Hunting on Monomoy Refuge?

Brian Merchant— Hunting may soon be allowed for the first time on the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing public hunting for waterfowl and coyote.

The proposal includes waterfowl hunting in about 4,000 acres of waters west of South Monomoy Island.

“The waterfowl hunt plan would be mirroring the state of Massachusetts regulations,” said Matt Hillman, the refuge manager.

Upland portions of South and North Monomoy Islands would also be opened up to coyote hunting.

“That would be a limited season that is a little more restrictive than the state of Massachusetts,” Hillman said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife did include a plan to implement hunting in the refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan which was finalized in 2016.

Hillman said the proposal is a way to open up additional acreage of the refuge to recreational opportunities.

“This is going to be something that we are hoping folks can take advantage of and get out there and appreciate the refuge’s waters and lands,” Hillman said.

The refuge, which was established in 1944, is open to fin fishing and shellfishing.

“Hunting would be brand new for Monomoy,” Hillman said.

Before the refuge was established there was a rich history of waterfowl hunting on Monomoy Island, according to Hillman.

“In the 1800s and early 1900s there was even a Monomoy Brant Club,” he said. “No sign of those facilities exist anymore but there has been a lot of waterfowl and upland hunting on South Monomoy Island for many years.”

A public comment period on the proposal is open through May 10.

An informational session will also be held April 30 at the Chatham Community Center from 3 to 6 p.m.

“It’s going to be kind of an open-door session,” Hillman said. “It is going to be three hours but informal. There won’t be a presentation. Folks can just come in and wonder at will.”

The hunt plan document and environmental assessment can be found at

The website also includes details on how to submit comments by phone or email.

What are your thoughts on allowing hunting in a place like Monomoy Refuge? Do you think it would lead to conversations more Cape Cod natural spaces being eligible for future hunting grounds? Anyone who follows me on instagram knows I like to walk Crowes Pasture conservation area with Vince, but I forget that hunting for certain species is scheduled in the Fall during specific time periods. It’s a life I’m not too familiar with, but if it’s regulated and helps control the animal population, then there doesn’t appear to be any harm. I write this as someone who’s never hunted and am trying to understand the potential impacts. Feel free to educate people in the comments section if you can. Thanks!