In July 2007, the Fisheries & Wildlife Board passed changes in the coyote regulations.
- The coyote hunting season was expanded by 5 weeks. This expanded coyote hunting season will begin the first Saturday after Columbus Day and end on March 8 of the following year. For the 2007- 2008 season, the coyote season is open until March 8, 2008. The 2008-2009 hunting season will begin October 18, 2008 and end on March 7, 2009.
- It is now legal to hunt coyotes during the shotgun season for deer. Hunters must comply with regulations pertaining to shotgun deer season, such as: hunting hours (1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset), wearing blaze orange and using only shotguns, muzzleloaders, or archery equipment. Previously, only deer and waterfowl (on coastal waters) could be hunted during the shotgun season for deer.
Changes in Hunting Methods:
- The so-called "rifle ban" in the southeastern counties will no longer be issued. Hunters in those counties, as well as the rest of the state,will now be able to use rifles chambered equal to or larger than .22 caliber (including .17 caliber rifles), except as provided below:
- During the period from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise, (nighttime hours) rifles are restricted to those chambered not larger than .22 long rifle.
- Rifles of any kind may not be used on wildlife management areas stocked with pheasant or quail, during the pheasant and quail seasons.
- There have also been changes in the allowable shot sizes. For the purpose of hunting coyotes, hunters may use shotgun cartridges with shot sizes up to and including FF (.230 inches diameter). However, shot sizes larger than #1 birdshot may not be used for hunting other game birds or mammals (including fox and bobcat), except for waterfowl as provided in the annual Migratory Game Bird Abstracts . Also, in accordance with state law, cartridges loaded with slugs, single balls and buckshot may be used for hunting deer or coyotes only during the shotgun deer season.
- The furbearer checking requirements have been clarified. Any beaver, bobcat, coyote, fisher, fox, wild (not farm-raised) mink, or river otter killed must be taken to an official check station to be sealed by an agent of the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. Beaver, coyote, fisher, fox, mink, and otter must be sealed within 4 working days of the end of the season for the particular species. Any bobcat killed must be sealed within 4 working days from the date of harvest. Sealing is not required for muskrat, opossum, raccoon, skunk, or weasel.
Problem Animal Control (PAC) Regulations:
- Licensed PAC agents may now control problem coyotes, provided the PAC agent has successfully completed a MassWildlife training and certification program specifically pertaining to coyotes. PAC agents must also follow certain reporting requirements after taking or attempting to take a coyote. This provision will become effective in 2008 when the training program is developed.
- This provision is only effective if the coyote in question is causing property damage or is a public health and safety threat. As with all other wildlife, coyotes may not be destroyed simply due to their mere presence on a property.
- In the event that a coyote is determined to be causing property damage or to be a public health or safety threat, PAC agents will have to work with municipal police departments or animal control officers to determine what course of action is safe and appropriate for the circumstances.