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Wildlife Management Area regulations

Whether you are hunting, fishing, or hiking on a Wildlife Management Area (WMA), you need to follow the rules.

Overview

MassWildlife owns and manages over 200,000 acres of land. All WMAs and WCEs are open to hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor recreation activities. Visit our MassWildlife Lands Viewer, featuring an interactive mapping tool which allows users to customize and print maps of MassWildlife properties.

See full regulations at 321 CMR 3.01(1)

Attention: New dog leash and waste disposal rules for WMAs are in effect as of January 11, 2019. See number 14 below.

WMA regulations

  1. No person shall possess any alcoholic beverage except under permit, or dump or discard any can, bottle, or rubbish.
  2. No person shall remove vegetation, soil, or stones from any WMA except under permit.
  3. No person shall use excessive speed in driving a vehicle.
  4. No person, unless under permit, shall drive or possess any vehicle except on roads or trails maintained for public vehicular traffic.
  5. No person shall deface or tamper with any sign, building, or equipment.
  6. No person shall build or maintain a fire without written permission from the Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife or his designee.
  7. No person shall camp within any WMA without written permission from the Director or his designee.
  8. No person shall engage in target practice without written permission from the Director or his designee.
  9. No person shall use any means other than shotgun or bow and arrow during the pheasant and quail season on areas stocked with pheasant or quail except for hunting raccoons and opossums between 9pm and 3am, or except for the shooting of captured fur-bearing mammals by a licensed trapper.
  10. No person shall hunt before sunrise or after sunset on any WMA where pheasant or quail are stocked during the open season on pheasant or quail, except for the hunting of raccoons and opossums between 9pm and 3am.
  11. No person shall hunt during the pheasant or quail season on WMAs where pheasant or quail are stocked without wearing a ”hunter orange“ cap or hat except while night hunting for raccoons or opossums or while hunting waterfowl from within a blind or boat.
  12. No person, except under permit, shall dig or disturb any artifact or archaeological remains.
  13. The Director may make special regulations to handle special situations peculiar to any WMA. Controlled hunts are in effect at certain times on Martin Burns, Delaney, and Ludlow WMAs. Contact District Manager for details.
  14. NEW (as of 1/11/19): Dogs on Wildlife Management Areas must be leashed. Dogs may be off-leash only when hunting or hunt training with licensed hunters or involved with permitted field trials. Dog feces in WMA parking areas and within 100 feet of the parking area must be picked up by all dog handlers and disposed of off the WMA. Dog feces in other parts of the WMA must be picked up by non-licensed dog handlers and disposed of offsite; licensed hunters are exempt from this requirement.

See full regulations at 321 CMR 3.01(1)

The Director may make special regulations to handle special situations peculiar to any WMA. Controlled hunts are in effect at certain times on Burns, Delaney (Northeast District) and Ludlow (Valley District) WMAs.

More information about the new dog regulations

The following is an excerpt from CMR 321 3.01(1)

Rules of Conduct on Wildlife Management Areas for Dogs, Horses and Other Domesticated Animals

    (i) No person may cause or permit any dog, horse, or other domesticated animal listed in 321 CMR 9.02(3) to be unattended or to roam or be at large on any wildlife management area. No person may cause or permit any dog, horse, or other domesticated animal listed in 321 CMR 9.02(3) owned by him or her or in his or her custody or under his or her control to be on any wildlife management area unless such animal is restrained within a cage, or is bridled, or is restrained on a physical tether or leash by the animal’s owner or handler. 

    (ii) In addition to the requirements in 321 CMR 3.01(1)(r)(i),  any dog feces shall be collected immediately by the person who has custody or control of the dog(s) and disposed of properly by that person outside of the boundaries of the wildlife management area. 

    (iii) The provisions of 321 CMR 3.01(1)(r)(i) and (ii) shall not apply to persons using dogs on any wildlife management area while in the act of hunting in accordance with the Division’s regulations, or training dogs for hunting, including hunt tests and field trials by persons holding a valid Massachusetts hunting or sporting license or by persons participating in a Retriever or Bird Dog Trial event permitted by the Division pursuant to 321 CMR 2.01.  For the purposes of 321 CMR 3.01(1)(r)(iii), the training of dogs for the above purposes shall include, but not be limited to, obedience training, pointing, retrieving, water handling, quartering, casting, marking and trailing. Those persons using dogs pursuant to this subsection shall immediately collect feces deposited by their dog within a designated parking area, or within 100 feet of a designated parking area, and dispose of it properly outside the boundaries of the wildlife management area.

    (iv)  Division personnel, an environmental police officer or other law enforcement officer  may direct that any dog, horse, or other domesticated animal listed in 321 CMR 9.02(3) be removed from a wildlife management area by the animal’s owner or handler for failure to comply with 321 CMR 3.01(1)(r).

    (v) If the Director deems it necessary to fulfill the purpose of a wildlife management area as described in 321 CMR 3.01(1), he or she may, by posting notice on the wildlife management area or on the Division’s website, prohibit from or restrict the access of any dog, horse, or other domesticated animal listed in 321 CMR 9.02(3) to any portion of a wildlife management area or for a particular time period. 

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