Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end ½ hour after sunset. (Except on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail, hunting hours are sunrise to sunset.)
Required licenses and permits
To ruffed grouse in Massachusetts you must have the certain licenses and permits, which you can buy through MassFishHunt.
- Hunting or sporting license
- Small game or big game license
- 3 per day
- 6 in possession
- 15 per season
All Wildlife Management Zones statewide.
When hunting ruffed grouse on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail season, only shotguns and archery equipment are allowed. Possession of handguns and rifles are prohibited.
Shotguns (including smoothbore muzzleloaders): No larger than #1 birdshot (pellet diameter equal to or less than 0.160 inches) can be used for Ruffed Grouse 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.
Rifles and handguns (including rifled muzzleloaders): Can not be used for Ruffed Grouse hunting on WMAs stocked with pheasant and quail during the pheasant and quail season.
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
Hunters must wear a blaze orange cap when hunting for ruffed grouse 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 ruffed grouse.
Hunting season framework
The first Saturday after Columbus Day to the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Ruffed grouse 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 ruffed grouse hunting.