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Raccoon and opossum hunting regulations

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

2020 hunting season dates

Jan. 1 - Jan 31, 2020 and Oct. 1, 2020 - Jan. 30, 2021

All dates are inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.

Table of Contents

Hunting hours

Raccoon and opossum may be hunted 24 hours per day. Except on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail season, the hunting hours for raccoon and opossum are from 9:00 P.M. to 3:00 A.M.

Required licenses

To hunt raccoon and opossum in Massachusetts you must have a license, which you can buy through MassFishHunt.

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or sporting license

Non-residents:

  • Small game or big game license

Bag limits

Raccoon Individual bag limit: 3 raccoons (Between sunset of one day and sunset of the following day.)

Raccoon Group bag limit (2 or more hunters): 6 raccoons (Between sunset of one day and sunset of the following day.)

Opossum: No bag limit.

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 equipment 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*:

  • 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 ½ hour before sunrise, rifles are restricted to those chambered not larger than .22 long rifle and handguns are restricted to those chambered not larger than .38 caliber.

*Prohibited on wildlife management areas stocked with pheasant or quail, during the pheasant and quail seasons except from 9pm to 3am.

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

Hunting methods

Legal:

  • Manual Calls
  • Electronic Calls
  • Bait
  • Artificial light
  • Dogs

Prohibited:

  • 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.

Tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements

You do not have to report harvest for raccoon or opossum.

Hunting season framework

October 1 to the last day of January of the following year.

Raccoon and opossum 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 hunting and trapping of certain mammals regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.02(5) and to several provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131 for more information about raccoon and opossum hunting.

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