Massachusetts Hunting Seasons: Updated


This page of Massachusetts hunting seasons is updated annually. While focuses on coyotes, fox, and bobcats, it is hoped other game hunters will take up predator hunting as well. We suggest you check out these predator hunting links specific to the state of Massachusetts:

Purchase a hunting license in Massachusetts here.

Learn the rules for hunting coyotes in Massachusetts.

Learn the rules for hunting bobcats in Massachusetts.

Learn the rules for hunting fox in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts hunting seasons for deer.

Massachusetts hunting seasons for black bear.

Massachusetts hunting seasons for upland game.

Furbearer hunting season in Massachusetts.

Bobcat hunting season in Massachusetts 2022- 2023.

Zones 1-8 December 20, 2022 to March 8, 2023

Coyote hunting season in Massachusetts 2022- 2023.

Zones 1 -14 October 15, 2022 to March 8, 2023

Fox hunting season in Massachusetts 2022 – 2023.

Zones 1 – 14 November 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023

Opossum and Raccoon hunting season in Massachusetts 2022 – 2023.

October 1, 2022 to January 31, 2023.

Blaze orange use during Massachusetts hunting seasons.

Blaze orange

During the pheasant or quail season on WMAs where pheasant or quail are stocked, all hunters must wear a blaze orange hat. EXCEPTION: No orange hat required while hunting waterfowl from a blind or boat or night-hunting for raccoons or opossums. (see page 21, Wildlife Management Area Regulations) During the Youth Deer Hunt Day and the Shotgun Season for deer, all hunters must wear 500 square inches of blaze orange on chest, back, and head. During these seasons waterfowl hunters on coastal waters and salt marshes must wear 500 square inches of blaze orange (hat and vest) while hunting or in transit to their blind or boat during these periods. The orange may be removed once the waterfowl hunter is in a blind or boat. During the Primitive Firearms Season, all deer hunters must comply with the 500 square inch blaze orange requirement.

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Harvest reporting

Upon harvesting a deer, bear, or turkey, hunters must immediately fill out and attach the paper tag from the permit or license to the carcass. The game must remain intact (other than field dressing), with the harvest tag attached, until it is reported. Hunters who harvest a deer, bear, coyote, fox, or turkey must report or check their game within 48 hours of killing the animal. Hunters may report their harvested game online or bring their game to an official check station. For information on Online Game Reporting, or a list of official check stations visit the Game Check Station page. All deer harvested during the first week of the shotgun deer season must be brought to an official check station for biological data collection.

Hunting prohibitions in Massachusetts

  • Report all violations to the Massachusetts Environmental Police (800) 632-8075.
  • Hunting, trapping or fishing for any birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, or amphibians not listed in the Guide to Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping, or in the Massachusetts Migratory Game Bird Regulations.
  • Airbows, arrow guns or any firearms or other devices which project or propel an arrow, dart or bolt by gunpowder, compressed air, or by any other means except by the flexing and release of a bow string.
  • Poisoned arrows, or explosive tips, including firearms cartridges affixed to the end of arrows in such a way as they discharge upon impact with the target, or bows drawn by mechanical means, except for permitted crossbows.
  • Artificial lights for hunting any bird or mammal except raccoon and opossum.
  • Baiting migratory game birds, wild turkey, bear, or deer during or within 10 days of the start of their specific hunting seasons. See the Guide to Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping for more details.
  • Careless or negligent use of firearms.
  • Choke traps, leghold traps, or nets for taking any bird or mammal.
  • Discharge of any firearm or release of any arrow upon or across any state or hard-surfaced highway, or within 150 feet of any such highway.
  • Possession of a loaded firearm, discharge of a firearm, or hunting on the land of another within 500 feet of any dwelling or building in use, unless permitted by the owner or occupant. Click here for additional gun laws.
  • Electronic calls for hunting migratory game birds, wild turkey, or deer.
  • Hunting with a ferret or possessing a non-vaccinated/unneutered ferrets/ fitches without a permit.
  • Possession of rifles and handguns on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant and quail season.
  • Hunter harassment is illegal.
  • Hunting on posted land without permission.
  • Hunting on Sunday.
  • Importation, transportation, liberation or possession of any live wild vertebrate protected under MGL Ch. 131 without a permit.
  • Hunting, target shooting, or possession of a firearm, bow and arrow or other weapon when under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.
  • Loaded shotgun or rifle in or on any motor vehicle, recreational vehicle (including snowmobiles), aircraft or motor boat, except as stated in the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations.
  • Machine guns, fully-automatic firearms, any tracer or incendiary ammunition.
  • Motor vehicles, off-highway vehicles (including snowmobiles), and/or aircraft for hunting any bird or mammal.
  • Possession of any Massachusetts Endangered Species Act-listed and/or wildlife, dead or alive, except by permit.
  • During the shotgun deer season, possession of rifles, handguns, or dogs in any woodland or field, or use of same on any game, is prohibited. The use of dogs is lawful for hunting waterfowl on coastal waters.
  • Hunting bear, deer, bobcat, or turkey with dogs, or training dogs on those species.
  • Power or sailboats for hunting birds except when beached or tied to a blind or for retrieving injured birds.
  • Removal of any mammal from walls, or holes in trees, ground, or logs.
  • Rifles chambered to take ammunition larger than .22 caliber long rifle, and pistols and revolvers chambered to take ammunition larger than .38 caliber, between the hours of 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise.
  • Sale of all species of mammals and birds or parts thereof, except unprocessed heads & hides to a licensed fur buyer or taxidermist, and shinbones & hooves of deer to anyone.
  • No species other than deer, coyote, and waterfowl/coot may be hunted with shot larger than #1 birdshot (.16” pellet diameter).
  • No possession of a shotgun shell loaded with a slug, sabot, single ball, buckshot (any size), except during the open seasons when deer may be hunted with a shotgun, or on a skeet, trap, or target range between sunrise and sunset.
  • Lettered bird shot may only be used for coyote hunting (.17 to .23” pellet diameter) and waterfowl/coot hunting (.17 to .19” pellet diameter); otherwise any lettered bird shot may only be possessed on a skeet, trap, or target range between sunrise and sunset. See migratory game bird hunting regulations and coyote hunting webpage for details.
  • Swivel or pivot guns for hunting any bird.
  • Taking nests, destroying, or disturbing eggs or nests of birds.
  • Target shooting on Sunday except on one’s own property or on a recognized shooting range.
  • Traps for taking birds except under permit. All traps except cage or box traps and common mouse or rat traps are unlawful for the taking of fur-bearing mammals.
  • Vandalism or damage to property or livestock.
  • Furbearer Contests: Contests where participants are awarded prizes for harvesting coyote, bobcat, red fox, gray fox, weasels, mink, skunk, river otter, muskrat, beaver, fisher, raccoon, and opossum.
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Penalties: License revoked for one year in addition to other penalties; fines of up to $1,000, restitutions, and/or 1 year in jail. Careless and negligent use of firearms; fines of up to $500 and/or 6 months imprisonment and loss of license for 5 years.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>