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Bobcat hunting regulations

Before you go hunting for bobcat, be sure you know the rules. This page contains regulations for hunting bobcat in Massachusetts.

2021 hunting season dates
Zones 1–8: Jan. 1 – March 8, 2021 and Dec. 20, 2021 – March 8, 2022

All dates inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays. Bobcat hunting season closed during the shotgun deer season.

Table of Contents

Hunting hours

Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end ½ hour after sunset.

Click here for a sunrise/sunset table.

Required licenses and permits

To hunt bobcats in Massachusetts you must have a license, which you can buy through MassFishHunt. No permits are required.

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or sporting license


  • Small game or big game license

Bag limits


Hunting zones

Wildlife Management Zones 1-8

Hunting implements

Shotguns: Only shot size up to #1 birdshot (pellet diameter equal to or less than 0.160 inches) can be used.

Archery equipment: Archery tackle is legal, with no minimum pull. Crossbows may only be used by permit. Poisoned arrows, explosive tips, and bows drawn by mechanical means are prohibited.

Rifles and handguns: There are no restrictions on caliber size for rifles or handguns.

Muzzleloaders: Smooth bore muzzleloaders: Only shot size up to #1 birdshot (pellet diameter equal to or less than 0.160 inches) can be used. Rifled bore muzzleloaders: no restrictions on caliber size.

Hunting methods

Legal methods:

  • Electronic calls
  • Manual calls
  • Decoys
  • Bait


  • Use of dogs
  • Wanton waste (as of 7/20): It is unlawful for hunters to intentionally or knowingly leave a wounded or dead game animal in the field or the forest without making a reasonable effort to retrieve and use it. Each retrieved animal shall be retained or transferred to another until processed or used for food, pelt, feathers, or taxidermy. This does not apply to animals unfit for consumption or use—animals and their parts that are damaged, destroyed, decayed, rotting, diseased, or infected.


Blaze orange requirements

When hunting on a pheasant or quail stocked WMA during the pheasant/quail season, a blaze orange cap is required. 

Tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements

  • Bobcats cannot be reported online. Report at an official furbearer check station.
  • You must report your bobcat harvest within 4 working days of the end of the season.
  • Seals must remain attached to the pelt/carcass until the pelt/carcass is prepared for mounting by a taxidermist or the pelt is sold or tanned.

Hunting season framework

December 20 – March 8 of the following year.

Bobcat hunting regulations

This page is to be used as a reference, it is not the entire law and is subject to change. You can refer to the fox, coyote, and bobcat hunting regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.02(3) and to several provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131 for more information about bobcat hunting laws and regulations.