time for the 2012 fall turkey hunting season.
- Wildlife Management Zones (WMZ) 10, 11, and 12, which encompasses eastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod, will open for the fall wild turkey hunting season. Previously, the fall wild turkey hunting season was open in only WMZs 1-9 and 13; central and western Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard.
- The statewide fall wild turkey hunting season has been lengthened from one week to a two- week season. Fall wild turkey hunting season will begin on the second to last Monday in October and continue for 2 weeks. The 2012 fall hunting season dates are October 22 – November 3, 2012.
- Permissible shot sizes for wild turkey hunting have been expanded to include #7 shot. Formerly, shot sizes were limited to #4 - #6 for wild turkey hunting.
Fall wild turkey hunters are reminded that wild turkey hunting hours during this season begin one half hour before sunrise and end one half hour after sunset. Only those turkey hunters who did NOT harvest a season limit of 2 birds during the spring season are eligible for fall turkey hunting where 1 turkey of either sex may be harvested. All other regulations relative to wild turkey hunting apply.
Thanks to successful restoration efforts by MassWildlife and other conservation partners such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, Massachusetts has a healthy and robust wild turkey population, allowing for the expansion of the fall hunting season. Recent technological development of turkey hunting-specific shotshells using denser-than-lead shot alloys (typically tungsten or bismuth) has improved the ballistics of smaller shot sizes, ensuring an effective turkey harvest.
NEW DEER POSSESSION LIMITSON THE ISLANDS
Effective October 12, 2012, the possession limit of unchecked deer in Wildlife Management Zones (WMZ) 13 and 14 (Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Elizabeth Islands) has been increased from 2 to 4 deer. Antlerless deer permit allocations in Wildlife Management Zones 13 and 14 are very high, due to high deer population densities. As an effort to increase the deer harvest in these zones, increasing the possession of a larger number of unchecked deer within 48 hours will give hunters more time in the field.
Island deer hunters are reminded that all deer harvested on the islands must be taken to a game check station on the islands within 48 hours of harvest before transport off-island. Deer hunters who hunt on the islands (WMZ’s 13 and 14) may purchase up to four antlerless deer permits per zone per day for Zones 13 and 14 available online and at any license agent location. Hunters are encouraged to purchase their permits well ahead of their planned hunting dates.