Hunting, Freshwater Fishing & Trapping Licenses
Licenses are valid from January 1 through December 31 (except for limited term licenses). Licenses are issued by many city and town clerks, all DFW offices and other selected outlets. Licenses, stamps and permits may also be purchased on-line at www.mass.gov/masswildlife.
Licenses are required for all persons 15 years of age and over for hunting any bird or mammal; and/or for fishing the inland waters of Massachusetts. No freshwater (inland) fishing license is required on the Merrimack River seaward of the first upstream bridge (northbound traffic) of Route 495 in Haverhill.
A trapping license is required for persons 12 years and over.
Licenses must be shown on demand to any officer empowered to enforce these laws, and to landowners or lessees while on their property. Face of license must not be obscured.
NOTE: No adult may buy a hunting or sporting license unless (s)he shows the issuing agent any previous hunting or sporting license (from any state or province, any year) or a certificate of completion of a Basic Hunter Education Course issued by any state or province.
Minors 15–17 years of age must be licensed and have required stamps and permits to hunt any bird or mammal. To obtain a hunting or sporting license a minor must have a letter of consent from a parent or guardian, and either a Basic Hunter Education Certificate or a letter signed by a parent affirming that the minor will be accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older. Minors must carry their Hunter Education Certificate while hunting.
Minors between 12 and 14 inclusive may hunt when accompanied by a duly licensed adult, provided that a single bag limit shall be observed and only one firearm/bow is possessed by the two. Only one minor per adult is permitted. No Firearms Identification (FID) card is needed by the minor.
Minors 12–17 may obtain a trapping license. To obtain a trapping license a minor must have a letter of consent from a parent or guardian. To trap on the land of another, a minor must also have a trap registration number.
Residency Requirement: To obtain a resident license, applicant must reside in Massachusetts for six consecutive months immediately prior to purchase.
Nonresidents: A valid Massachusetts non-resident license (hunting, fishing and trapping) is required of non-residents. A big game license (license Class H5) is required to hunt deer, bear and wild turkey. For more information, see General Hunting Regulations.
Trap registration numbers may be obtained from the Permit Section, Boston Office (617) 626-1575 after completing a Trapper Education course.
A furbuyer is any person who buys or sells raw furs. A valid Massachusetts furbuyer license is required for any person who is receiving, buying, or bartering the raw pelts of wild animals. This includes persons handling green pelts (pelts which have not been dried or tanned) or raw pelts (pelts, including green pelts, which have been dried, fleshed or cured). A permit is not required if a skin or skins are purchased from a licensed furbuyer, hunter or trapper for the personal use of the purchaser and not for sale.
Licenses are valid from January 1 to December 31. Furbuyers receive a reporting book in which they must record transactions of pelts received as they occur. Log books must be open to inspection by Environmental Police Officers (EPOs) or any agents of the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (DFW) at any reasonable time.
Furbuyer annual report forms from record books must be initialed by an EPO and submitted yearly to the Division no later than April 1.
Applications for furbuyer licenses, or a listing of current furbuyers can be obtained by calling (617) 626-1575, or by writing the Boston office of the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
Special Licenses or Permits are necessary for possession or release of certain fish, baitfish, wildlife and for fur dealers, propagators, wildlife rehabilitators, taxidermists, and/or fur buyers. Apply to the DFW Boston office, Permit Section (617) 626-1575. Contact Field Headquarters in Westborough (508) 389-6300 about permits for crossbows, falconry, problem animal control, or shooting preserves.
Agricultural Landowners: If you own or lease land that is principally used for agriculture and you are domiciled on said land, then you do not need a basic hunting, fishing or trapping license to hunt, fish or trap on that land. Permits and stamps are still required.
Antlerless Deer Permit is required to take antlerless deer during shotgun, archery, and muzzleloader seasons statewide. The application for this permit is on the hunting/sporting license. Online license buyers may apply for these permits online. DO NOT send fee with application. Selection is by random drawing. Applications must be submitted by July 16. Successful applicants will be notified and assessed a $5.00 fee. Additional permits, if available after drawing, will be issued until the overall quota for each zone is reached. Check website for details. Applicants must have original hunting license and $5.00 fee for each permit requested. Permits for Zones 13 and 14 may also be requested by mail from the Westborough office or at check stations on each island.
Bear Permit: Application is on the duplicate slip of hunting/sporting license. The $5.00 fee must accompany each completed application. Online license buyers may apply for this permit online. Submit application by July 16 to ensure timely processing.
Turkey Permit: Application is on the duplicate slip of hunting /sporting license. Online license buyers may apply for these permits online. Apply by March 15 for spring season; September 15 for fall season to ensure entry in the permit system. The $5.00 fee must accompany the application. One fee covers both seasons.
Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.): Woodcock, rail, coot, snipe, and waterfowl hunters must have a current Massachusetts Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) number. Hunter must purchase a hunting/sporting license prior to requesting an HIP number. The Harvest Information Program 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. This number can be obtained annually by calling 1-800-WETLAND, and completing a brief survey. On-line license buyers may apply for these numbers on-line. There is no charge for the numbers. A separate H.I.P. number is required for each state in which you hunt and for each calendar year.
Archery: ($5.10), required to hunt deer during the archery season Oct. 17—Nov. 26.
Primitive Firearms: ($5.10), required to hunt deer during the primitive firearms season Dec. 12–31.
Massachusetts Waterfowl: ($5.00), required of all waterfowl hunters aged 15 and over. Stamp is not required for hunting woodcock, snipe, American coot or rails.
Federal Migratory Game Bird: In addition to a hunting license and a Massachusetts Waterfowl Stamp, any waterfowl hunter aged 16 or older, must have a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp. These stamps are available at National Wildlife Refuges, at selected offices of the U.S. Postal service or by mail from the U.S. Postal Service, from selected private vendors, or on-line .