- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Media Contact for September marks the start of fall hunting
Marion Larson, MassWildlife
The return of cooler weather means many Massachusetts sportsmen and women will head into the woods for the fall 2020 hunting season. Massachusetts residents may be wondering where and when hunting will be taking place this fall. Early Canada goose and black bear hunting seasons open statewide on September 8, while pheasant hunting season opens October 17. Archery deer and turkey hunting seasons begin on October 5 in eastern Massachusetts and on October 19 in the rest of the state. Click here to review a summary of all hunting seasons. Hunting on Sunday is not permitted in Massachusetts. Many public lands are open to hunting including Wildlife Management Areas, most state parks, and many town-owned lands. Research the property you plan to visit to learn if hunting is allowed.
Hunting is a safe activity and non-hunters should feel comfortable using the woods at any time of year. Although hunting accidents are extremely rare, wearing blaze orange will help minimize your chances of being mistaken for game animals during the hunting season. While hunters are required to wear blaze orange during certain seasons, all outdoor users who are in the woods during hunting seasons should wear a blaze orange hat or vest as a precaution.
Safety tips for non-hunters
- Be safe, be seen. A brightly colored orange vest or hat will help you stay visible. Avoid wearing any earth-toned or animal-colored clothing. The use of blaze orange has dramatically reduced the number of hunting-related accidents in the field. Watch a short video on the Effectiveness of Blaze Orange. Remember, hunters are often active during the early morning and late afternoon when animals are most active. Be especially aware of your own visibility during these times when light is dim.
- Keep pets leashed and visible. Place a blaze orange vest or bandana on your pet to keep it visible.
- Know when and where hunting is allowed. Get information about hunting regulations and season dates from our website. Hunting on Sunday is not permitted in Massachusetts. Wildlife Management Areas, Wildlife Conservation Easements, and Access Areas are open to hunting. Most state parks and forests are open to hunting, and many towns allow hunting on municipal lands. Learn about lands open to hunting in Massachusetts. Research the property you plan to visit to learn if hunting is allowed. If being in the woods during hunting season makes you uneasy, find a location where hunting is not allowed or plan your outing for a Sunday or another day outside of hunting season.
- Make your presence known. Talk loudly or whistle to identify yourself as a person. You may also consider wearing a bell. If you see someone hunting or hear shots, call out to them to identify your location.
- Be courteous. Once you've made your presence known, don't make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife or hunting. Hunter harassment is against state law. Avoid confrontations with hunters. If you think you've witnessed a fish or wildlife violation, report it to the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075.