October 4th was the first day of hunting season on Nantucket. Here are some tips from the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and Amy Deckard, owner of the local dog-walking company, PACKactive. As someone who is out exploring every day, Amy has great advice to stay safe. She says, “during deer hunting season, it is important to stay alert at all times while walking in wooded areas and always wear brightly colored clothing or hunter orange. Everyone using the lands should show respect to others who are out enjoying the lands. Many people including hunters do not want dogs approaching them. While you are using these properties be sure that your dog is in your control at all times. Especially during this particular year, let’s all get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces we have!”
Where is Hunting Allowed?
Areas open to the public for hunting on the island include both publicly- and privately-owned land. There is a deer check station that is open during shotgun season. It’s located at the Nantucket Waste Water Management Facility at the end of South Shore Road. Hours will be limited during archery and primitive firearm seasons and you can call ahead 508-325-5333 for further details.
2021 Massachusetts Deer Hunting Season
First up, it’s important to understand the Massachusetts hunting calendar and what types of hunting are allowed. Click here for designated hunting seasons for other game species.
○ Archery October 4th – November 27th
○ Shotgun November 29th – December 11th
○ Primitive Firearms December 13th – 31st
When is Hunting Allowed?
By law, hunting is only permitted between 1/2 hour before sunrise and 1/2 hour after sunset. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays, so that is a great day to get out and enjoy Nantucket without concern.
Guidelines for Hunters on Nantucket Conservation Foundation Properties
Visit the NCF website for full details. “The majority of the land open to hunting is owned by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation.
The Foundation is a privately-administered, non-profit conservation organization that was established in 1963 to preserve and protect places of natural importance on Nantucket. It presently owns and manages 9,010 acres of undeveloped land, much of which provide habitat for the white-tailed deer and other game species. These lands are private property and are open only to hunters who comply with guidelines established by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Deer hunting (archery, shotgun, and primitive firearms) and hunting of other game species during designated seasons is allowed on most Foundation properties. Exceptions include parcels that receive high levels of year-round pedestrian use. Closed properties are conspicuously posted and include, among others, The Sanford Farm (NCF 146), Ram Pasture and The Woods (NCF 23, 24, and 186), the Tupancy Links on Cliff Road (NCF 59, 94, and 112), the Masquetuck Reservation in Quaise (NCF 169), Trot’s Hills (NCF 66), property bordering the Quaise Road (NCF 79 and 101), the University of Massachusetts Nantucket Field Station on Polpis Road (NCF 210), portions of NCF property in Shawkemo (NCF 130), portions the NCF property on or abutting Milestone Cranberry Bog (NCF 12 and 37), portions of Little Neck (NCF 6), and portions of Squam Farm (NCF 202). A “by written permission” limited shotgun deer hunt may be conducted again in 2020 in a section of Ram Pasture (NCF 23 and 24) during the second week of shotgun season utilizing members of the Nantucket Hunting Association. All other hunting on this property is prohibited. The numbers shown here match those on the Foundation’s Properties Map, available at its office, by mail, or by clicking here.
As the stewards of 30% of Nantucket’s land area, the Foundation’s Board is mindful of the need to manage the size of the Island’s deer herd, especially because of the connection between the number of deer and the high incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. The Foundation’s deer hunting policies have been established with the understanding that deer hunting is necessary for the continued well-being of the deer herd, the health and safety of the people who live on or visit the island, and the quality of the natural habitat that we all share.”
Safety Advice from Amy Deckard from PACKactive
“When out walking or hiking with your dogs this season, be sure you and your dog are wearing bright colors. Having your dog wear a bell on its collar will help other people, including hunters know that there are dogs nearby. Whether you are walking your dog or hunting for deer, keep in mind that all of our conservation lands are multi-use properties. Everyone using the lands should show respect to others who are out enjoying the lands. Many people do not want dogs approaching them. While you are using these properties be sure that your dog is in your control at all times. Especially during this particular year, let’s all get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces we have!”
What to Wear to Stand Out
To shop local, head over to Geronimo’s, they carry blaze orange vests, leashes and scarves. For yourself, it’s smart to wear bright colors and high-visibility hats during hunting season. You can find some cute hats over at PACKactive.org.