Deer Hunting

2016 Guidelines for Deer Hunters on Nantucket Conservation Foundation Properties

Whether you are a resident or visitor, you will benefit from knowing more about the ownership and use of Nantucket’s open lands, as well as becoming familiar with some of our local traditions.

Areas open to the public for hunting on the island include both publicly- and privately-owned land. While many public and private landowners make their properties available for responsible hunting, the majority of the land open to hunting is owned by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. This document contains information on the 2016 hunting guidelines of the Foundation, state hunting regulations, and the long-held customs of Nantucket hunters.

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 9,006 acres of undeveloped land, much of which provide habitat for the white-tailed deer. 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 during designated seasons (archery, shotgun, and primitive firearms) 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), property bordering the Quaise Road (NCF 79 and 101), the University of Massachusetts Nantucket Field Station on Polpis Road (NCF 210), portions of the Milestone Cranberry Bog (NCF 12), portions of the Windswept Cranberry Bog (NCF 102 and 140), and portions of  Squam Farm (NCF 202). A “by written permission” limited shotgun hunt will be conducted again this year in a section of Ram Pasture (NCF 23 and 24) between December 5 – 10, 2016 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 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.

The following regulations and guidelines have been adopted to ensure that hunting by responsible sportsmen and sportswomen is a safe experience for all:

 1.   The 2016 Massachusetts deer hunting seasons are as follows: archery, October 17 – November 26; shotgun, November 28 – 10 December; primitive firearms, December 12 – 31. By law, hunting is only permitted between 1/2 hour before sunrise and 1/2 hour after sunset. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.

2.   While hunting, maintain a legal distance away from occupied buildings or those that may be in use (by law at least 500 feet) and paved roads and bicycle paths (by law at least 150 feet). Massachusetts prohibits loaded shotguns from being carried in a vehicle.

3.   Respect the rights and wishes of all property owners – including areas that are posted to prohibit trespassing and/or hunting.

4.   Keep vehicles on well-established roads. Don’t drive or park on Nantucket’s grasslands and heathlands; they are extremely fragile and easily damaged.

5.   Don’t drink alcohol while engaged in any hunting-related activities.

6.   Don’t litter. Carry your trash out. Dispose of entrails and carcasses responsibly.

7.   PLEASE HUNT SAFELY! Be alert and courteous to pedestrians, bicyclists, dog walkers and their pets, and other non-hunters who are also out to enjoy Nantucket’s open lands.

Helpful Tips and Information:

•    The deer check station will be open during shotgun season at the Nantucket Waste Water Management Facility at the end of South Shore Road (phone 508-325-5333). Hours will be limited during archery and primitive firearm seasons; call ahead for further details.

•    For information regarding hunting on properties owned by the Nantucket Land Bank Commission (a public agency) visit their office at 22 Broad Street or call 508-228-7240.

Important Telephone Numbers:

EMERGENCIES – Police/Fire/Ambulance:   911

State Environmental Police (“game warden”):   508-257-6932

State Police (non-emergency):   508-228-0706

Nantucket Hunting Association:   508-325-4224

Nantucket Conservation Foundation:   508-228-2884

Nantucket Land Bank Commission:   508-228-7240

Nantucket Police (non-emergency):   508-228-1212

Nantucket Information Bureau (visitors’ information):   508-228-0925