Walkers beware: Hunting Season begins today
From Oct. 15-Dec. 31 orange is your best friend!
Just when we were settling back into the joy of no seasonal residents; large landowners and nesting shorebirds, both of which impinge our walking and dog-walking freedoms, hunting season is back again. Set by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, Bow hunting season begins today, Oct. 15 and runs through the end of November, shotgun season goes from the Monday after Thanksgiving for two weeks and then primitive firearms season is the last two weeks of December. More specifically, for 2012; bow hunting; Oct. 15-Nov. 24, shotgun; Nov. 26-Dec. 8 and primitive firearms; Dec. 10-Dec. 31.
Below is the section on hunting that I put in my first book, "Walking Nantucket: A Walker's Guide to Exploring Nantucket on Foot", which should help you prepare for sharing our outlands with deer "harvesters".
The Orange People
The time of year to avoid walking in the moors, open fields, and island forests is the deer-hunting season for bow and arrow, shotgun, and primitive firearm hunters. While the hunters are after strictly the venison and not people out for winter walks, the danger of so many fluorescent orange-clad hunters with shotguns roaming the island is still quite real. Before you go out on any of these walks, especially in the woods, moors, and bogs, you should know when the orange people are out.
Archery season opens Massachusetts deer hunting during the middle of October and runs through the third week in November. Shotgun hunters are out in force for the first two weeks of December, and those hunters who are cunning enough to wield primitive firearms (muskets) hunt on Nantucket during the following two weeks. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife does change its hunting seasons from year to year, depending on game populations and other factors. To learn the latest season dates, call the Division at 617-727-3151.
For local concerns, you can reach Nantucket’s Environmental Police Officer through the Nantucket Police Department at 508-228-1212. If you do plan to walk during hunting season, wear at least one article of the bright neon-orange colored clothing. Talking loudly and making noise as you go will also alert hunters to your presence. And if you bring your dog, keep it leashed and wearing either an orange collar or a vest to keep it safe.