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Quail hunting regulations

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

2021 hunting season dates

Zones 11–14: Oct. 16 – Nov. 27, 2021

All dates are inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays. Click here for wildlife management zone map.

Table of Contents

Hunting hours

Hunting hours begin at sunrise and end at sunset on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA's) stocked with pheasant or quail, otherwise 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 quail in Massachusetts you must have the certain licenses and permits, which you can buy through MassFishHunt.

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or sporting license


  • Small game or big game license

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

Bag limits

  • 4 per day
  • 8 in possession
  • 20 per season

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 quail hunting.

Archery equipment: Archery equipment 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 quail on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail, only shotguns and archery equipment are allowed. Possession of handguns and rifles are prohibited.

Blaze orange requirements

Hunters must wear a hunter orange cap when hunting for quail on WMAs where pheasant or quail are stocked during the pheasant or quail season.

Tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements

You do not have to report harvest for bobwhite quail.

Hunting season framework

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

Special options

You may submit an application to MassWildlife district offices to get 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.

You will need a separate importation permit to purchase birds from out of state. 

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.

Quail 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 quail hunting.

Additional resources

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.