Massachusetts Deer Hunting Season 2023-2024

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Massachusetts is known as a smaller state hunting area producing large game species such as white-tailed deer. The state has 32 000 acres of public hunting lands and an estimated white-tailed deer population of 100 000, with archery hunting being the most prized season.

Suppose you plan on heading into the wooded hills and open plains in Massachusetts to harvest your seasonal white-tailed deer. In that case, We’ve done our homework and compiled a list below of everything you need to know about hunting deer in Massachusetts.

Season Dates 2023-2024

Massachusetts is divided into fifteen (15) Wildlife Management Zones (WMZ), and each zone is managed by their own regulations. The WMZ were established to implement seasons and limitations based on the populations of deer in the area.

There are three (3) different deer hunting seasons in Massachusetts; Archery, Shotgun, and Primitive Firearms. With two (2) additional seasons allocated for Youth and Disabled hunters. Let’s look further into the different deer hunting season dates for Massachusetts.

SeasonDates (start-to-end)
Archery- Zones 1 – 9October 16th – November 25th
Archery- Zones 10 – 14October 2nd – November 25th
Paraplegic November 2nd – November 4th
Youth Deer Hunt Day September 30th
Shotgun Nov. 27 – Dec. 9, 2023
Primitive Firearms Dec. 11 – Dec. 30, 2023

Youth Hunt Day occurs on the fourth (4th) Saturday following Labor Day and is reserved for hunters between the ages of twelve (12) to seventeen (17). Hunters between the ages of twelve (12) to fourteen (14) must be accompanied by an adult that is 18 years or older.

Paraplegic hunting season in Massachusetts is a three-day (3) hunting season reserved for disabled hunters. Paraplegic hunting season was established in 1972 and permitted volunteers or staff from MassWildlife to assist disabled hunters in retrieving and field-dressing deer.

License Costs

Any hunter over the age of fifteen (15) must legally purchase a hunting license to hunt deer in Massachusetts. In addition to a hunting license, hunters must purchase permits and stamps depending on the season they wish to hunt. No stamp is required for shotgun season.

Hunters are required to complete a Basic Hunters Education certificate before they are permitted to purchase a hunting license in Massachusetts. 

Hunting License$29.50$101.50
Minor Hunting License (Age 15 – 17)$6.50
Hunting License (Age 65 – 69)$14.75$101.50
Resident Hunting License (Age 69 or older)FreeN/A
Resident Sporting License$54.00N/A
Resident Sporting License(Age 65–69)$27.00N/A
Paraplegic Hunting LicenseFreeFree
Paraplegic Sporting LicenseFreeFree
Wildlands Stamp$5.00$5.00
Antlerless Deer Permit$10.00$15.00
Archery Deer Season Stamp$10.00$15.00
Primitive Firearms Deer Season Stamp$10.00$15.00
Commercial Shooting Preserve (1-day)$7.00$11.00

Non-resident hunters must purchase a Big Game Hunting license to hunt deer in Massachusetts. Every hunting license includes two (2) antlered deer tags valid across Massachusetts.

Hunters that wish to harvest antlerless deer must have an antlerless deer permit. There are a limited number of antlerless deer permits allocated for each WMZ. These permits are awarded by an application and drawing system. Each permit comes with one antlerless deer tag.

Bag Limits

Hunters can legally harvest two (2) antlered deer with at least one antler three (3) inches or longer. In addition, hunters are permitted to harvest as many antlerless deer as long as they have valid deer permits. Antlerless deer are any deer without antlers or antlers less than three (3) inches in length.

Youth Deer Hunt Day permits junior hunters between the ages of twelve (12) to seventeen (17) to harvest one (1) deer (antlered or antlerless). Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end ½ hour after sunset.

SeasonBag Limit
Archery Two (2) antlered deer
Primitive WeaponsTwo (2) antlered deer
ShotgunTwo (2) antlered deer
Youth Hunt DayOne (1) antlered or antlerless deer

What Weapons can you Hunt Deer with in Massachusetts?

  • Archery- Bow & Arrow
  • Muzzleloading rifles 
  • Shotguns
  • Crossbows


GaugeMust be 10 gauge or less.
Projectile Single or rifled barrels are permitted.
AmmunitionSingle lead or alloy projectile, including rifled slugs or sabot rounds.
Prohibited ammunitionBuckshot is prohibited at all times.

Bow and Arrow:

ArrowsOnly broadhead-tipped arrows with metal cutting edges are permitted.
BroadheadsMust be well-sharpened steel broadhead blades not less than 7/8 inches in width. Expanding broadheads and mechanical releases are permitted.
Bow characteristicsMust have a minimum draw weight of at least 40 lbs at 28 inches or peak draw.
ProhibitedPoisoned arrows, explosive tips, airbows and bows drawn by mechanical means are prohibited.


Crossbow draw weightNo minimum or maximum draw weight required for your crossbow. 
Arrows/ boltsNo size limitations for either the crossbow itself or the arrow shaft.
BroadheadsBroadheads must be seven-eighths of one inch (7/8”) or greater at the widest point.
Legal ProhibitionCrossbows may only be used by Paraplegic hunters.

Muzzleloading Rifle:

Powderblack powder or black powder substitute only.
CaliberSingle barrel of.45 to .775 caliber
Legal projectileBarrel length must be 18 inches or more, with only one barrel operational.
IgnitionInline ignition systems are permitted, providing the firearm loads from the muzzle.
AmmunitionSabot rounds and 209 primers are permitted.

What Types of Deer are Popular to Hunt in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is home to the common white-tailed deer. The species is spread across the entire state, with the eastern regions hosting the highest concentration of deer. Many mature white-tailed bucks are seasonally harvested in Massachusetts.

White-tailed will occasionally stomp their feet to communicate with each other and grow their antlers on a seasonal basis and can be harvested in Massachusetts with or without antlers.

What else is Popular to Hunt in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is certainly the state to visit for seasonal large and big game hunters. The state is visited by over 40 000 pheasants per year and offers a wide variety of sort after trophy animals, including:

  • Black Bear
  • Wild Boar
  • Wild Turkey
  • Water Fowl
  • Pheasant
  • Quil 
  • Snipe

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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