For over a century, hunting has been banned in Massachusetts' Blue Hills Reservation. The park, located just 10 miles south of downtown Boston, has become a safe haven for deer escaping hunters and hikers escaping the stress of city life. But all that is about to change. The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has just approved four days of hunting in the reservation to thin out the deer population.
That's right, 196 hunters armed with shotguns will be able to wander parts of the Blue Hills Reservation on November 30th and December 1st, 7th, and 8th in search of deer. Hunters are so eager to get access to the park's large population of deer that the DCR has to use a lottery to determine who gets a hunting permit.
Each hunter will be allowed to kill up to four deer - two with antlers and two without. That means that over the course of just four days, nearly 800 deer will be slaughtered. And if the DCR is pleased with the results of this year's hunt, there are plans to make it a yearly event - perhaps even expanding the number of days and hunters allowed in the park.
Hunting deer is a cruel, unsustainable solution to overpopulation concerns, especially when other viable options are available. Unfortunately, the DCR feels that non-lethal deer population control methods like contraception, sterilization, and transfer are either too expensive or won't reduce the population fast enough. They have decided to do what is quickest and cheapest rather than what is the most humane.
And deer aren’t the only ones at risk — incredulously, the reservation will be open to hikers during the hunt. The only thing that the DCR plans to do to protect their safety is give them orange vests and hats.
There is still time, however, to stop the scheduled deer slaughter. Please sign this petition to urge Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to cancel the hunt and maintain the hunting ban that has been in place for over 100 years!