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Bear

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Open season
(All Dates Inclusive)

Daily BAG limit

possession limit

Annual Limit

Black Bear

Zones 1-14

First Season

Sept. 6 – Sept. 24

See “Black Bear,” below.

1

Second Season

Nov. 7 – Nov. 26

Shotgun Season (restrictions apply*)

Nov. 28 – Dec. 10

*Hunters must wear 500 square inches of hunter orange on their head, chest and back. Rifles and handguns prohibited.

BLACK Bear

Permit required (see Licenses, Stamps & Permits). Limit one bear per year. Hunting only with rifle .23 caliber or larger; muzzleloader .44–.775 caliber, fired from the shoulder, using a single projectile; bows, draw weight 40 lbs. or greater; revolvers .357 Magnum or .40 caliber or larger; or shotgun, no larger than 10 gauge, including shotguns with a rifled bore, slugs or single ball only. Hunting implements are restricted by season, see table below. Revolvers permitted during first season only, shotguns permitted during shotgun season only. Use of dogs for training or hunting is prohibited (see Hunting Dogs on page General Hunting Regulations). Baiting of bears is prohibited. During the shotgun season hunters must wear 500 square inches of hunter orange on their head, chest, and back; rifles and handguns are prohibited; shotguns, muzzleloaders, and archery equipment allowed. Hunting hours close ½ hour after sunset except as noted in WMA Reg. #10 (Wildlife Management Area Regulations). Successful hunters must immediately fill out and detach bear tag from permit and attach tag to bear prior to moving it, and then must check/report their harvest within 48 hours by EITHER 1) reporting online and writing the harvest report confirmation number on tag attached to the bear (see Massachusetts Gun Laws for details), or 2) bringing the bear to an official check station. Bear can only be field dressed, must not be concealed (bear or part of bear must remain open to view during transport), and must remain intact or whole (do not skin, butcher, or take to a taxidermist for mounting) until it has been checked/reported.

How Old is That Bear?

MassWildlife collects bear teeth to determine the age structure of the harvest. Contribute to the scientific management of the MA Black Bear population! Follow the instructions below and you will receive a letter in June or July with the age of your harvested bear.

  1. Remove either the left or right premolar (see photo), the small tooth just behind the canine. Using a small sharp knife, or a sharp ¼-inch wood chisel, slide the blade down the side of the tooth and cut or separate the gum tissue where it sticks to the tooth. Using small needle-nose pliers or the pliers on your multi-tool, wiggle the tooth slightly until you can pull it out of the jawbone and the gum. The root is the most important part; go slow and be careful not to break this very small tooth.
  2. Put the tooth in a small envelope or bag and mark it with your name, mailing address, customer ID number, and confirmation number (or seal number) of your bear. Enclose everything in a regular mailing envelope and send it to: Black Bear Aging, MA DFW, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd., Westborough, MA 01581.

Allowable Hunting Implements for Bear Seasons

Hunting Implement

First Season

Second Season

Shotgun Season

Rifle*

Revolver

Muzzleloader*

Archery

Shotgun

*Except on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during pheasant or quail season.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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