Funds for Blue Hills Deer Culling Included in Environmental Bond Bill

BOSTON – The Environmental Bond Bill recently passed by the Massachusetts Senate contains a provision authored by Senator Brian A. Joyce to address the overcrowding of deer in the Blue Hills. The legislation directs the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to develop and implement a plan to control deer populations in areas where they exceed 50 per square mile. A recent report requested by Joyce put the deer population of the Blue Hills at roughly 85 per square mile when wildlife officials consider 6 to 8 deer per square mile to be a healthy population. The rise in the deer population has created a significant increase in deer ticks, which carry potentially fatal communicable diseases like Lyme disease and babesiosis.

“The amount of deer in the Blue Hills now poses a serious health risk,” said Joyce. “We’ve seen a rapid increase in ticks and the ecosystem is being damaged by the amount of grazing that’s occurring. The Reservation simply cannot support the amount of deer present.”

DCR would develop and implement the plan by October 1 of this year. A similar culling program was developed and implemented by DCR for the Quabbin Reservoir which resulted in a vegetation rebound and water quality improvements following a controlled hunt.