From the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA):
Because fall deer season is so popular, many people don’t realize that hunting seasons span much of the year in Massachusetts and neighboring states. With a little preparation, though, you and your animals can enjoy the great outdoors all year.
Be aware of the different hunting seasons in your area and know when you are in areas where hunting is allowed. If you are unsure which areas are open to hunting locally, consult with your town clerk or avoid areas that are suggested to hunters. Watch for posted areas that indicate that hunting is not allowed but be aware that hunters may accidentally shoot into those areas from adjacent areas where hunting is legal.
Do not let your dogs chase deer or other wildlife and be careful around beaver ponds and other areas where trapping may occur. Body-gripping traps are still used with permits in limited circumstances in Massachusetts and can attract dogs.
Hunting is not allowed on Sundays in Massachusetts, although pending legislation could change this, but it’s still a good idea to be alert, especially if you’re near the border of a state that does allow hunting on Sundays.
To increase your visibility to hunters in the field, wear bright orange clothing when hiking during hunting season and put bright orange collars and vests on your canine companions (or horses if you’re trail riding) to keep them safe, too.
Even if you disagree with hunting, do not harass hunters if you meet them in the field. It is unsafe and illegal. If you find hunters behaving badly or doing something illegal, you can report them to the environmental police by calling 1-800-632-8075
Keep in mind other common sense tips for safely enjoying the outdoors in the fall and winter, too. Be prepared for changing weather and declining daylight; carry a pack with extra clothing and a flashlight or headlamp. Know the area where you intend to hike, bring a map and compass or GPS, and let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
For more information, including hunting seasons in the New England and adjacent states: www.mspca.org/huntingsafety