Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Regulations


MassWildlife oversees more than 220,000 acres, including Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and Wildlife Conservation Easements (WCEs), all dedicated to conserving habitat for wildlife and offering various recreational opportunities. These areas are open for hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor activities. Detailed maps and information are available through the MassWildlife Lands Viewer.

General WMA Regulations

Conduct and Environment

  • Alcoholic Beverages: Possession is prohibited unless specifically permitted.
  • Littering: Discarding rubbish, cans, or bottles is strictly forbidden.
  • Natural Resources: Removing vegetation, soil, or stones is not allowed without a permit.

Vehicles and Traffic

  • Speed Limits: Excessive speed is prohibited within WMAs.
  • Vehicle Restrictions: Vehicles are allowed only on designated roads or trails unless permitted otherwise.

Respect for Property

  • Vandalism: Defacing or tampering with any sign, building, or equipment is prohibited.
  • Fires: Building or maintaining a fire requires written permission from the Director or a designated representative.

Camping and Activities

  • Camping: Allowed only with written permission from the Director or designee.
  • Target Practice: Requires written permission from the Director or designee.
  • Hunting: During pheasant or quail season, hunters must wear a "hunter orange" cap or hat on WMAs where these birds are stocked, with certain exceptions for night and waterfowl hunting.

Cultural and Archaeological Protection

  • Artifacts: Digging or disturbing any archaeological remains or artifacts is forbidden without a permit.

Special Situations and Controlled Hunts

The Director may enact special regulations for unique circumstances in any WMA. Controlled hunts are scheduled at specific times in areas like Martin Burns, Delaney, and Ludlow WMAs. For details and specific dates, contact the District Manager.

Dog Regulations

  • Leashing: Dogs must be leashed, except when actively hunting or involved in hunt training with licensed hunters or participating in permitted field trials.
  • Waste Management: Dog feces must be collected and disposed of offsite by handlers in parking areas and within 100 feet of such areas. In other parts of WMAs, non-licensed handlers must pick up after their dogs, while licensed hunters are exempt.

Access Full Regulations

For a comprehensive list of regulations and exceptions, please refer to section 321 CMR 3.01(1). Adherence to these regulations ensures the conservation of these lands and the safety and enjoyment of all users.


When visiting WMAs, it's crucial to respect the rules designed to protect wildlife habitats and ensure safe, enjoyable recreation for all visitors. These regulations help maintain the ecological balance and preserve the natural beauty of Massachusetts's diverse landscapes. For further details or specific inquiries, consult the full regulations or contact MassWildlife directly.

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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.