MASSACHUSETTS

Deer Forecast 2004 -- EAST

Outdoor Life Online Editor

In 2004, Bay State sportsmen should find deer hunting to be at least as good as it has been the past two years, when more than 12,000 whitetails were taken.

Bill Woytek, chief of the MassWildlife Deer Project, notes that the recent harvests are up. In fact, the 2003 take included record kills for muzzleloader (1,844) and archery (3,045).

"We've been targeting high-density areas by issuing a lot of permits," Woytek says. Some of the highest whitetail concentrations are found in portions of zones 10 and 11 in the east, as well as in Zone 3, which is the southern area of the Berkshires.

If a nice buck is what you're after, Massachusetts is home to more than a few. About 30 percent of the annual harvest consists of bucks aged 3 and older. Look to both private and public lands, including more remote areas of the Berkshires and the Quabbin Controlled Hunt.