As Massachusetts hunters go, Mike Giso of Medford is doubly lucky. First, he won a coveted spot in the Blue Hills controlled deer hunt. And then, last week, he killed his first-ever deer.

“I dragged it miles out of the woods, all up through these hills — it was horrible!” he said, sounding exhilarated rather than dispirited. “It was my first deer, [so] I wanted to do it myself. I had the adrenaline going.”

The head of the deer Giso killed is heading to a taxidermist. The deer’s body is bound for a butcher.

“It’s not going to go to waste — I’m going to eat it, so I feel good about it,” Giso said.

“I’m not going to just kill a deer to hang it on my wall,” he added, chuckling. “I’m going to take the meat and hang it on my wall.”

For the record, Massachusetts didn’t open a hefty portion of the Blue Hills Reservation to hunters (temporarily) just so people like Giso could get some thrills and some fresh venison. State officials say there are way too many deer in the area, and that they’re wreaking environmental havoc.

“You can look right behind me, and see 250, 300 yards into that forest,” Deputy Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Matthew Sisk told me last week, standing at the entrance to a portion of the reservation last week. “That is not a healthy forest.”

The deer living in the Blue Hills Reservation eat the forest’s undercanopy, Sisk said, which keeps other species from thriving and creates a safety risk.

“Because there’s no undercanopy to absorb what falls from the trees, pine needles and other kinds of foliage, you have a very thick duff layer which is rotten but very dry — increasing the risk of forest fires,” he said.

The hunt's opponents say they don’t trust the state’s estimates, which put the deer population inside the reservation at more than 80 per square mile. And even if those numbers are correct, critics say, more humane methods like deer contraception are available.

But David Stainbrook, the state’s deer biologist, says using contraception to reduce the deer count would be logistically challenging and ultimately ineffective.

“Even if you could realistically treat every female deer in the population, you’re still starting with five times too many deer, and you’re not going to reduce that in a realistic time frame,” Stainbrook said.

Hunting is the best way to reduce that overpopulation, Stainbrook added. And right now, the numbers look pretty good—because the majority of deer killed have been female.

“Every female that’s taken is one deer plus that deer would’ve had, probably, two fawns next year,” he explained.

Questions have also been raised about the state’s decision to keep the hiking trails in the area where the hunt is occurring open to the public.

Sisk, the deputy DCR commissioner, notes that hunters coexist with hikers throughout much of the state; that the hunters active at Blue Hills were trained specifically for this event; and that DCR personnel are distributing bright-orange apparel for any hikers who chose to enter the reservation while the hunt is taking place.

Thus far, with three of the hunt's four days completed, 53 deer have been killed.

For his part, Giso has a message for anyone who thinks he’s acting unethically.

“How you get meat in a store? They have to kill an animal — you just don’t see it," he said. "We’re actually doing it ourselves. You see this pink little package and you throw it on the grill. We’re actually doing the dirty work.”