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Hunting Prohibitions

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  • Artificial lights for hunting any bird or mammal except raccoon and opossum.
  • Baiting migratory game birds, wild turkey, bear or deer. This does not apply to the hunting of crows.
  • Careless or negligent use of firearms.
  • Choke traps, leghold traps or nets for taking any bird or mammal.
  • Crossbows are allowed for certain disabled persons only (see Archery section of the General Hunting Regulations).
  • Decoys for hunting deer.
  • Discharge of any firearm or release of any arrow upon or across any state or hard-surfaced highway, or within 150 feet of any such highway, or possession of a loaded firearm, discharge of a firearm, or hunting on the land of another within 500 feet of any dwelling or building in use, except as authorized by the owner or occupant thereof. See Massachusetts Gun Laws for additional firearms regulations.
  • Electronic calls for hunting migratory game birds, wild turkey, or deer. This does not apply to the hunting of crows.
  • Ferreting: it is unlawful to hunt with a ferret. Possession of non-vaccinated/unneutered ferrets/fitches without a permit is unlawful.
  • Firearms other than shotguns and bows and arrows are prohibited on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant and quail season.
  • Hunting on posted land without permission.
  • Hunting on Sunday.
  • Importation, transportation, liberation or possession of any live vertebrate protected under MGL Ch. 131 except under permit from the Director.
  • It is illegal to import, process or possess whole carcasses or parts of any cervids (members of the deer family) from states or provinces where Chronic Wasting Disease has been detected. It is legal to import meat that is de-boned, cleaned skull caps, hides without the head, or a fixed taxidermy mount. No live deer, of any species, may be brought into Massachusetts for any purpose.
  • Intoxication and drugs: no person under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs shall hunt, target shoot, carry a firearm, bow and arrow, or other weapon.
  • Loaded shotgun or rifle in or on any motor vehicle, recreational vehicle (including snowmobiles), aircraft or motor boat, except as stated in the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations.
  • Machine guns, fully-automatic firearms, any tracer or incendiary ammunition for hunting.
  • Motor vehicles, recreational vehicles (including snowmobiles), and/or aircraft for hunting any bird or mammal.
  • Possession of any protected wildlife and/or wild plants, dead or alive, taken from the wild, except by permit.
  • Possession of rifles, handguns, or dogs in any woodland or field, or use of same on any game, is prohibited during the shotgun deer season except that the use of dogs is lawful for hunting waterfowl on coastal waters.
  • Power or sailboats for hunting birds except when beached or tied to a blind or for retrieving injured birds.
  • Removal of any mammal from walls, or holes in trees, ground, or logs.
  • Rifles chambered to take ammunition larger than .22 caliber long rifle rimfire,and pistols and revolvers chambered to take ammunition larger than .38 caliber, between the hours of ½ hour after sunset and ½ hour before sunrise.
  • Sale of all species of mammals and birds or parts thereof, except heads, hides and hooves of deer.
  • Shotgun ammunition: except as provided below, no species other than deer, coyote, or waterfowl may be hunted or taken with shot larger than #1 birdshot. Except during the prescribed open season when deer may be hunted lawfully with a shotgun, a person shall not have in his possession a shotgun shell loaded with a rifled slug, single ball, buckshot of any size, or any shot larger than or equal to air rifle shot in any place where birds or mammals may be found except on a skeet, trap, or target range between sunrise and sunset, or except for the hunting of coyotes (a) during the prescribed open season for coyotes with shot not larger than FF; or (b) during the shotgun deer season when coyotes may be hunted with archery, muzzleloader, or shotgun only—using slugs, buckshot, or shot of any size; or, except as specified in the annual Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations.
  • Swivel or pivot guns for hunting any bird.
  • Taking nests, destroying or disturbing eggs or nests of birds protected by law.
  • Target shooting on Sunday except on one’s own property or on a recognized trap, skeet or rifle range.
  • Traps for taking birds except under permit. All traps except cage or box traps and common mouse or rat traps are unlawful for the taking of fur-bearing mammals.
  • Vandalism or damage to property or livestock.

Penalties: License revoked for one year in addition to other penalties; fines of up to $1,000, restitutions, and /or 1 year in jail. Careless and negligent use of firearms; fines of up to $500 and /or 6 months imprisonment and loss of license for 5 years.

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