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Upland Game Birds

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Open Season
(All Dates Inclusive)

Daily Bag Limit

Possession Limit

Season Limit


Jan. 1 – Apr. 9
Jul. 1 – Apr. 10, 2012


Oct. 15 – Nov. 26




Youth Hunt

See Youth
Pheasant Hunt


Oct. 15 – Nov. 26




Ruffed Grouse

Oct. 15 – Nov. 26




Wild Turkey

Spring: Zones 1–13

Apr. 25 – May 21

See “Wild Turkey,” below.

Fall: Zones 1–9; 13

Oct. 31 – Nov. 5

Youth Hunt: Zones 1-13

April 23 (special restrictions apply**)

Upland game bird hunting is closed during shotgun deer season.

* Migratory game birds (includes waterfowl, woodcock, snipe, rails): Seasons set annually. see Migratory Bird Abstracts.

** Must have completed the youth turkey hunt program.


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.


Zone from the New Hampshire border south on I-95 to I-495 south to I-95, north on I-95 to I-93/128, east on I-93/128 to Rte. 3, south on Rte. 3 to Rte. 228, north on 228 to the Hull town line. Cocks and hens may be hunted west of the zone line and on all WMAs. Cocks only may be hunted east of the zone line including Hull and in Dukes and Nantucket counties. See WMA Reg. #10.


Zones 11–14 only. See WMA Reg. #10.

Ruffed Grouse

See WMA Reg. #10.

Wild Turkey

Permit required. Official safety sticker must be adhered to firearm in such a manner as to be visible when hunter is sighting down the barrel. If new or replacement sticker is needed, send self-addressed stamped envelope to DFW’s Field Headquarters office. Spring hunting hours: ½ hour before sunrise to 12:00 noon. Fall hunting hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset except as noted in WMA Reg. #10.

Bag limit: (a) 2 bearded birds in spring season (1 per day) with NO fall bird allowed, OR (b) 1 bearded bird in spring season, and 1 bird of either sex in fall season. No hunter may take 2 birds in the fall season. Hunting only with shotguns no larger than 10 gauge (.775 caliber for smoothbore muzzleloaders) and restricted to shot sizes #4–#6, or with bows 40 lbs. pull or greater. Electronic calls, dogs, bait, driving prohibited. Successful hunters must tag bird immediately (with tag attached to license) and check the bird within 48 hours.


Waterfowl Consumption Advisory

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

Special Upland Bird Hunting Option

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 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 associated with this permit, contact a DFW district office. WMAs currently designated for hunting under this special permit are:

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

Migratory Bird Regulations

A 2011 Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) number is required for ALL migratory bird hunters for each calendar year. This includes woodcock, rail, snipe and coot hunters. The number is valid for the entire calendar year in Massachusetts and is free. You need a hunting license in order to receive an H.I.P. number. A separate H.I.P. number is required for each state in which you hunt migratory game birds and a separate number is required for each calendar year.

In Massachusetts, call:
1-800-WETLAND (1-800-938-5263) or receive a Massachusetts H.I.P. number when you purchase a state duck stamp online.

Migratory Game Bird Hunting regulations are published separately in September.

Differentiating hens (females) from Toms (males) during the spring hunting season: Up to 8% of female turkeys may have a beard and may be legally harvested. However, their loss reduces the reproductive potential of the turkey population. To avoid misidentification, use the following features to positively identify a gobbler from a hen.


turkey_Tom Turkeys display V4_by Bill Byrne_Tiff.tif

Hen turkeys_SUBSTITUTION p37 top right_9089.tif




Red, blue, or white colors with snood


Blue-gray, no snood

Dark, brown-black


Light, rusty brown

Long bristle/filament like beard


Usually no beard



Usually absent

Gobble, drum


Yelps, clucks, cuts

Strut with tail fan and wing drop


Do not strut

Larger than hen


1⁄2 to 2⁄3 size of gobbler

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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