It’s no secret that without some form of population management, the rapid growth of deer populations in some areas can be a threat to public safety.
Ideally, deer populations should not exceed six to 18 deer per square mile. However, the Blue Hills Reservation just south of Boston has far surpassed those numbers.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation estimates there are 85 deer per square mile in the 7,000-acre reservation. Officials say this is a threat to the entire ecosystem.
In an effort to control the population, the state is allowing a four-day controlled permit hunt within five select management zones of the Blue Hills Reservation.
Animal welfare activists are protesting the controlled hunt and advocating for the use of more humane population control methods. The use of contraceptives, or birth control, is one of their proposed methods.
State officials argue the controversial population control method would be too costly and it’s unclear whether it would even work.
Instead, interested hunters had to apply for the controlled hunt and just 196 permits were issued. Half of the hunters were assigned to the first segment, which took place on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The remaining half will hunt the second segment is on Dec. 7-8.
There were 41 deer killed during the first round, but not without incident. Two people were arrested for allegedly interfering with a contentious deer hunt.
In spite of the protesters, the controlled hunt seems to be an effective population control method so far.