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Massachusetts 2002 Hunting Seasons

The following information was extracted from "Abstracts of the 2002 Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Laws" by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, 251 Causeway Street Suite 400, Boston, MA 02114, (617) 626-1590, www.masswildlife.org. If you have a question, visit their website, www.masswildlife.org, or call the MassWildlife Information Directory Fishing/Hunting Information (508) 792-7270.

HUNTING OPEN SEASONS

All dates are inclusive. NO HUNTING ON SUNDAY. Numbers in parentheses are notes, see below.

Birds

Mammals

Reptiles and Amphibians

Seasons CLOSED during shotgun deer season: ALL hunting seasons except waterfowl are closed from Dec. 2 to Dec.14.

The following species may be taken by licensed hunters with no daily or seasonal bag limit: English sparrow, starling, chipmunk, flying squirrel, red squirrel, weasel, porcupine, skunk, woodchuck.

Closed season throughout the year on all birds and mammals not mentioned herein or in Massachusetts migratory bird regulations.

Hunting hours are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset on each day of open season except for:
(A) spring turkey, raccoon and opossum (see notes below) and
(B) WMA REG #10 (below) which states that no person shall hunt before sunrise or after sunset on any WMA where pheasant or quail are stocked during the pheasant or quail season (Oct.19 to Nov. 30) except for the hunting of raccoons and opossums between 9 P.M. and 3 A.M.
(C) Hunting for rabbit, hare, fox and coyote closes at midnight.

Notes

1. Crow: May be hunted only on Friday, Saturday and Monday during the open season. Hunting hours close 1/2 hr. after sunset except as noted in WMA Reg #10 (See hunting hours above).

2. Pheasants: Zone from the New Hampshire border south on I-95 to I-495 south to I-95, north on I-95 to I-93/128, east on I-93/128 to Route 3, south on Route 3 to Route 228, north on 228 to the Hull town line. Cocks and hens west of zone line and on all Wildlife Management Areas. Cocks only east of zone line including Hull and in Dukes and Nantucket counties. See WMA Reg. #10 under hunting hours above.

3. Quail: Season limited to Nantucket, Dukes, Barnstable, Plymouth and Bristol counties. See WMA Reg #10 under hunting hours above.

4. Ruffed Grouse: See WMA Reg. #10 under hunting hours above.

5. Turkey: SPRING SEASON #1: April 29 to May 25 (no splits). Berkshire, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, and Worcester Counties. SPRING SEASON #2: April 29 to May 11. Barnstable, Bristol, Norfolk, and Plymouth Counties. FALL SEASON: Berkshire, Dukes, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and that portion of Worcester County west of a line from the New Hampshire border southward along Rte. 32 to Rte. 67 to Rte. 148 to I-90 and west on I-90 to the Hampden County line. Spring hunting hours: 1/2 hour before sunrise to 12:00 noon. Fall hunting hours: 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hr. after sunset except as noted in WMA Reg #10 (See hunting hours above). Bag limit: (a) 2 bearded birds in spring season (1 per day) with NO fall bird allowed, OR (b) 1 bearded bird in spring season, and 1 bird of either sex in fall season. Hunting only with shotguns no larger than 10 gauge and restricted to shot sizes #4-#6, or with bows 40 lbs. pull or greater. Electronic calls, dogs, bait, driving prohibited.

6. Bear: Permit required-apply to Boston office MDFW prior to season opening. Zones include Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester Counties ONLY. Hunting only with rifle .23 caliber or larger, muzzleloader .44-.775 caliber, bows with 40 lb. pull or greater, or revolvers .357 Magnum or .40 caliber or larger. Handguns permitted in September season only. SHOTGUNS PROHIBITED. Dogs prohibited for hunting and training (See: Hunting Dogs, below). Hunting hours close 1/2 hr. after sunset except as noted in WMA Reg #10 (See hunting hours above).

7. Bobcat: Hunting hours close 1/2 hour after sunset. Hunting limited to areas west of Rte. 31. The Director will close the season when the total harvest reaches 50 animals.

8. Coyote & Fox: Hunting hours end at midnight. Pelts must be tagged within 4 working days of the end of the season. Rifles chambered to take larger than .22 caliber long rifle rimfire ammunition, pistols and revolvers larger than .38 caliber between the hours of 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise are prohibited. Weapons other than shotguns and bows and arrows are prohibited on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant and quail season. Possession or use of any rifle chambered larger than .22 long rifle in any place where birds or mammals may be found in Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Plymouth, and Nantucket counties is prohibited, November 1-March 31.

9. Deer: Hunting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise and close 1/2 hr. after sunset except as noted in WMA Reg #10.

Antlered deer: any deer with at least one antler 3 inches long measured on a straight line from the center of the anterior (front) base of the antler burr to the tip.

Antlerless deer: a permit is required to harvest antlerless deer during any season in all zones.

After killing 2 deer (except for persons with unused valid deer tags) a person shall not hunt for any bird or mammal other than deer, during the remainder of the shotgun deer season. This does not apply to hunting waterfowl on coastal waters.

Daily bag: the daily bag limit is determined by the number of valid tags a hunter possesses. Hunters possessing one deer may take an addi tional deer before presenting the first deer at an official check station. However, all deer must be taken to a check station within 48 hours of being killed.

Seasonal bag: 2 antlered deer, and as many antlerless deer as the hunter has valid permits for, PROVIDED: (A) Hunters may purchase an unlimited number of antlerless deer permits for zones 10-14, subject to an overall quota in each zone. (See p. 11 for antlerless deer permit regulations.) (B) Hunters may take a maximum of two (2) deer in the Quabbin Reservation, both of which may be antlerless, provided the hunter obtains a second antlerless deer permit after checking their first antlerless deer at a check station. Antlerless deer taken in the Quabbin are not considered part of the statewide bag limit. Antlered deer taken in the Quabbin are part of the statewide bag limit.

No person shall kill an antlerless deer unless he or she possesses on his or her person a permit from the director to do so.

During shotgun season hunters may use shotguns not larger than 10 gauge, bows and arrows, or muzzleloaders, including modern muzzleloaders, muzzleloaders with telescopic sights, and sabot rounds in muzzleloaders.

During shotgun and muzzleloader seasons all deer hunters must wear a minimum of 500 square inches of "hunter orange" on their head, chest, and back. This includes archers hunting during either season.

The possession of rifles, handguns, or dogs in any woodland or field, on any highway, or use of same on any game, is prohibited during the shotgun deer season except that the use of dogs is lawful for hunting waterfowl on coastal waters.

Driving deer is lawful.

Quabbin Controlled Hunt: Contact MDC (413-323-7221) in June for information. Must apply by August 15.

Muzzleloader Season: Limited to shoulder-fired muzzleloaders .44 to .775 caliber; barrel length 18" or more with only one barrel operative. In-line ignition systems permitted providing rifle loads from muzzle, and has a non-opening breech. Single projectile only (no buckshot). Sabot rounds are legal. Powder limited to black powder or approved substitutes. Firearm is considered unloaded when cap or pan powder is removed. Stamp required. An antlerless deer permit is required by muzzleloader hunters in order to take an antlerless deer. Archers may hunt during the muzzleloader firearms season but must purchase a primitive firearms stamp and wear at least 500 square inches of hunter orange on head, back and chest. Permit required for antlerless deer. Paraplegic Season: There is a special deer hunt for paraplegic sportsmen. Contact Field Headquarters for information (508)792-7270.

10. Gray Squirrel: Zones are divided by the eastern boundary of Worcester County. Rifles and handguns permitted in the western zone; prohibited in the eastern zone. No person shall hunt before sunrise or after sunset on WMA where pheasant or quail are stocked during the open season on pheasant or quail (Oct.19 to Nov. 30) except for the hunting of raccoons between 9PM and 3AM (WMA Reg #10). No person shall hunt by any means other than shotgun or bow and arrow during the pheasant and quail season on areas stocked with pheasant or quail except for hunting raccoons between 9PM and 3AM (WMA Reg. #9).

11. Jackrabbit: Season limited to Nantucket County.

12. Raccoon & Opossum: Limit of 3 raccoon from sunset of one day to sunset of following day by one person; 6 by two or more persons hunting in same group. No limit on opossum. Night hunting on Wildlife Management Areas (except Delaney and Flint Pond WMAs) is permitted from sunset to sunrise excepting from Oct.19 to Nov. 30 on areas stocked with pheasant or quail, when raccoon and opossum may be hunted only from 9PM to 3AM.

13. Snowshoe Hare: Zones are divided by the west bank of the Connecticut River.

14. Bullfrog, Green frog, Snapping Turtle: No license required. Minimum size for frogs 3" snout to vent.

HUNTING REGULATIONS

PROHIBITED

MIGRATORY BIRD REGULATIONS

For comprehensive information obtain separate Migratory Bird Abstracts from MDFW available September 2002. All migratory bird hunters must have a H.I.P. number. Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) provides the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with migratory game bird harvest estimates for ducks, geese and other migratory game birds. Hunter cooperation is a critical part of gathering this information and managing game bird populations. Woodcock, rail, coot, snipe and waterfowl hunters must have a Harvest Information Permit (H.I.P.) number. This number can be obtained annually by calling 1-800-WET-LAND, and completing a seven question survey. There is no charge for the permit.

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA REGULATIONS

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife holds 112 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and 13 wildlife sanctuaries. Maps are available from MDFW Westboro.

1. No person shall possess any alcoholic beverage except under permit or dump or discard any can, bottle or rubbish.
2. No person shall remove vegetation, soil or stones from any WMA except under permit.
3. No person shall use excessive speed in driving a vehicle.
4. No person, unless under permit, shall drive or possess any vehicle except on roads or trails maintained for public traffic.
5. No person shall deface or tamper with any sign, building or equipment.
6. No person shall build or maintain a fire without written permission from the Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) or his designee.
7. No person shall camp within any WMA without written permission from the Director of the MDFW or his designee.
8. No person shall engage in target practicing without written permission from the Director of the MDFW or his designee.
9. No person shall use any means other than shotgun or bow and arrow during the pheasant and quail season on areas stocked with pheasant or quail except for hunting raccoons between 9PM and 3AM.
10. No person shall hunt before sunrise or after sunset on any WMA where pheasant or quail are stocked during the open season on pheasant or quail, Oct. 19 to Nov. 30, except for the hunting of raccoons between 9PM and 3AM.
11. No person shall hunt during the pheasant or quail season on wildlife management areas where pheasant or quail are stocked without wearing a hunter orange cap or hat except while night hunting for raccoons or while hunting from a blind or boat.
12. No person, except under permit, shall dig or disturb any artifact or archaeological remains.
13. The Director may make special regulations to handle special situations peculiar to any WMA. Controlled hunts are in effect at certain times on Burns, Delaney and Ludlow WMAs. Contact District Supervisor for details.


Any landowner permitting use of his property for recreation without charging a fee is not liable for injuries to recreational users or their property except in cases of willful, wanton or reckless conduct by the owner. (Chapter 21, Section 17C MGL)

Hunter harassment is against State law. Report violations to D.L.E. 1-800-632-8075 or State or local police and prepare to provide a description of violators.