Hunting is a safe activity and non-hunters should feel comfortable using the woods at any time of year. Hunting accidents among hunters are extremely rare, and accidents involving non-hunters are even more rare. If you plan to enjoy the outdoors during hunting season, review these tips:
Be safe, be seen. A brightly colored orange vest or hat will help you stay visible. Avoid wearing any earth-toned or animal-colored clothing. The use of blaze orange has dramatically reduced the number of hunting-related accidents in the field. Watch a short video on the Effectiveness of Blaze Orange. Remember, hunters are often active during the early morning and late afternoon when animals are most active. Be especially aware of your own visibility during these times when light is dim.
Keep pets leashed and visible. Place a blaze orange vest or bandana on your pet to keep it visible.
Know when and where hunting is allowed. Hunting season dates and regulations are published annually in the Massachusetts Guide to Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, and Trapping. Hunting on Sunday is not permitted in Massachusetts. MassWildlife lands, including Wildlife Management Areas, Wildlife Conservation Easements, and Access Areas are open to hunting. Most state parks and forests are open to hunting, and many towns allow hunting on municipal lands. Learn about lands open to hunting in Massachusetts. Research the property you plan to visit beforehand to learn if hunting is allowed. If being in the woods during hunting season makes you uneasy, find a location where hunting is not allowed or plan your outing for a Sunday or another day outside of hunting season.
Make your presence known. Talk loudly or whistle to identify yourself as a person. You may also consider wearing a bell. If you see someone hunting or hear shots, call out to them to identify your location.
Be courteous. Once you’ve made your presence known, don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife or hunting. Hunter harassment is against state law. Avoid confrontations with hunters. If you think you’ve witnessed a fish or wildlife violation, report it to the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075.
Non-hunters and hunters can safely share and enjoy the woods during hunting season.