The purpose of the bowhunting program is to control the deer population safely and ethically by allowing experienced archery hunters onto town lands. Archery hunters who apply to the program must be experienced, have successfully completed the bow hunter safety course, and passed a proficiency test and interview before being accepted into the program. We have police officers, bow hunting safety instructors, fire fighters, and other experienced hunting and safety personnel in the program. No more than 25 hunters per year are given permits and these hunters are spread out among 15 town conservation lands. Nine of this year’s hunters have been in the participating in the program since 1999.
Once accepted into the program, the hunters are assigned to one of the town's public conservation properties and may then harvest whitetail deer, using bow and arrow only, on their assigned area. Hunters must follow all of the state's game laws as well as additional rules dictated by the SCC designed to maximize the safety of non-hunters who may be using the same properties during the hunting season. All hunting equipment (tree stands, etc.) must be clearly labeled with the hunter's permit number. Anyone who finds hunting equipment that does not have a permit number is asked to contact the SCC office. It is unlawful to tamper with hunting equipment on SCC lands whether or not the equipment is properly labeled.
Hunters with permits are also required to complete a service project dictated by the SCC that is designed to maintain or improve the town's conservation properties. Please be respectful of these sportsmen and women and their equipment. They are providing a valuable service by helping control the deer population and thereby lowering the danger on the highway, reducing the amount of damage to residents' landscaping, impacting agricultural crops, reducing the biodiversity on many conservation lands by browsing the understory and sapling habitats, and maintaining a healthy deer herd with numbers that the land can sustain.
For further information, please contact the Conservation Department at 978-443-2209 x1371.
by Jerry Peters & Debbie Dineen
Oct. 31, 2012