Still Hunting in Massachusetts

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Hey Everyone!

I am a Massachusetts native and am in the middle of my journey towards becoming a hunter and hoped to get some help from people who have "been in the trenches."

Are there any places in MA that it is possible to STILL HUNT for deer? Or is tree stands the only real option due to the amount of people on the small amount of land?

I think I will be attempting muzzleloader for the increased hunting season and the fact that at the range and outside of MA I would like to only use a centerfire rifle as that is what I truly enjoy the most.

Thanks for your advice/help/etc!

-L.
 

HorizontalHunter

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You are located in what is referred to as the current “deer Mecca” of Massachusetts. Many hunters now go from the Berkshires to hunt out your way.

The short answer is yes.

There are very large tracts of land in western Massachusetts that are open to hunting and there is no doubt in my mind that there are deer there that die of old age. There are a lot less deer out here so don’t expect to see them every day.

Bring your walking boots and maybe pick up a $5.00 bear tag while you are at it.

Bob
 

DavidC77

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Hey Everyone!

I am a Massachusetts native and am in the middle of my journey towards becoming a hunter and hoped to get some help from people who have "been in the trenches."

Are there any places in MA that it is possible to STILL HUNT for deer? Or is tree stands the only real option due to the amount of people on the small amount of land?

I think I will be attempting muzzleloader for the increased hunting season and the fact that at the range and outside of MA I would like to only use a centerfire rifle as that is what I truly enjoy the most.

Thanks for your advice/help/etc!

-L.

Shotgun, bow or crossbow (with special permit) for deer...

Rifle is OK for bear, coyote, ext... 321 CMR 3.00: Hunting

Don't just use someone else's Tree Stand, you maybe the one getting shot if you do that...

You can also apply for the Quabbin Hunt, here's some info: DCR Watershed Hunting

A lot of the info you need can be found here: Hunting

So to answer your question the short way, yes there are a lot of areas to hunt still...


.
 

Woodsy

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No center fire rifle anywhere in MA
As someone else posted this is made clear in hunter safety class here if you already went through one grab a copy of the hunting laws online or order a hard copy. Don’t be discouraged once you read it. Like I said previous I find it best to both Bow and Shotgun hunt. Some towns have great areas but No discharge so Bow is the only way
 

whacko

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No center fire rifle anywhere in MA
If your talKing deer that's correct.

Center fire rifle is allowed for bear and coyote.

Also believe it or not grey squirrel can be hunted with any center fire rifle or handgun in zones 1_9.
 

whacko

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Shotgun only. As politicians say here “Shotguns are less killier than rifles”
Shotguns don't travel as far if you miss or over penetrate. So yeah......"less killer" in areas with high housing density. Western mass should be opened up to rifle.....At least straight wall cartridge rifles like some.states have allowed.
 

Woodsy

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Shotguns don't travel as far if you miss or over penetrate. So yeah......"less killer" in areas with high housing density. Western mass should be opened up to rifle.....At least straight wall cartridge rifles like some.states have allowed.
That was my point being he is in the open area of Mass. no reason rifles should not be allowed.
 

whacko

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That was my point being he is in the open area of Mass. no reason rifles should not be allowed.
Mass hunting regs need a total revamp. If you can legally hunt squirrel with a 308 but not deer........Something is "off". Lol
 

HorizontalHunter

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I read the last paragraph of his post differently.

Hey Everyone!

I think I will be attempting muzzleloader for the increased hunting season and the fact that at the range and outside of MA I would like to only use a centerfire rifle as that is what I truly enjoy the most.

-L.
 

bauer

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If your talKing deer that's correct.

Center fire rifle is allowed for bear and coyote.

Also believe it or not grey squirrel can be hunted with any center fire rifle or handgun in zones 1_9.
Apologies for the lack of clarity—was replying specifically in the context of the OP’s initial question (deer) but certainly did not make that clear that clear in hindsight. Additional details appreciated
 

Mark from MA

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Shotguns don't travel as far if you miss or over penetrate. So yeah......"less killer" in areas with high housing density. Western mass should be opened up to rifle.....At least straight wall cartridge rifles like some.states have allowed.
My area of North Central MA is the same. It could easily be opened up to any rifle for deer. I drive less than 1/2 hour and hunt with any rifle over the line in Southern NH. Which is no more populated than where I am in MA.....and there are NO issues there.

You can hunt bear, coyote and squirrels with any rifle where I am. Bear must be 30 cal or larger if I remember right per regs.

I can and now do still hunt and track in North Central but expect to hunt in areas of less than 5 deer per square mile. I used to sit stands but that is a waste unless your on or in between a real hot food source.

The state ignores what happens with the herd out here and focuses on killing deer in the east, the herd here peaked in the 80’s and 90’s.
 

rocket500

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The eastern half of the state is over-run with deer. As a kid in the ‘80’s we saw very few. I see them everywhere now.
 
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OP here. Seems to be a lot of confusion in my wording haha. I meant "Still Hunt" as in the technique of hunting. Still Hunting = (very) Slowly moving to a spot and becoming completely still for an extended period then slowly moving to another spot. Kind of a mix of stalking and stand hunting.
 

Mark from MA

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OP here. Seems to be a lot of confusion in my wording haha. I meant "Still Hunt" as in the technique of hunting. Still Hunting = (very) Slowly moving to a spot and becoming completely still for an extended period then slowly moving to another spot. Kind of a mix of stalking and stand hunting.
Still hunting can be good, I've taken a few deer this way. Most of the time, its when in the standing portion of the hunt, and the deer are moving around you. When you are moving....usually you spook them...obviously deer see movement a lot better than we do.

There is no problem doing that anywhere.....in the eastern half of the state, the problem might be the blocks of woods are small and you'll run out of room quick. In my area, behind my house, I could still hunt all day and not have a problem, as the woods are large. The deer population is lower though. I think that's what most people are talking about.

If you want to hunt with a rifle...drive to NH,VT, or Maine. Large blocks of woods you can still hunt for days.
 

Heathen

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You're going to have a hard time still hunting in eastern MA, a lot of the patches of woods in this half of the state are small and overgrown.
 

BigTimber

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The eastern half of the state is over-run with deer. As a kid in the ‘80’s we saw very few. I see them everywhere now.
No joke. Ive seen shooters in some crazy places lately. Medford, Melrose, Reading. My own backyard. And not little six pointers either. Bucks you would absolutely not hesitate a second on. Next year I’m taking off some serious time. A friend found a shed in his yard in Groton that looked like it belonged on the milk river. I might even have to upgrade the bow.
 

BigTimber

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Hey Everyone!

I am a Massachusetts native and am in the middle of my journey towards becoming a hunter and hoped to get some help from people who have "been in the trenches."

Are there any places in MA that it is possible to STILL HUNT for deer? Or is tree stands the only real option due to the amount of people on the small amount of land?

I think I will be attempting muzzleloader for the increased hunting season and the fact that at the range and outside of MA I would like to only use a centerfire rifle as that is what I truly enjoy the most.

Thanks for your advice/help/etc!

-L.
Get a bow too. You can still hunt with a bow. You can hunt tight small wood lots. Longest amount of time in the woods. More rewarding in my book to get it done with one. A Tree stand will dramatically up your odds however. But not a must. Almost every year I have a opportunity on the ground just coming and going to my stand or still hunting. Good luck in no time you’ll be knocking them down.
 

rocket500

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Tree stands are very helpful but definitely not necessary. I shot my buck this year sitting on a stump.
 

rocket500

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More like the first one but it was me sitting on the stump and the buck walked right up to me. I could have thrown my shotgun and hit it the thing got so close!
 
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