If you are considering hunting coyotes in Massachusetts, there’s a few laws and restirctions you should be aware of. Massachusetts has the famed eastern coyote roaming freely nearly everywhere in the state now—but there are more gun laws than coyotes. Let the hunter beware—you’ll probably need to check for new regulations everyday.
As of October 2022, in Massachusetts, the coyote hunting season runs from Oct. 15 – Mar. 8. Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end at midnight. A hunting license is required.
Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end at midnight. There are two exceptions for this:
- Hunting hours start at sunrise and end at sunset on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail season.
- Hunting hours start ½ hour before sunrise and end ½ hour after sunset during shotgun deer season.
Purchase a Massachusetts hunting license here.
Check out the Massachusetts hunting seasons.
Related: Learn the laws for hunting bobcats in Massachusetts.
Related: Learn the laws for hunting fox in Massachusetts.
The rules for hunting coyotes in Massachusetts.
Can property owner shoot coyotes destroying property?
Under Mass.General Law 131, Section 37, a property owner or tenant of land may hunt or take by other means, except by poison or snare, any mammal which he finds damaging his property, provided that such killing is not contrary to any federal law or regulation.
Animals killed under this law, must be reported to authorities within 24 hours.
Related: Help you non-predator hunting farmer friends. Keep a weasel from making a second attack on their coops.
Special rules for hunting coyotes in Massachusetts.
- Electronic calls (Prohibited during the shotgun deer season).
- Manual calls (Prohibited during the shotgun deer season).
- Dogs (Prohibited during the shotgun deer season).
Related: Click here to read how to build the perfect coyote bait pile.
Related: Where to shoot a coyote to drop it right there.
- Artificial light
- Wanton waste (as of 7/20): 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.
Related: Using a shotgun to hunt predators.
Hunting implements when coyote hunting in Massachusetts.
Shotguns: Only shot sizes up to and including FF (.230 inches diameter). Slugs, single balls and buckshot may only be used during the shotgun deer season.
Archery equipment: Archery tackle is legal, with no minimum pull. Crossbows may be used by certain permanently disabled persons by permit only. Poisoned arrows, explosive tips, bows drawn by mechanical means are prohibited.
Rifles and handguns:
- Daytime hunting: During the period from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset, there are no restrictions on size or caliber of rifles or handguns.
- Nighttime hunting: During the period from ½ hour after sunset to midnight rifles are restricted to those chambered not larger than .22 long rifle and handguns are restricted to those chambered not larger than .38 caliber.
- Prohibited on Wildlife Management Areas stocked with pheasant or quail, during the pheasant and quail seasons.
- Prohibited during the shotgun deer season.
Muzzleloader: Smooth bore muzzleloaders: Only shot sizes up to and including FF (.230 inches diameter). Slugs, single balls, and buckshot may only be used during the shotgun deer season. Rifled bore muzzleloaders: no restrictions on caliber size.
Hunting coyotes in Massachusetts during shotgun deer season.
Blaze orange requirements
- During the shotgun season for deer, 500 square inches on chest, head, and back is required.
- When hunting on a pheasant or quail stocked WMA during the pheasant/quail season, a blaze orange cap is required.
Shotgun deer season special restrictions
- Hunting hours are half hour before sunrise – half hour after sunset.
- You must wear 500 square inches of hunter orange on your head, chest, and back.
- Rifles and handguns are prohibited.
- Dogs, electronic, and manual calls are prohibited.
You must report a harvest when hunting coyotes in Massachusetts.
Coyote and fox pelts/carcasses must be checked/ reported within 4 working days of the end of the season by either 1) checking them at an official check station, or 2) reporting them online and writing the harvest confirmation number on a tag of your own making, then attaching the tag to the carcass or pelt.
Confirmation numbers must remain attached to all pelts/carcasses, with the specific confirmation number issued for each particular pelt or carcass, until the carcass is prepared for mounting by a taxidermist, or the pelt is sold or tanned.