Who needs a hunting license, permits and stamps?

You need a license to hunt in Massachusetts if you are age 15 or older. You may need other permits or stamps depending on what and when you wish to hunt.

Overview

Who needs a license?

If you are age 15 or older, you need a hunting license. The minimum age for hunting in Massachusetts is 12. Those who are 12-14 may hunt only when accompanied by a licensed hunter 18 years or older, provided that a single bag limit is shared and a single firearm/bow is shared between the two people. Only one minor per adult is permitted.

To be eligible to buy a hunting license

By state law, you are eligible for a Massachusetts Hunting or Sporting License if you meet one of the following statements:

  • I have earned a government-issued Basic Hunter Education certificate (from any U.S. State, Mexico, or Canada).

OR

  • I held a hunting or sporting license before January 1, 2007 (from any jurisdiction).

 

Proof is not required. If purchasing your license online, you will be prompted to use an electronic affidavit (check a box). If purchasing a license from a vendor or from a MassWildlife office, you will be asked to verbally state (verbal affidavit) whether you have held a hunting or sporting license prior to 2007 or if you have ever successfully completed a Basic Hunter Education course. 

Important: A verbal or electronic affidavit means that you declare, under penalty of perjury, that you’re eligible for a hunting or sporting license.

Additional Resources for Overview

Hunting permits

Permits are not transferable. You can only use the one you are issued.

Antlerless deer permit

You must have this permit to take an antlerless deer during archery, shotgun, and primitive firearms seasons. MassWildlife allows antlerless deer hunting with the proper permit in all Wildlife Management Zones.

Black Bear permit

You must have this permit to hunt bear. Hunters can buy this permit with their hunting/sporting license or at any time before the end of the bear season.

Wild Turkey permit

You must have this permit to hunt turkey. Hunters can buy this permit with their hunting/sporting license or at any time before the end of the fall turkey season.

Crossbow Permit for Hunters with Permanent Disabilities 

This permit is for hunters with a permanent physical disability that prevents them from using standard archery equipment. The Crossbow Permit form requires a physician's sign-off.

Additional Resources for Hunting permits

Hunting stamps

You may need hunting stamps as well as your state hunting license. This depends on the species you want to hunt and the season you want to hunt.

Archery stamp

All hunters must have this stamp to hunt deer during archery deer season. Bowhunters do not have to take any courses to buy this stamp.

Primitive firearms stamp

All hunters must have this stamp to hunt deer with a muzzleloader or archery equipment during primitive firearms deer season.

Massachusetts waterfowl stamp

All waterfowl hunters age 15 or older must have this stamp. When hunters buy the stamp, they are registered in the Harvest Information Program (HIP). This registration is mandatory. This stamp is not required for hunting woodcock, snipe, or coot. Your stamp is valid throughout the calendar year.

Federal migratory game bird stamp (federal duck stamp)

All waterfowl hunters age 16 years or older must have this stamp. This stamp is required for hunting any ducks (including sea ducks), geese, or brant, but is not required for hunting woodcock, snipe, or coot. Federal duck stamps are valid from July 1 through June 30. Learn more about the federal duck stamp.

Wildlands stamps

This stamp is added to the first fishing, hunting, or trapping license you buy each calendar year. If you are a Massachusetts resident, there is no Wildlands stamp fee for the second license purchased in a calendar year. If you are purchasing a license as a non-resident, the Wildlands stamp fee will be added to all licenses purchased.

Revenue from these fees supports the Wildlands Conservation Fund, which buys important wildlife habitat that is open to hunting, fishing, and trapping, as well as other outdoor recreation.

Additional Resources for Hunting stamps

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