Massachusetts’ Second Black Bear Hunting Season Kicks Off, State Warns of Illegal Activities

by Jon D. B.
A large male black bear walks along the edge of the forest. (Photo credit: Getty Images stock)

As this year’s second black bear season kicks in, Massachusetts is reminding hunters of what to do – and what not to do – within their timeframe.

November 7 officially kicks off the fall black bear hunting season in the state, with Massachusetts sportsfolk heading out into the woods today. It’s a rare opportunity for hunters to harvest an animal that was once close to extinction. Conservation has, however, returned the American black bear from the brink over the last 50 years. And as with most species in our country, hunting fees and organizations have played a large role in their comeback.

Massachusetts Black Bear Hunting Rundown

  • 2022’s second season runs from Monday, Nov. 7 through Saturday, Nov. 26
  • Hunting is not allowed on Sundays, however
  • Hunting methods include rifles, muzzleloader, and archery only
    • Shotguns are not permitted in this season or the first
  • Hunting is only to take place beginning a half-hour before sunrise, then ends a half-hour after sunset
  • Each hunter is only able to harvest one black bear each calendar year
    • No exceptions are made
  • $10 Bear Permits are available on MassWildlife

To take part in this hunt legally, hunters must first acquire a bear permit. In Massachusetts, this will set you back only $10 (for residents or non-residents); a fee that supports hunting and conservation in the state. Once you have your bear permit, hunters must use a rifle, muzzleloader, or archery method. Shotguns are not allowed in the first two MA black bear seasons, but are in the final “winter” season.

As local 22 News cites, MA hunters are also required to wear a blaze orange hat in Wildlife Management areas stocked with pheasants or quail during the second black bear hunting season. The last thing any hunter wants is to be mistaken for a fowl, after all.

Once a bear hunter’s successful harvest is complete, MassWildlife asks that they submit a tooth and hair sample in order to determine the bear’s age, and also to aid in state conservation studies via genetics.

Follow these regulations above and you’ll be set for a rewarding hunt. Massachusetts plainly states their illegal hunting methods for black bears. And with problem poachers giving law-abiding hunters a bad wrap every year, it’s imperative that these regulations be followed, too.

Illegal Bear Hunting Methods in Massachusetts:

The following actions, provided by the state, are illegal and will result in hefty fines and even jail time.

  • It is illegal to use dogs during bear hunting
  • Using bait for bear hunting is illegal
    • This includes the use of lures, scents, or any substance that may attract a bear
  • Wanton waste: It is unlawful to intentionally leave a wounded or dead animal in the field or forest without making a reasonable effort to retrieve and use it
    • However, this does not apply to animals unfit for consumption use (animals that parts are damaged, destroyed, decayed, rotting, diseased, or infected)

If the fall season isn’t in the cards, then the state does offer one last winter black bear season, which will be held from Nov. 28 to Dec. 10. in 2022. For this final season of the year, shotguns are allowed alongside muzzleloaders and archery (but no rifles).