Table of Contents for Hunting Guide

  • Stocking Information

    • Details about the release of game animals for hunting
  • Hunting Hours

    • Acceptable times of day for hunting activities
  • Required Licenses and Permits

    • Documentation necessary for lawful hunting
  • Bag Limits

    • Maximum number of game animals allowable for harvest
  • Hunting Implements

    • Authorized weapons and tools for hunting
  • Blaze Orange Requirements

    • Safety attire regulations for hunters
  • Tagging, Transporting, and Reporting Requirements

    • Post-harvest procedures for game management
  • Quail Hunting Regulations

    • Rules specific to hunting quail
  • Special Pheasant and Quail Hunt

    • Information on exceptional hunting permissions and seasons
  • Hunting Methods

    • Legal techniques for capturing or killing game
  • Hunting Season Framework

    • Outline of seasonal hunting timelines and regulations
  • Contact Information

    • Contact details for regulatory body and support

Stocking information

In addition to 40,000 ring-necked pheasants stocked statewide, MassWildlife also stocks about 4,000 bobwhite quail at Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth and the Francis Crane WMA in Falmouth. 

Pheasant/quail stocking is the Saturday after Columbus Day to the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

For a list of pheasant stocked WMAs and other locations visit, mass.gov/pheasant.

Hunting hours

Hunting hours begin at sunrise and end at sunset. Click here for a sunrise/sunset table.

Required licenses and permits

To hunt quail in Massachusetts you must have the certain licenses and permits, which you can buy through MassFishHunt.

New: Pheasant/Quail Permit: Required by all hunters aged 15 years or older (including falconers) to hunt, take or possess pheasants or bobwhite quail, except for those hunting or possessing pheasants or quail harvested on licensed commercial shooting preserves.

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or sporting license
  • Pheasant/Quail Permit

Non-residents:

  • Small game or big game license
  • Pheasant/Quail Permit

If you hunt exclusively on a licensed commercial shooting preserve, you need either a resident or non-resident license, or a special 1-day license valid exclusively on commercial shooting preserves.

Bag limits

  • 4 per day
  • 8 in possession
  • New: No season limit

Hunting implements

Shotguns (including smoothbore muzzleloaders): No larger than #1 birdshot (pellet diameter equal to or less than 0.160 inches) can be used for quail hunting.

Archery equipment: Archery equipment is legal. Crossbows may only be used by permit. Poisoned arrows, explosive tips, bows drawn by mechanical means, or any device that propels an arrow, dart, or bolt by gunpowder, compressed air, or by any other means except by the flexing and release of a bowstring are prohibited.

Blaze orange requirements

Hunters must wear a hunter orange cap when hunting for quail on WMAs where pheasant or quail are stocked during the pheasant or quail season.

Tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements

You do not have to report harvest for bobwhite quail.

Quail hunting regulations

This page is to be used as a reference, it is not the entire law and is subject to change. You can refer to the Pheasant, Quail, and Ruffed Grouse Hunting regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.02(6) and to several provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131 for more information about quail hunting.

Special pheasant and quail hunt

Licensed hunters may submit an application to MassWildlife district offices for a free 1 day permit that allows the private purchase, liberation, and hunting of ring-necked pheasants and/or bobwhite quail on selected WMAs from Jan. 1 – March 31.
WMAs include:

  • Frances A. Crane WMA and Erwin Wilder WMA (SE District)
  • Bolton Flats WMA and Winnimusset WMA (Central District)
  • Martin Burns WMA (NE District)
  • Herm Covey WMA (CT Valley District)
  • Housatonic Valley WMA (Western District)

Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Only one party can hunt on each WMA per day. There are no stocking limits, or bag limits. You will need a separate importation permit from the MassWildlife Boston Office (617) 626-1575 to purchase birds from out of state.

Hunting methods

Wanton waste prohibited: It is unlawful for hunters to intentionally or knowingly leave a wounded or dead game animal in the field or the forest without making a reasonable effort to retrieve and use it. Each retrieved animal shall be retained or transferred to another until processed or used for food, pelt, feathers, or taxidermy. This does not apply to animals unfit for consumption or use—animals and their parts that are damaged, destroyed, decayed, rotting, diseased, or infected.

Hunting season framework

The first Saturday after Columbus Day to December 31. All dates inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays. Quail hunting is closed during the shotgun deer season.

Contact Information

MassWildlife

Online Access

Telephone Communication

  • Phone Number: (508) 389-6300
  • Operating Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. ET (Closed for lunch from 12 p.m.–12:30 p.m.)

Sign Up for Huntlink!

Huntlink is a free program that will allow us to send you state regulations to your email for the states you hunt in. The benefits of this are:

1. PDF Format - Downloadable

2. Able to be read with or without reception

3. Delivered right to your email with no ads

And much more!

Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.