Hunting on private lands in Massachusetts can be a bit tricky, and there are certain rules both state and local that hunters need to keep in mind.
The 189th General Court of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts says in Section 36 of its general laws
, “A person shall not fish, hunt or trap on private land without permission of the owner or tenant thereof, after such owner or tenant has conspicuously posted thereon notices which bear the name of such owner or tenant and which state that fishing, hunting or trapping on such land, as the case may be, is prohibited.”
But hunting on private lands is permitted if those notices are not posted otherwise. However, each town has its own rules regarding what can be done. In order to figure out what local rules are, a hunter can try calling the local clerk’s office to clarify and sometimes get a list of properties open for hunting.
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There are, however, some specific rules every hunter needs to keep in mind when hunting in Massachusetts, especially when headed to private lands.
Here are seven rules when hunting in private or New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) owned lands
1. Massachusetts requires hunters to have a hunting license for anyone over 15 who intends to hunt. Some individual towns require hunters to have written permission from the landowner to hunt the privately-owned lands.
2. All hunters, regardless of where they are hunting, must follow all state and local laws.
Hunters must follow NEFF’s recreational and hunting guidelines as listed on the NEFF website when on their lands.
3. Hunters must never shoot across established walking trails or toward buildings.
Hunters may use temporary tree stands that do not use nails, screws, or screw-in steps when on NEFF lands.
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4. Stands must have the hunter’s name on them with contact information.
Stands must be set up on NEFF property a month prior to opening day and must be removed within one month after season ends.
5. If you are hunting on land that requires landowner permission, you need to contact the Director of Forest Stewardship before you hunt.
6. There must be written permission from landowners if your tree stand requires nails, screws, or bolts.
7. If you hunt on non-posted private land, and the owner asks you to leave, you must comply or you will be legally charged with trespassing.
This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.
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