Menu Close

Hunting in Massachusetts

Tired of the same old routine? Come to Massachusetts and make memories that will last a lifetime. With its rugged terrain, diverse wildlife, and strict regulations, it’s no wonder why hunters from all over flock here for an adrenaline-filled outdoor experience.

From whitetail deer to wild turkeys, grouse to woodcock — there are plenty of game species ready to challenge your skills. And with abundant public land available across the state, you’re sure to find something new every time you venture out. So grab your gear and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Massachusetts.

In this comprehensive guide, we have covered everything you need to know about hunting in Massachusetts. Whether it is the type of animals to hunt, places to hunt them, license information, or hunting seasons, we have gathered all the information here. So, let’s get started.

Hunting in Massachusetts

What Can You Hunt in Massachusetts?

The Bay State is the perfect destination for hunters due to its abundant wildlife and variety of game species. From white-tailed deer and wild turkey to ducks and geese, there are plenty of animals to hunt here.

White-tailed deer are a popular big game species in Massachusetts – from the Berkshires forests all the way down to Cape Cod’s coastal areas. Deer hunting season usually runs from October until December, depending on your region; with both archery and shotguns being common methods used during this time.

Wild turkeys also make up a large part of MA’s population – split between Eastern wild turkeys in western Mass and Merriam’s wild turkeys towards eastern parts. Hunting season typically takes place from April through May using either shotguns or bows & arrows as weapons of choice.

For those seeking waterfowl such as ducks or geese, September till January marks their ideal window for harvest; although most opt to use decoys alongside traditional shotgun techniques at this time period every year.


Hunting white-tailed deer in Massachusetts is a worthwhile experience. Whether you’re using a bow or firearm, the regular season running from November to December allows for one antlered buck per day and two antlerless deer during this period. For more of an adrenaline rush, you can even go after trophy bucks on special seasons!

Safety should be your top priority when hunting in the Bay State. Make sure to wear blaze orange clothing and follow state regulations at all times. Check with local authorities beforehand too so that you stay up to date on rules and regulations while out on your hunt.

It’s essential to understand the natural behavior of deer in Massachusetts. During fall, when searching for sustenance, they often traverse ridgelines and open fields or meadows. Being aware of this can help you craft an effective hunt strategy.

Additionally, it’s important to recognize whether a buck is legally gameable or not; bucks must have at least three points on one antler or four points on both antlers and their antlers should be more than three inches long in order to qualify as legal game according to MA state regulations. Ignorance here could cost you your harvest.

With excellent cover and food sources available throughout the eastern part of MA, it’s no wonder why it’s such a great place for deer hunting.

White-Tailed Deer Season Massachusetts

Season Dates Bag Limit
Archery (Zones 10-14) Oct 02 – Nov 25 2 Antlered deer
Archery (Zones 01-09) Oct 16 – Nov 25 2 Antlered deer
Shotgun Nov 02 – Nov 04 2 Antlered deer
Primitive Weapons Nov 27 – Dec 09 2 Antlered deer
Paraplegic Dec 11 – Dec 30 2 Antlered deer
Youth Hunt Sep 30 1 Antlered deer

Black Bear

Hunting black bears is a popular activity in Massachusetts and, with the right preparation, you can have an enjoyable expedition. The western part of the state has great conditions for bear hunting due to its dense forests and abundant food sources.

When you’re out hunting in Massachusetts, keep safety top of mind – always comply with local regulations when hunting these creatures. Plus, they are powerful animals that should be respected as such; use proper gear like well-maintained rifles or bows to ensure success while still being safe.

With adequate knowledge and preparation before heading out into the wilds of Massachusetts, your bear hunt will be one for the books.

Black Bear Season in Massachusetts

Season Dates Bag Limit
Black Bear (Zones 01-14) Sep 05 – Sep 23, Nov 06 – Nov 25, Nov 27 – Dec 09 1 per year


With its diverse landscape, Massachusetts provides plenty of cover for these birds to thrive. The turkey season runs from mid-April through early December with two separate seasons – one beginning in April and ending by May, and another starting up around October until December.

For anyone wanting to hunt turkeys here, it’s important to be aware of all local laws regarding this activity as well as obtaining a valid hunting license beforehand. Also, wearing blaze orange clothing while out on the field helps ensure your safety amongst other hunters too.

The best part about turkey hunting in Massachusetts? You’ll likely find large flocks roaming around during peak times such as mornings and evenings; so plan accordingly if you want those coveted trophies.

Hunting Turkeys in Massachusetts

Turkey Season Massachusetts

Season Dates Zones
Big Game Spring Season Apr 24 – May 20 01-13
Big Game Fall Season Oct 16 – Nov 25 01-09
Big Game Fall Season Oct 02 – Nov 25 10-13
Big Game Youth Hunt Apr 22 01-13


Hunting rabbits in The Bay State can be a thrilling experience. The best time to go is during the early morning or twilight hours when Eastern cottontails – the most common rabbit species – are out foraging in brushy areas near fields or woodlands.

To stay safe, make sure to wear blaze-orange clothing while you’re tracking your prey. You’ll also need a valid hunting license and shotgun with a size 6 shot or smaller.

Whether you’re an experienced hunter looking for a challenge, or just getting started with the sport – rabbit hunting promises excitement and adventure. Keep your eyes peeled and stay alert as you search through the landscape for their tracks in the snow.

Rabbit Season

Season Dates Bag Limit
Cottontail (Zone 1-12) Jan 02 – Feb 28 5 per day
Cottontail (Zone 13-14) Oct 14 – Feb 29 5 per day
Snowshoe Hare (Zone 1-14) Jan 02 – Feb 28 2 per day
Snowshoe Hare (Zone 1-14) Oct 14 – Feb 29 2 per day


Squirrel hunting in Massachusetts is an exciting and rewarding activity for all ages. From September to February, you can grab your gun or bow and take aim at the abundant eastern gray squirrels, red squirrels, and fox squirrels that call this state home.

To ensure a successful hunt, make sure to follow safety regulations while out in the field – like wearing bright clothing so other hunters can easily spot you. Early morning is usually best as they’re most active then; look for signs of activity such as fresh tracks or scat near trees or bushes where they may be hiding.

Be patient when stalking your prey – one wrong move could result in them fleeing before you even get a chance! If you do manage to find a target, take your shot with confidence knowing that their delicious meat will be yours for the taking afterward.

Squirrel Season Massachusetts

Season Dates Bag Limit
Gray Squirrel (Zone 01-09) Jan 02 – Feb 28 5 per day
Gray Squirrel (Zone 10-14) Sep 05 – Feb 29 5 per day


Coyotes are a common species in Massachusetts, usually more abundant in rural zones with extensive open terrain. These adaptive animals can be seen roaming through forests, wetlands, grasslands, and even urban locales.

Hunting them requires patience and finesse – the best times to spot one of these creatures is during dawn or twilight when they’re most active. Camouflage clothing helps disguise your presence from their sharp senses.

Coyote Season

Species Dates Zones
Coyote Jan 02 – Mar 08, Oct 14- Mar 08 01-14


Fox hunting has been a beloved pastime of generations, and Massachusetts offers some of the best terrain for it. With rolling hills, forests, wetlands, and meadows dotting the landscape – there’s no shortage of fox habitats in the state. From public lands to private ranches – hunters have plenty of options when choosing where to pursue their quarry.

To get started, one would need appropriate gear such as comfortable boots, a rifle or shotgun, and an electronic or hand-held call device used to lure out game animals like foxes. It is also important to know how to track animals effectively as well as use firearms safely before joining any hunt.

Hunting Foxes in Massachusetts

Fox Season

Species Dates Zones
Red & Gray Fox Jan 02 – Feb 28, Nov 01 – Feb 29 01-14


Hunting raccoons in Massachusetts is a time-honored tradition for many outdoorsmen. With plenty of wooded areas near rivers and streams teaming with the critters, it’s easy to see why they’re so plentiful here.

To successfully track down your quarry, you can choose from various methods such as snares, cage traps, or even dogs – whose sense of smell will help them locate hidden animals quickly. If those aren’t convenient options, there are also pre-baited lures that’ll draw raccoons from far away.

But before you head out on the hunt, make sure to adhere to all local regulations; including wearing blaze orange clothing and hearing protection if using firearms. Hunting season runs from October 1st through January 31st with a daily bag limit of two per person.

Raccoon Season

Species Dates Zones
Raccoon Jan 02 – Jan 31, Oct 02 – Jan 31 01-14

Bobcat Season

Species Dates Zones
Bobcat Jan 02 – Mar 08, Dec 20 – Mar 08 01-08

Opossum Season

Species Dates Zones
Opossum Jan 02 – Jan 31, Oct 02 – Jan 31 01-14

Duck Season

Season Dates Bag Limit
Early Central Oct 10 – Nov 26 6 per day
Early Coastal Oct 15 – Oct 22 6 per day
Early Berkshire Oct 10 – Nov 26 6 per day
Late Coastal Dec 01 – Jan 31 6 per day
Late Central Dec 27 – Jan 16 6 per day
Late Berkshire Dec 19 – Jan 07 6 per day

Goose Season

Hunting Geese in Massachusetts

Season Dates Bag Limit
Early Canada Goose Sep 02 – Sep 24 15 per day
Early Central Oct 10 – Nov 26 2 per day
Early Berkshire Oct 12 – Nov 12 2 per day
Early Coastal Oct 15 – Oct 22 2 per day
Brant Dec 01 – Jan 27 2 per day
Late Coastal Dec 01 – Jan 31 2 per day
Late Central Dec 27 – Jan 16 2 per day
Late Snow & Blue Goose Central Jan 18 – Feb 15 15 per day
Late Canada Goose Central Jan 18 – Feb 15 5 per day
Late Snow & Blue Goose North Coastal Feb 01 – Feb 15 15 per day
Late Canada Goose North Coastal Feb 01 – Feb 15 5 per day

Crow Season

Season Dates Zones
Crow Jan 02 – Apr 10 1-14
Crow Jul 01 – Apr 10 1-14

Pheasant Season

Season Dates Zones
Pheasant Oct 14 – Dec 30 2 per day
Youth Hunt Sept 2, 9, 16, 23, and Oct 7 2 per day

Quail Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Quail Oct 14 – Dec 30 4 per day

Grouse Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Ruffed Grouse Oct 14 – Nov 25 3 per day

Woodcock Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Woodcock Oct 01 – Nov 22 ——-

Beaver Season

Season Dates
Trapping Only Jan 01 – Apr 15, Nov 01 – Apr 15

Mink Season

Season Dates
Trapping Only Nov 01 – Dec 15

Muskrat Season

Hunting Muskrats in Massachusetts

Season Dates
Trapping Only Jan 01 – Feb 28, Nov 01 – Feb 29

Weasel Season

Season Dates
Trapping Only Nov 01 – Nov 30

Fisher Season

Season Dates
Trapping Only Nov 01 – Nov 22

River Otter Season

Season Dates
Trapping Only Nov 01 – Dec 15

Massachusetts Hunting License Information

If you’re looking to get in on the amazing hunting opportunities around Massachusetts, you’ll need a valid license. At least 15 years old and with a certified hunter safety course under your belt? You’re ready to apply for yours online or at any authorized agent.

If you are between 12-14, then you don’t need a license. But you will need an adult accompanying you at all times. Residents pay $26 per year while non-residents shell out $98 for a hunting license. There are also additional licenses available like archery, turkey, and deer hunting if those are more your speed.

Remember: it’s essential that all hunters follow state regulations when it comes to firearms and proper safety gear while out in the field. Pay attention too; certain areas may have restrictions or closures during specific times of the year so make sure you do some research beforehand.

Where Can You Hunt in Massachusetts?

From woodlands to grassy meadows, Massachusetts offers plenty of prime hunting spots. The Quabbin Reservoir is one of the best known for its plentiful wildlife – deer, wild turkeys, and waterfowl alike. Before you take aim here though, be sure to get a permit from the Department of Fish and Game.

The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge also boasts an impressive array of birds and mammals; white-tailed deer are especially abundant. Waterfowl season offers some unique opportunities as well.

If city life is more your speed, then check out Boston’s public parks which allow hunting with certain restrictions in place – just remember to check local laws beforehand.

For those seeking something more remote, there are countless forests and conservation areas teeming with potential game-ready for the taking while providing stunning views at every turn. No matter what type of hunter you may be, Massachusetts has got it all.

Public Hunting Places in Massachusetts

Beartown State Forest

Beartown State Forest is an ideal destination for hunters, with plenty of chances to bag any kind of game. The natural environment boasts a variety of wildlife like deer, turkey, grouse, and even bear. With over 11 thousand acres available for hunting, there’s no shortage of unexplored places to search out the perfect spot.

The diverse landscape in Beartown provides something for everyone – from wide-open meadows to dense woods you’ll find your desired habitat here. There are also several creeks and ponds that act as reliable water sources for animals roaming the area.

When it comes to being safe while hunting in Beartown remember: bears inhabit the forest! Ensure you take all necessary precautions such as wearing bright colors and making noise so as not to startle them unknowingly. This way you can enjoy your hunt safely without putting yourself at risk.

Erving State Forest

Erving State Forest in western Massachusetts is an absolute paradise for anyone hunting in Massachusetts. Covering over 2,000 acres of diverse terrain ranging from open fields to thick woodlands, this forest offers endless possibilities for hunters.

Here you can find white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bears, and ruffed grouse that thrive in the lush environment – making it a prime destination for experienced and new hunters alike.

The abundance of natural resources makes Erving State Forest perfect for bowhunting or rifle hunting – whichever style you prefer. Whether you’re looking to hone your skills or just take home some game meat at the end of the day – there are plenty of opportunities here to do so safely and responsibly with respect towards nature’s creatures.

Boxford State Forest

Boxford State Forest is located in the heart of Massachusetts, offering a multitude of hunting opportunities for all levels of experience. From white-tailed deer to woodcock and pheasant, there’s no shortage of game species available. Plus, small game like squirrels and rabbits are plentiful too!

The terrain varies from open fields to rolling hills as well as wetlands and dense forests – providing plenty of cover for wildlife while they’re being hunted.

Hunting season runs from October through December each year but be sure to check local regulations before heading out into the woods – that includes knowing what kind of weapon you can use plus how many animals you can take per day or season.

It’s important to remember that hunting is only allowed during designated times so don’t miss your chance at getting some trophies this fall.

Douglas State Forest

Spanning 5,000 acres of diverse terrain, Douglas State Forest offers something for everyone. From upland hardwood forests and fields to wetlands and rocky outcroppings, this Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation managed forest is teeming with wildlife.

Hunters flock here in the early morning hours for a chance at deer, turkey, grouse, rabbit, or squirrels. Waterfowl like ducks and geese also abound; however special permits are required prior to hunting these birds.

But it’s not just hunters that come to visit Douglas State Forest – there are plenty of activities for all outdoor enthusiasts! Hiking trails wind through the area while picnic areas provide scenic spots to relax with family and friends. Lakes nearby offer excellent fishing opportunities as well.

Salisbury Beach State Reservation

Situated in The Bay State, Salisbury Beach State Reservation is an adventurer’s paradise. From its diverse wildlife to its picturesque scenery, it offers something for hunters of all levels and disciplines. Whether you’re a novice or veteran hunter, there are plenty of opportunities here – from deer and turkey hunting to waterfowl and small game pursuits.

The land at Salisbury Beach is varied; with marshlands, open fields, wooded areas as well as beachfront access making it the perfect spot for a stealthy hunt. Deer can be found grazing on both grassland and forest floors while turkeys roam freely throughout the reservation – offering archers or gunners quite an interesting challenge.

Waterfowl such as ducks and geese congregate around wetlands, giving duck hunters ample opportunity to try their luck too! Smaller critters like rabbits & squirrels can also be spotted scurrying around adding up more chances for those aiming towards smaller targets.

Private Hunting Places in Massachusetts

There are plenty of private hunting places in Massachusetts. Make sure to follow all the rules and regulations of the private land.

Here’s what you need to know before hunting in Massachusetts. Get all the required permits and licenses, and familiarize yourself with any local ordinances or restrictions that may be applicable.

Research potential sites thoroughly – from wooded areas and wetlands to conservation areas – to find a suitable private hunting ground for your adventure. Pack the necessary gear like proper clothing and footwear as well as firearms or ammunition if needed; food and water will keep you energized throughout your hunt.