The annual shotgun deer season got underway this week on Martha’s Vineyard, and several days of good hunting weather helped Island hunters bag 124 white-tail deer through Thursday morning.

“That’s up a little from last year,” said Caren Caljiouw of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife who was helping register deer at the Manuel Correllus State Forest check in station this week. “We had an extended bow season this year, so our numbers are likely to be up.”

Part of the reason hunters are required to check in deer is so state wildlife officials can assess the numbers and health of the deer herd.

Ned Casey of Edgartown with a large buck he stalked and shot early Friday morning in Chilmark during the first week of shotgun season. — John Casey

“The deer look pretty healthy as they’re coming in,” Ms. Caljiouw said. “That’s what we’re doing this week is taking the biological data. We weigh them, we look at their age, we look at their antler growth. We try to check out how healthy look.”

Organizers of a venison donation program on the Island are pleased with the operation so far. The program, organized with cooperation from Island Grown Initiative, the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, and the Larder retail store, encourages hunters to take extra deer and donate what they can’t use to the program. The donated deer are processed and then distributed by the Island Food Pantry. Marc Macfarlane, who helps coordinate the program, said the number of deer donated this season is already double last year.

“We haven’t had too much activity since shotgun season started, although we’re only a few days in,” Mr. Macfarlane said. “We’re doing quite well. We have 10 deer donated, and a few hundred pounds of venison received. We’re freezing those in one-pound packages. Those are going over to the Food Pantry.”

On Monday, opening day of the shotgun season, hunters offered mixed reports.

Desmond Pinkham was among a group of hunters that brought in three deer to be weighed after spending opening day in Edgartown. He said development on the Island has made hunting a bit more difficult.

“It was a good day, not as good as it used to be growing up,” he said. “More and more houses going in on these lands where we’ve been hunting since I was a kid.

He said his group didn’t see a lot of deer Monday.

“Not as much as we usually do on opening day,” he said.

Others had better luck. Scott Sylvia came over from Falmouth to hunt opening day with his friends and was glad to get in a day of hunting in good weather.

“We had the first three before 11:30 a.m., then I got another one later,” Mr. Sylvia said. “They’re kicking around.”

Alex Freidman of Edgartown was among a large group of hunters who spent the day hunting together in the state forest.

“A bit slow in the morning, but we had some opportunities,” Mr. Freidman said. “Very nice weather for opening day.”

Mr. Freidman said it took a bit of coordination with so many hunters in the woods.

“There were a few other crews out hunting,” he said. “We coordinated with them and talked to them so nobody stepped on each other. We’re safe and good.”

Dick Johnson, the Island biologist who leads the Island’s tick-borne illness reduction initiative, was on hand collecting ticks from the deer brought in by hunters.

He will send the samples to Tufts University for analysis, and said while it’s too early to make any conclusions this year, he is watching closely.

“I keep hearing from people there weren’t a lot of ticks this year,” Mr. Johnson said. “That’s not what I saw this summer when I was looking.”

Mr. Johnson said reducing the deer herd is critical to holding down the tick population.

Island residents are advised to be aware of hunters in the woods, including the state forest and many Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and private properties.

Hunting is allowed from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset, Monday through Saturday.

State fish and wildlife officials emphasize that deer hunting is a safe activity. Residents who use the woods for walking, birdwatching and other non-hunting activities are advised to wear brightly colored clothing and exercise caution especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

Hunters can check their deer at one of three stations: at the state forest, Wampanoag tribal headquarters in Aquinnah and Larry's Tackle Shop in Edgartown. Regulations require hunters to check in at an official station during the first week of deer season. In the second week, they can check in deer online, if desired.

The shotgun season ends Dec. 8, and is followed by the primitive firearms season which begins Dec. 10 and ends Dec. 31.

This story has been updated to include Larry's Tackle shop as one of the check-in stations.