Fish & Wildlife Statutes & Regulations

These are the primary statutes relating to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. (MGL Chapter 131 and 131A)

  • Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) - The primary regulations relating to the jurisdiction of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
  • Public Meetings - A link to a schedule of Fisheries and Wildlife Board’s  public meetings and hearings which are part of the regulatory process. Check this area for any proposed regulation changes.

Fishing, Hunting & Trapping Laws

  • 2017 Guide to Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, and Trapping Laws
  • Seasons Summary 2017  pdf format of Seasons Summary 2017
file size 1MB - A convenient summary of the hunting, fishing and trapping season dates for the year.
  • 2016-17 Migratory Game Bird Regulations pdf format of 2015-16 Waterfowl Regs
file size 1MB  This publication contains the hunting seasons and bag limits for migratory game birds (woodcock, ducks, geese, snipe, coot, and rails). These regulations are set annually by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board.
  • Wildlife Management Areas (WMA)– These wildlife lands are owned and managed by MassWildlife and are open to public recreation including fishing, hunting and trapping. Hunters should note that in WMAs there are differences in hunting hours, blaze orange, and hunting implement requirements in these locations. For other outdoor users, note restrictions certain activities on these properties.
  • Plain Language Summaries - These are a series of clearly written summaries of the hunting and trapping laws, explaining season dates, bag limits, legal implements, hunting hours, restrictions and other important information.

Endangered Species

  • Mass. Endangered Species Act (MESA) and Promulgated RegulationsChapter 131A is the statute establishing MESA.  321 CMR 10.00 are the promulgated under the authority of MESA.
  • Endangered Species and Wetlands Regulatory Review - Laws and processes relating to the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, Wetlands Protection Act and other related activities that involve development projects.
  • Regulatory Maps: Priority & Estimated Habitats - Priority and Estimated Habitat maps are used for determining whether or not a proposed project must be reviewed by the NHESP for MESA and WPA compliance and can be found in the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Atlas (13th Edition).
  • Northern Long-eared Bat - Due to severe population declines, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed the Northern Long-eared Bat in April 2015. To assist project proponents in complying with the 4(d) rule, the NHESP is providing a map for known locations of winter hibernacula and maternity roost trees. 

Other Fish & Wildlife Laws

  • Animal Damage - Explains the law regarding landowner options when damage is caused by wildlife.
  • Wildlife as Pets - Answers questions about what wildlife permits are needed for certain kinds of captive/exotic wildlife and who is eligible for those permits.
  • Landowner Liability - Any landowner permitting use of his or her property for recreation without charging a fee is not liable for injuries to recreational users or their property except in cases of willful, wanton or reckless conduct by the owner. (M.G.L. Ch. 21,S 17C.) This is an external link to the actual statute language.
  • Related Regulations – Other fish and wildlife laws or regulations which cover commonly asked questions.

Reporting Violations

Need to report a hunting, fishing or trapping violation? 

Contact the Massachusetts Environmental Police Radio Room at 1-800-632-8075 at any hour of the day. The Environmental Police are the officers with the authority and expertise in fish and wildlife law as well as boating, recreational vehicle and other environmental laws.