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Pheasant hunting regulations

This page contains pheasant hunting regulations as well as links to pheasant stocking locations.

2022 hunting season dates
Oct. 15 – Nov. 26, 2022

All dates inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.

New regulations take effect in 2022: A Pheasant/Quail Permit is now required for resident and non-resident hunters, there is no season bag limit, and hens can be hunted statewide.

Table of Contents

Pheasant stocked areas

Every year, MassWildlife stocks about 40,000 ring-necked pheasants statewide. These birds are stocked on public and private lands open to hunting. For a list of pheasant stocked WMAs and other locations visit, mass.gov/pheasant. MassWildlife also stocks about 4,000 bobwhite quail at two locations; Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth and the Francis Crane WMA in Falmouth.

Hunting hours

Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end ½ hour after sunset. (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, permits, and stamps

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

New: Pheasant/Quail Permit: Required by all hunters aged 15 years or older (including falconers) to hunt, take or possess pheasants or bobwhite quail, except for those hunting or possessing pheasants or quail harvested on licensed commercial shooting preserves.

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or sporting license
  • Pheasant/Quail Permit


  • Small game or big game license
  • Pheasant/Quail Permit

If you hunt on a licensed commercial shooting preserve, you need a resident or non-resident license, or a 1-day license for commercial shooting preserves.

Bag limits

  • 2 per day
  • 4 in possession
  • New: No season limit

Hunting zones

New: Hen pheasants can be hunted statewide. 


Hunting implements

Shotguns (including smoothbore muzzleloaders): No larger than #1 birdshot (pellet diameter equal to or less than 0.160 inches) can be used for pheasant hunting.

Archery equipment: Archery tackle is legal. Crossbows may only be used by permit. Poisoned arrows, explosive tips, bows drawn by mechanical means, or any device that propels an arrow, dart, or bolt by gunpowder, compressed air, or by any other means except by the flexing and release of a bowstring are prohibited.

When hunting pheasants on WMA’s stocked with pheasant or quail, only shotguns and archery equipment are allowed.

Hunting methods

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 for pheasant on WMAs where pheasant or quail are stocked during the pheasant or quail season, you need to wear a hunter orange cap.

Tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements

Harvest reporting is not required for pheasant.

Hunting Season framework

The first Saturday after Columbus Day to the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Pheasant 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 Pheasant, Quail, and Ruffed Grouse Hunting regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.02(6) and to several provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131 for more information about pheasant hunting. 

Special pheasant and quail hunt

Licensed hunters may submit an application to MassWildlife district offices for a free 1 day permit that allows the private purchase, liberation, and hunting of ring-necked pheasants and/or bobwhite quail on selected WMAs from Jan. 1 – March 31.
WMAs include:

  • Frances A. Crane WMA and Erwin Wilder WMA (SE District)
  • Bolton Flats WMA and Winnimusset WMA (Central District)
  • Martin Burns WMA (NE District)
  • Herm Covey WMA (CT Valley District)
  • Housatonic Valley WMA (Western District)

Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Only one party can hunt on each WMA per day. There are no stocking limits, or bag limits. You will need a separate importation permit from the MassWildlife Boston Office (617) 626-1575 to purchase birds from out of state.



Open M–F, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (closed noon–12:30 for lunch)