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Woodcock hunting regulations

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

Click here for hunting season dates.


You must register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) every year by taking the HIP survey if you to hunt woodcock, snipe, coot, rails, ducks, or geese.


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 ends at sunset for all migratory birds.

Click here for a sunrise/sunset table.

Required licenses and permits

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

All migratory game bird hunters must register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) each calendar year. Licensed woodcock, snipe, coot and waterfowl hunters must complete a HIP survey online at mass.gov/massfishhunt

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or sporting license
  • HIP survey


  • Small game or big game license
  • HIP survey

Bag limits

  • 3 per day
  • 9 in possession

Hunting zones

Wildlife management zones 1 - 14

Hunting implements

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

Shotgun: Migratory game birds may be hunted with shotguns no larger than 10 gauge, fired from the shoulder. Shotguns capable of holding more than 3 shells may not be used unless plugged with a one-piece filler which limits the gun’s total capacity to 3 shells and which cannot be removed without disassembling the gun.

Archery equipment: Expanding broadheads are legal. Poisoned arrows, explosive tips, bows drawn by mechanical means are prohibited. Crossbows may be used by certain permanently disabled persons by permit only.

Hunter orange requirements

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

Tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements

Woodcock do not need to be individually reported.

Any migratory game birds not in the custody of the hunter must be tagged with the hunter’s signature, address, total number of birds by species, and dates such birds were killed. No person shall receive or have in custody another's migratory game birds unless such birds are properly tagged.

The head and one fully-feathered wing must remain attached to each migratory game bird while it is transported to the hunter’s home or preservation facility.

Hunting season framework

The Migratory Game Bird Laws and Regulations are developed by both the Federal and State government. These laws and regulations are set annually in the spring by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board. For bag and possession limits, season dates, and information about the Youth Waterfowl Hunt view the migratory game bird regulations.

Woodcock 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 Migratory Game Bird Hunting regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.02(2), the Code of Federal Regulations, 50 CFR 20 et seq and to several other provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131 for information about migratory game bird laws and regulations. 

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