The two-week deer shotgun season opened on Monday, and the woods were filled with camouflage and bright orange. Whether the woods were also filled with deer was another story.

Deer hunters on the Vineyard took 37 deer on opening day while harvest numbers for bow and arrow season fell short of last year’s total.

Bow hunting season began Oct. 5 and to date 370 deer have been checked in according to data provided by Marion Larson, chief information officer for MassWildlife. Last year was a banner year for bow hunting on the Island, with 443 deer checked in by this point in the season. That number eclipsed 2018 and 2017 numbers when 302 and 270 deer were taken respectively.

Hunters pointed to two possibilities for the lower take this year: more seasonal homeowners still on Island and a plentiful crop of acorns.

“Last year was an epic deer hunting season and we attribute that to a lack of acorns,” said Joe Capece, a bow hunter. “When there are no acorns the deer don’t have that woody browse so they start eating other things and have to move around more.”

Conversely, when acorns are plentiful deer can shelter in place, like many seasonal residents are doing.

“There are so many people down here year-round now, a lot of the hunters got squeezed out of places that they normally would have permission to hunt,” said Brian Athearn, president of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society and an avid bow hunter. “The presence of people has changed the deer patterns. It’s changed a lot of stuff.”

Mr. Capece agreed.

“I only hunted in a couple spots this year because most of my other spots the owners are still there,” he said. “Some of them let me hunt on their property and others just didn’t want anyone around.”

The communal deer donation locker, located on the Agricultural Hall fairgrounds in West Tisbury and coordinated by Island Grown Initiative in partnership with the agricultural society and the MV Tick-Borne Illness Prevention Program, has also seen a decline. By this time last year, 110 deer had passed through the locker. This year the total is currently nearly half that, with 60 deer passing through.

Chris Lyons, manager of the deer locker, said he has had one deer brought to him on each of the first three days of shotgun season. He said the first deer was shot by a group of hunters from central Massachusetts.

“They’re here for three days and they’re gung-ho,” Mr. Lyons said.

Hunters are urged to register their take online due to the pandemic, however Island hunters do have the opportunity to register in person at the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) check station located in the parking lot of the administration building. Bret Stearns, director of the tribe’s natural resources department, said no deer have been brought in as of yet.

Officials are also urging hunters to take extra care this year with more people on the Island. Massachusetts environmental police officer Sgt. Scott Opie said everyone should be courteous of private property, and if hunting on public land maintain 500 feet of space away from homes.

“This year, especially, there’s a lot more homes being occupied,” Sergeant Opie echoed. “You want to make sure you’re the appropriate distance away from them.”

Shotgun season continues through Dec. 12. Primitive firearms season runs from Dec. 14 to Dec. 31.