Be Safe, Be Seen! Park Visitors are encouraged to wear either a blaze orange hat or vest OR brightly-colored clothing to increase their visibility.  

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) allows hunting throughout the year at many DCR facilities outside of the greater Boston metropolitan area, with special restrictions for some locations.  

Please see below a list of places where hunting is allowed within DCR facilities and read through for any special restrictions.   As a precaution, before you travel, it is advisable to call the facility ahead of time to check on any special hunting announcements or changes to hunting guidelines.  

In addition, hunting is subject to the rules and regulations of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), which is the primary agency that oversees the state hunting program.   

While most hunting occurs between October 1 and February 28, the most intensive hunting activity occurs during deer season.  In general, deer season is:

Archery: Mid- October - first Saturday after Thanksgiving
Shotgun: First Monday after Thanksgiving - third Saturday in December
Muzzle Loader: Third Monday in December - December 31

 

Please note the following general hunting rules:

  • Hunting is not allowed on Sundays.
  • No person may hunt, trap, or discharge a firearm within 500 feet of the border of a
    DCR-designated campsite or camping structure, including those along the
    Appalachian Trail.
  • No person may hunt or shoot at any wildlife within 500 feet of any DCR-designated picnic area, camping area, residence, service building, parking lot, camping structure,
    or designated swimming area.
  • No person may install a permanent tree stand on DCR property. A permanent tree
    stand is defined as a type of hunting platform or structure (emplaced for any period
    of time) fastened to a tree by nails, bolts, wire, or other fasteners that
    intrude through the bark into the wood of the tree, or fastened or erected in
    any manner and emplaced for a period exceeding 30 days.
  • Hunting hours (generally) are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, with the following exceptions: waterfowl hunting are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, and coyotes and foxes can be hunted at night until midnight.  Please note, for Wildlife Management Areas managed by MassWildlife, hunting hours are sunrise to sunset.
  • Hunting waterfowl on the coast is permitted on DCR property in the “intertidal zone” (the lands between the high and low water marks.)
  • Hunting is prohibited on DCR properties in the metropolitan Boston area or in the Arthur Warton Swann State Forest located in Monterey.  Please see below for a complete list of DCR properties where hunting is prohibited.
  • A few state parks and forests have restrictions on what can be hunted at an individual park, as well as on where and when hunting is allowed.  See the listing below for more specific information.  As noted above, for those state parks and forests that have hunting restrictions, please contact the park staff directly for specific information the restrictions.     

 

Additional Hunting Information:

For more information on Hunting Rules and Regulations in State Parks please visit:  http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/inside-our-agency/agency-regulations/ and refer to 304 CMR 12.00 Forest and Parks Rules State Parks.  

More detailed information on hunting at: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/laws-regulations/  

For more information on Hunting Guidelines and for detailed reservation and hunting guidelines please refer to Section 640, chapter 151, Acts of 1996 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

Should you have further hunting related questions, please email mass.wildlife@state.ma.us or call 508-389-6300 during normal business hours.  

Violations of hunting laws can be reported to the Environmental Police 24 hours a day at 1-800-632-8075.

 

The following DCR-MassParks properties are open to hunting:

 

Western Massachusetts 

Bash Bish Falls State Park, Mt. Washington 

Beartown State Forest, Monterey

Catamount State Forest, Colrain

Chester-Blandford State Forest, Chester

Clarksburg State Forest, Clarksburg

Conway State Forest, Williamsburg 

Cookson State Forest, New Marlborough

Deer Hill State Reservation, Worthington

Dubuque, Kenneth Memorial State Forest, Hawley 

Fountain Pond State Park, Great Barrington

Gill Bliss State Forest, Cummington

Granville State Forest, Granville

H.O. Cook State Forest, Colrain

Huntington State Forest, Huntington

Jug End State Reserve and Wildlife Management Area, Egremont

Leyden State Forest, Leyden

Middlefield State Forest, Middlefield

Monroe State Forest, Monroe

Mohawk Trail State Forest, Charlemont

Mt. Greylock State Reservation, Lanesborough  *(see restrictions below)

Mt. Holyoke Range State Park, Amherst 

Mt. Washington State Forest, Mt. Washington *(see restrictions below)

October Mountain State Forest, Lee, Lenox, Becket, Washington

Peru State Forest, Peru

Pittsfield State Forest, Pittsfield

Sandisfield State Forest (York Lake), Sandisfield

Savoy Mountain State Forest, Florida

Shelburne State Forest, Shelburne Falls

Taconic Trail State Park, Williamstown

Tolland State Forest, Otis

Windsor State Forest, Windsor

 

Southeastern Massachusetts

F. Gilbert Hills State Forest, Foxborough

Freetown-Fall River State Forest, Freetown

Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, Martha’s Vineyard

Massasoit State Park, Taunton

Myles Standish State Forest, Carver

Scusset Beach State Reservation, Sandwich

Shawme-Crowell State Forest, Sandwich

South Cape Beach State Park, Mashpee

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Falmouth

Wompatuck State Park, Hingham * (see restrictions below)

 

Central Massachusetts

Ashburnham State Forest, Ashburnham

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, Uxbridge

Brimfield State Forest, Brimfield

Douglas State Forest, Douglas

Dunn Pond State Park, Gardner

Erving State Forest, Erving

Federated Women's Club State Forest, Petersham * (see restrictions below)

Hubbardston State Forest, Hubbardston

J. Harry Rich State Forest, Groton

Lake Dennison Recreation Area, Winchendon

Lancaster State Forest, Lancaster

Lawton State Forest, Athol

Leominster State Forest, Westminster

Moore State Park, Paxton

Montague State Forest, Montague

Mt. Grace State Forest, Warwick

Northfield State Forest, Northfield

Otter River State Forest, Baldwinville

Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend

Petersham State Forest, Petersham

Royalston State Forest, Royalston

Rutland State Park, Rutland

Shutesbury State Forest, Shutesbury

Spencer State Forest, Spencer

Streeter Point Recreation Area, Sturbridge

Sutton State Forest, Sutton

Templeton State Forest, Templeton

Townsend State Forest, Townsend

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, Princeton

Warwick State Forest, Warwick

Wendell State Forest, Wendell

Westminster State Forest, Westminster

Willard Brook State Forest, Ashby

Winchendon State Forest, Winchendon

 

Northeastern Massachusetts

Boxford State Forest, Boxford

Georgetown-Rowley State Forest, Georgetown

Harold Parker State Forest, North Andover *(see restrictions below)

Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest *(see restrictions below)

Prospect Hill, Rowley *(see restrictions below)

Ross Flood Control Site PL 566, Berlin   

Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Salisbury

Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich

Willowdale State Forest, Ipswich *(see restrictions below)

 

DCR Properties Having Specific Areas with Hunting Restrictions

Boston Harbor Islands State Park System: No firearm discharge is allowed toward the island from a boat.  No hunting is allowed on the islands above the high tide line; however, hunting on the islands is allowed in the intertidal zone (between the low and high tide line.)  Discharge of a firearm  must be directed away from the island, toward the water.  Hunters may land their boat at the high tide line only to retrieve their game. No hunting or discharging of a firearm is allowed 500 feet or less from a picnic area, campsite, or DCR building.

Charles River State Reservation/Medfield State Hospital, Medfield: Hunting is prohibited north and east of Route 27, except for bow and primitive arms, which are allowed on the parcel bounded on the northwest by the Charles River, on the northeast by the Conrail tracks, and on the south by Route 27/Hospital Road (excluding the cemetery.)

Federation of Womens Clubs State Forest, Petersham: The following area is closed to hunting: Beginning at a stake on the northerly side of the Dana-Petersham Road, said stake being the most westerly point of the area to be described, thence following said Dana-Petersham Road in an easterly and southeasterly direction for a distance of
3,500 feet more or less, to a stone bound; thence S 81 21' E 831.77' to a stone bound; thence N 4 13' E 757.73' along a fence to an angle in said fence; thence N 60 13' E 702.33' along said fence to a junction of fences; thence N 83 50' W 436' to a corner of fences; thence N 4 20' E 1772' along a fence and stone wall to an iron pin; thence N 86 10' W 1420' to a stake; thence S 50 50' W to the point of beginning. Containing 140 acres.   

Harold Parker State Forest, Andover: Hunting is prohibited in all portions of Harold Parker State Forest in the Town of Andover, west of Jenkins Road.

Mt. Greylock State Reservation: Hunting is prohibited within a radius of three-quarters of a mile from the Mount Greylock summit, the area designated by statute as the War Memorial Park. In addition, hunting is prohibited from May 20 to the day observed by the Commonwealth as Columbus Day.

Mt. Washington State Forest, Mt. Washington: The area known as the former “Intemann Property” is closed to hunting.  

Willowdale State Forest, Ipswich-Topsfield:
Hunting is closed east of U.S. Highway Route 1.

Lowell Dracut State Forest, Lowell: Hunting is prohibited on the 150 acres included in the Native American permit area .

Wompatuck State Park: Hunting is prohibited in all areas of the park with the exception of the portion of the park known as the “South Group,” which is located west of Union Street/Mt. Blue Street, south of the Aaron River, and includes the area known as “Prospect Hill.” Other restrictions at Wompatuck State Park: (1) Deer hunting is prohibited and (2) No person may use any weapon other than a shotgun or bow and arrow for the purpose of taking game, with the exception that for the purpose of raccoon hunting, the firearms regulations of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife  (http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/laws-regulations/) shall apply.

Prospect Hill, Rowley: Hunting is allowed by archery equipment only.

 

DCR Watershed Property Hunting Restrictions

Quabbin Reservoir Watershed

Quabbin Reservation (DCR watershed property within Routes 9, 202, 122 and 32A):  
Hunting and trapping activities are prohibited within Quabbin Park, Quabbin Reservation, and Quabbin Reservoir and ponds, with exceptions made for watershed management activities including the Controlled Deer Management Program and the State Paraplegic hunt. The Quabbin Deer Hunt is by permit only.  Interested parties may apply for a permit between July 1 and August 15.  Permit applications are available online on the DCR website at: www.mass.gov/dcr/deerhunt  or at the Quabbin Visitor Center and MassWildlife District offices.  The application is for two to six people; winners are drawn by lottery in early September.  Call 413-323-7221 for more information.

Quabbin Off-Reservation (DCR watershed property outside of Routes 9, 202, 122 and 32A, generally north and west of Route 202 in New Salem, Shutesbury, and Wendell):
Hunting of all species is allowed, without any special permits, subject to all DCR public access rules (www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/watersupply/watershed/quabbinaccesssummary.pdf) and state hunting regulations (www.eregulations.com/massachusetts/huntingandfishing).  

Ware River Watershed
Hunting of all species is allowed on DCR watershed property in the Ware River Watershed – except in the Restricted Area of the Ware River Intake – in accordance with DCR’s general public access policies for the Ware River Watershed and subject to all state hunting regulations (www.eregulations.com/massachusetts/huntingandfishing).  Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Management Areas within the Ware River watershed have specific restrictions; see www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/laws-regulations/plain-lang-sum/wildlife-management-areas.html.

The following guidelines minimize the potential risk of the spread of disease and possible water contamination in this drinking water supply watershed:
No animal baiting is allowed.
Washing your hands or animals in streams or ponds is prohibited.
No animal parts may be disposed of within 100’ of wetlands, streams, brooks, ponds or other water bodies.
Use portable toilets.
Field dressing only allowed at least 100' away from wetlands, streams, brooks, ponds, or other water bodies.
All other applicable state, local, and federal rules and regulations apply.

Wachusett Reservoir Watershed   
Hunting of all species on Wachusett Reservoir watershed property is allowed by special permit only in the Tributary Headwaters Protection Zone .  This zone, encompassing DCR watershed property west of I-190, is established by the Wachusett Reservoir Watershed Public Access Plan.  The permit application is found online at www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/watersupply/watershed/wachhunt.pdf. Permits are free. Completed permits should be returned to DCR at 180 Beaman St., West Boylston, MA 01583.  For additional info, call DCR Watershed Rangers at 978-365-3800.  Permit holders must possess a valid Massachusetts Hunting or Sporting License while hunting. All other state hunting regulations apply; visit www.eregulations.com/massachusetts/huntingandfishing for more information.

Sudbury Reservoir Watershed
There is no hunting allowed on DCR watershed property in the Sudbury Reservoir watershed.