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This is the 2015 Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Guide

This guide contains regulations effective today through December 31st, 2015.  For regulations effective January 1st, 2016, please refer to the 2016 Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Guide.

Upland Game Birds

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Open season
(All Dates Inclusive)

Daily BAG limit

possession limit

season limit


Wild Turkey

Spring: Zones 1–13

April 27 – May 23

See “Wild Turkey“.

Fall: Zones 1–13

Oct. 19 – Oct. 31

Youth Hunt: Zones 1-13

April 25 (special restrictions apply**)


Jan. 1 – April 10
July 1 – April 9, 2016


Oct. 17 – Nov. 28




Youth Hunt

See Outdoor Skills & Wildlife Education Programs.


Zones 11–14

Oct. 17 – Nov. 28




Ruffed Grouse

Oct. 17 – Nov. 28




Upland game bird hunting is closed during shotgun deer season.

* Migratory game birds (includes waterfowl, woodcock, snipe, rails): Seasons set annually. see Migratory Game Bird Abstract posted in late August.

** Must have completed the youth turkey hunt program (Outdoor Skills & Wildlife Education Programs). All past participants MUST complete and mail in the past participant application which can be found at


May be hunted on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays only during the open season. Electronic calls, rifles, and bait are permissible. Hunting hours close ½ hour after sunset except as noted in WMA Reg. #10 (see General Hunting Regulations).


Cocks and hens may be hunted on all WMAs statewide. Only cocks can be hunted eastward of the zone from the New Hampshire border south on I-95 to I-495, south on I-495 to I-95, north on I-95 to I-93/128, east on I-93/128 to Rt. 3, south on Rt. 3 to Rt. 228, north on Rt. 228 to the Hull town line, including the town of Hull and also in Dukes and Nantucket counties. See WMA Reg. #10 (General Hunting Regulations).


Zones 11–14 only (see Wildlife Management Area Regulations). See WMA Reg. #10 (page General Hunting Regulations).

Ruffed Grouse

See WMA Reg. #10 (General Hunting Regulations).


Licensed hunters may submit an application to DFW District offices for a free 1 day permit that allows the private purchase, liberation, and hunting of ring-necked pheasants and/or bobwhite quail on selected WMAs (see list below) from January 1–March 31. If purchasing birds from out of state, a separate importation permit is required. Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis; only one party may schedule a hunt on each specific WMA per day. There is no minimum or maximum stocking limit, or daily/season bag limit. For a complete list of procedures and locations available for this permit, contact any DFW District office.

Crane WMA, Southeast District

Erwin Wilder WMA, Southeast District

Martin Burns WMA, Northeast District

Bolton Flats WMA, Central District

Winnimusset WMA, Central District

Herm Covey WMA, CT Valley District

Housatonic Valley WMA, Western District


ALL migratory game bird hunters must complete a Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) Survey for each calendar year. This includes woodcock, rail, snipe, and coot hunters. Complete the survey when you purchase your license, or when you purchase your state waterfowl stamp. H.I.P. numbers will no longer be issued; instead, a “waterfowl stamp” or a “H.I.P. Survey Completed” notation will appear directly on your license. A separate H.I.P. survey must be completed for each state in which you hunt migratory game birds.

Migratory Game Bird Hunting regulations do not appear in this publication. They are published separately on the website in August and as a hard copy in September.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt Dates

Two days are set aside prior to the waterfowl hunting seasons for young hunters ages 12–15. All youth hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter with a valid Massachusetts waterfowl stamp. The young hunter and accompanying adult may have only one firearm between them. The adult may not hunt and may carry the firearm only when it is unloaded and cased. No license or stamp needed for youths ages 12–14. License and Massachusetts waterfowl stamp needed for youths age 15. No federal stamp required. All other hunting regulations apply.

Waterfowl Consumption Advisory

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has issued a waterfowl consumption advisory for the Housatonic River due to PCBs. For more information call the MDPH at (617) 624-5757 or visit

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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