Wildlife Management Areas
1. DEFINITION. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) include:
(a) any property owned by MassWildlife, except installations (such as hatcheries and District offices); wildlife sanctuaries; and nature preserves;
(b) properties owned by another state agency, or a town or county, or by the Federal government, and operated as a WMA by MassWildlife under the terms of a lease, easement, or cooperative agreement; and
(c) properties owned by a partnership, corporation, firm, business, club, organization, or association and operated as a WMA by MassWildlife under the terms of a lease, easement, or cooperative agreement.
2. OTHER MassWildlife PROPERTIES. Statutes and regulations governing activities on other MassWildlife properties are addressed as follows:
(a) installations, by M.G.L. c. 131, § 59 and other provisions of the General Laws;
(b) wildlife sanctuaries, by M.G.L. c. 131, §§7-9 and 321 CMR 7.01;
(c) nature preserves, by M.G.L. c. 131, §§ 10A-10D and 321 CMR 11.00.
3. PRESUMPTION AND PERMISSIBLE ACTIVITIES. Wildlife management areas are established with the presumption that conservation includes the wise use of wildlife resources, including, where appropriate, protection, utilization, and management. In keeping with this idea, hunting, fishing, and trapping are allowed on WMAs in accordance with the WMA regulations, c. 131, and other provisions of law.
4. NAMED AREAS. MassWildlife periodically provides a list of "stocked" WMAs, by name and location, as well as location maps of most named areas. Smaller, unnamed areas may not be listed and may not be shown on maps for public distribution, but these areas are subject to the WMA regulations. The WMA regulations lists which appear in 321 CMR 3.01(1)(n) and (o) set forth certain stocked and non-stocked WMAs to which specific parts of the regulations (see below) apply.
5. FIELD TRIALS. Licensed field trials are allowed only by permit from MassWildlife and only on a few specific WMAs. See 321 CMR 2.01, and contact MassWildlife District offices for details.
(a) Alcoholic Beverages. Possession, use, or consumption of any alcoholic beverage on any WMA except with the written permission of the MassWildlife Director or his agent (e.g. in conjunction with a special event);
(b) Drugs. Possession, use, consumption, or cultivation of any controlled substance or counterfeit controlled substance on any WMA;
(c) Waste Disposal. Dumping, discarding, or causing the dumping or discarding of containers, papers, garbage, brush, stumps, leaves, tires, or other waste materials on any WMA;
(d) Removal of Vegetation. Removal, damage, or disturbance of vegetation, soil, or stones on any WMA without the permission of the MassWildlife Director or his agent. However, the harvesting for personal consumption of edible wild fruits, berries, fungi, or nuts is permitted if trees and shrubs are not damaged by this activity;
(e) Operation of Vehicles. Driving, operating, or possessing any motor vehicle, snow vehicle, or recreational vehicle (dirt bikes, ATVs, etc.) on any WMA, except for official purposes, and except on roads or trails officially maintained for the purpose of public vehicular traffic;
(f) Speeding. Driving a vehicle at excessive speed on roads within any WMA;
(g) Vandalism. Damaging, destroying, defacing, molesting, or removing any sign, fence, gate, building, structure, monument, or equipment on any WMA;
(h) Fires. Building or maintaining a fire on any WMA without the written permission of the MassWildlife Director and the city or town fire chief or the district fire warden;
(i) Camping. Camping on any WMA without the written permission of the MassWildlife Director or his agent. Permission is typically allowed only on rare occasions for group events such as Boy Scout camporees;
(j) Target Shooting. Target shooting or target practice on any WMA without the written permission of the MassWildlife Director or his agent. Permits are issued only for the target range at Martin Burns WMA. Contact Northeast Wildlife District. This restriction does not pertain to the use of firearms with blank cartridges for the purpose of dog training;
(k) Historical or Archaeological Artifacts. Digging, excavating, removing, or disturbing archaeological, paleontological, or historical artifacts, remains, ruins, sites, fossils, or other related objects, without written permission from the MassWildlife Director or his agent.
7. HUNTING IMPLEMENTS. During the pheasant and quail seasons, on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail, no person is allowed to hunt with any device other than shotgun or bow-and-arrow, except for the night hunting of raccoon and opossum (see #10 below). Outside the pheasant and quail seasons, or on non-stocked areas, the allowable hunting implements are as otherwise provided in law (see Plain Language Summaries for archery, handgun, rifle and shotgun).
8. HUNTING HOURS. During the pheasant and quail seasons, on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail, the hunting hours are from sunrise to sunset, except for the night hunting of raccoon and opossum (see #10 below). Outside the pheasant and quail seasons, or on non-stocked areas, the hunting hours are as specified in the regulations for the particular species being hunted.
9. HUNTER ORANGE. During the pheasant and quail seasons, on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail, no person shall hunt without wearing a "hunter orange" cap or hat. This requirement does not pertain to persons hunting waterfowl from within a blind or boat, or to persons hunting at night for raccoon or opossum. Hunter orange requirements for deer hunting are addressed in the deer hunting regulations.
10. RACCOON AND OPOSSUM HUNTING.
(a) on those non-stocked WMAs named in the WMA regulations, night hunting of raccoon and opossum is allowed from ½ hour after sunrise to ½ hour before sunset, in accordance with the raccoon hunting regulations (see regulations for "hunting and trapping of certain mammals");
(b) on those stocked WMAs named in the WMA regulations (and also on non-stocked areas not specified by name in the regulations), night hunting of raccoon and opossum is allowed from 9:00 P.M. to 3:00 A.M. during the period from the first Friday after Columbus Day to the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. During the season, but outside those dates, night hunting of raccoon and opossum is allowed from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise, in accordance with the raccoon hunting regulations.
11. SPECIAL REGULATIONS ON CERTAIN WMAs. There are special regulations in effect on certain WMAs, as follows:
(a) Delaney WMA (Stow, Harvard, and Bolton). Waterfowl hunting is by permit only; contact the MassWildlife Northeast District office. See 321 CMR 3.03(1).
(b) Martin H. Burns WMA (Newbury). There is a controlled hunt system in place for 6 specified peak days during the pheasant hunting season; contact the MassWildlife Northeast District office. See 321 CMR 3.03(2).
(c) Ludlow WMA (Ludlow). Waterfowl hunting is by permit, and other restrictions may apply; contact the MassWildlife Connecticut Valley District office. See 321 CMR 3.03(3).
(d) John J. Kelly WMA (Chester). Entrance into any caves or mines is prohibited without written permission; contact the MassWildlife Western District office. See 321 CMR 3.03(4).
(e) Westborough WMA (Westborough and Northborough). Riding or possession of horses or other equine animals is prohibited. See 321 CMR 3.03(5).
(f) Flint Pond WMA (Tyngsborough). Hunting or discharge of firearms is prohibited; contact the MassWildlife Northeast District office. See 321 CMR 3.03(6).
This is not the entire law and is subject to change. Refer to the Wildlife Management Area regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.01(1), and to M.G.L. c. 131, § 6 and other provisions of M.G.L. c. 131.
Effective Date: 2-19-10