1. SEASON DATES: The open season is divided into two time periods. The first period begins on the day after Labor Day and ends on the 3rd Saturday thereafter, for a total of 17 days. The second period begins on the 1st Monday in November and ends on the 3rd Saturday thereafter, for a total of 18 days.
2. ZONE: The season is open only in wildlife management zones 01 through 09.
3. HUNTING HOURS: The hunting hours begin at ½ hour before sunrise and continue until ½ hour after sunset.
4. BAG LIMIT: The season bag limit is one black bear per calendar year. A person may kill a bear of any sex or any size.
5. LICENSES AND PERMITS: A resident of Massachusetts needs a resident hunting or sporting license to hunt black bear. A non-resident hunter needs a non-resident big game license. In addition, all bear hunters need a black bear hunting permit, for which there is an additional fee. The permit must be carried on the person at all times while hunting bear and must be shown on demand to a law enforcement officer or check station official.
6. BEAR TAG: There is a "bear tag" attached to the bear permit. Upon killing a bear, the hunter must immediately fill out the "bear tag", and must detach it from the permit and attach it to the bear in a conspicuous manner. The tag must remain attached to the bear until the bear is presented to an official check station, at which time the official in charge of the station will remove the tag. Tags which are detached except as provided herein are void and may be confiscated by a law enforcement officer.
7. CHECK STATIONS: Within 48 hours after killing a black bear, the entire carcass (the animal may be field-dressed) must be presented to an official check station, by the person who killed the bear. At this time, the bear will be recorded and examined for research purposes, and the check station official may remove a tooth from the bear. If lawfully taken, the official will remove the paper tag and affix a locking metal seal. The metal seal must remain on the bear until it is skinned or cut up or otherwise prepared for food purposes or for mounting by a taxidermist. Seals are non-transferable.
8. TRANSPORTATION: The carcass (or a part of it) of a black bear shall not be transported or under a person's control in a motor vehicle unless the bear is open to view. However, after the bear has been checked at an official check station and an official metal seal affixed, the bear no longer need be open to view.
9. HUNTING IMPLEMENTS:
During the September period of the open season, black bears may be hunted by the following means: (1) a centerfire rifle .23 caliber or larger; (2) a muzzle-loading firearm, .44 to .775 caliber, fired from the shoulder, using a single projectile, (3) a .357 Magnum revolver using .357 Magnum cartridges, or a revolver .40 caliber or larger; or (4) a bow and arrows, 40 lbs. at 28" draw or at peak draw for compound bows, using well-sharpened steel broadhead blades not less than 7/8 in. width.
During the November period of the open season, black bears may be hunted by the following means: (1) a centerfire rifle .23 caliber or larger; (2) a muzzle-loading firearm, .44 to .775 caliber, fired from the shoulder, using a single projectile, or (3) a bow and arrows, 40 lbs. at 28" draw or at peak draw for compound bows, using well-sharpened steel broadhead blades not less than 7/8 in. width.
(a) trapping bear, or setting, placing, and tending traps for the purpose of taking bear;
(b) baiting bear, or the placing of bait for the purpose of taking bear or attracting them to a place where they may be hunted;
(c) hunting or pursuing bear with dogs, including the training of bear hounds on bear during the closed hunting season, except by special permit for bona-fide
research or damage situations;
(d) hunting bear with a shotgun, and the possession of shotgun cartridges loaded with slug or buckshot while hunting bear;
(e) taking black bear alive, or possession of a live black bear;
(f) sale of a black bear, or any parts thereof, including, but not restricted to, the hide, claws, and galls.
This is not the complete law, and is subject to change. Refer to the Black Bear hunting regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.02(1), as well as to M.G.L. c. 131, §§ 5 and 21A, and other provisions of the General Laws.
Last Revised: 10-21-05.