Hunting is a safe activity, and non-hunters can safely visit the woods at any time of year. Hunting accidents among hunters are extremely rare. Accidents involving non-hunters are even more rare. If you plan to enjoy the outdoors during a hunting season, review these tips:
- Be safe, be seen. A brightly-colored orange vest or hat will help you stay visible. Avoid earth-toned or animal-colored clothing. The use of blaze orange has dramatically reduced the number of hunting-related accidents. Watch a video on the effectiveness of blaze orange. Please note that hunters are often most active during the early morning and late afternoon, when game 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.
- Know when and where hunting is allowed. Review hunting season dates. Sunday hunting is not permitted in Massachusetts. MassWildlife lands, including Wildlife Management Areas, Wildlife Conservation Easements, and Access Areas are open to hunting. Most state parks and forests are open to hunting, Many towns allow hunting on municipal lands. Learn more about lands open to hunting. Research the place you plan to visit to learn when hunting is allowed. If you are worried about visiting during a hunting season, find places to visit where hunting is not allowed, or visit on Sundays and on other dates outside of hunting seasons.
- Make your presence known. Talk loudly or whistle to identify yourself as a person, or consider wearing a bell. If you see someone hunting or hear shots, call out 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.