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Rabbit and hare hunting regulations

Regulations for hunting cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare in Massachusetts.

2024 hunting season dates

Cottontail Rabbits
Zones 1–14: Jan. 1, 2024 – Feb. 29, 2024
Zones 1–14: Oct. 19, 2024 – Feb. 28, 2025

Snowshoe Hare
Zones 1–14: Jan. 1, 2024 – Feb. 29, 2024
Zones 1–14: Oct. 19, 2024 – Feb. 28, 2025

All dates are inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays. Rabbit and hare hunting is closed during the shotgun deer season.

Table of Contents

Hunting hours

Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and ends at midnight. Click here for a sunrise/sunset table.

Required licenses and permits

To hunt cottontail rabbit in Massachusetts you must have the appropriate license, which you can buy through MassFishHunt.

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or sporting license


  • Small game or big game license

You can buy the license you need through MassFishHunt.

Bag limits

  • Cottontail rabbit: 5 per day, 10 in possession, no annual bag limit
  • Snowshoe hare: 2 per day, 4 in possession, no annual bag limit

Hunting implements

Shotguns (including smoothbore muzzleloaders): No larger than #1 birdshot.

Archery: Archery equipment is legal. You must use a device that works by flexing and releasing a bowstring. You may not use poisoned arrows, explosive tips, bows drawn by mechanical means, or any device that propels an arrow, dart, or bolt by gunpowder, compressed air, or any other means. Crossbows may be used only by hunters with a crossbow permit.

Rifles and handguns (including rifled muzzleloaders): Rifles and handguns are legal.

Hunting methods

Wanton waste prohibited: 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

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

Tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements

You do not have to report harvest for cottontail rabbit.

Hunting season framework

Cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares may be hunted in Zones 1–14 from the first Saturday after Columbus Day to the last day of February in the following calendar year. You may not hunt rabbit or hare during the 2-week shotgun deer season.

Contact   for Rabbit and hare hunting regulations

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