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Fox hunting regulations

Before you go hunting for red or gray foxes, be sure you know the rules. This page contains regulations for fox hunting in Massachusetts.

2021 hunting season dates
Jan. 1 – Feb. 27, 2021
Nov. 1, 2021 – Feb. 28, 2022

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

Table of Contents

Hunting hours

Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end at midnight. (Except on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail season, hunting hours are sunrise to sunset.)

Click here for a sunrise/sunset table.

Required licenses

To hunt foxes in Massachusetts you must have certain licenses, which you can buy through MassFishHunt.

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or sporting license

Non-residents:

  • Small game or big game license

Bag limits

None

Hunting zones

All Wildlife Management Zones statewide.

Hunting implements

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

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

Rifles and handguns*:

  • Daytime hunting: During the period from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset, there are no restrictions on size or caliber of rifles or handguns.
  • Nighttime hunting: During the period from ½ hour after sunset to midnight rifles are restricted to those chambered not larger than .22 long rifle and handguns are restricted to those chambered not larger than .38 caliber.

    *Rifles or handguns of any kind are prohibited on Wildlife Management Areas stocked with pheasant or quail, during the pheasant and quail seasons.

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

Prohibited:

  • Artificial light
  • 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. 

Trapping

Tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements

  • You must report your fox within 48 hours of harvest.
  • Report at an official check station or online
  • If you report your harvest online, write the confirmation number on a tag and attach the tag to the carcass or pelt.
    • These confirmation numbers must stay attached to the pelt or carcass until that pelt or carcass is prepared for mounting or sold or tanned.

Hunting season framework

November 1 - last day of February the following year.

Fox 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 fox hunting laws and regulations.

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