As reported on Patch, last week the Burlington Board of Selectmen took up the question of whether or not bow hunting should be allowed on town-owned property.
The discussion focused on the Landlocked Forest, but a decision on bow hunting would also apply to the reservoir and Sawmill Brook area.
During last's week meeting, the board did not come to any decision on bow hunting. Instead members decided to form an exploratory sub-committee to gather input and opinions from residents.
However, the topic has become a hot one. Patch reported on the meeting and the Burlington Union carried the story in its print paper last week. As a result, it seems the Burlington Police Department as received quite a few calls from residents asking about the legality of bow hunting. In response the department put out the following release to clarify its stance for residents.
Short answer is "no." Bow hunting is not currently allowed.
Read more - Release from the Burlington Police Department:
There have been many questions recently about bow hunting in Burlington and especially the landlocked parcel. The short answer we believe at this time is no, you cannot hunt in the landlocked parcel.
Under Mass General Laws Chapter 131, Section 59:
A person shall not hunt... within the boundaries of... any land owned ... by the commonwealth or any political subdivision ...except that the authorities or persons having the control and charge of such...other lands, may, with such limitations as they deem advisable, permit the hunting, within said boundaries during the applicable open season of any birds or mammals.
At this time, the Burlington Board of Selectmen has not advised the Burlington Police Department that they will be allowing hunting on any town property. This includes the Landlocked Parcel, the Reservoir and the Sawmill Brook area.
The City of Boston also has not allowed hunting on their property in Burlington.
In order to prohibit hunting on private property land owners must post signs but hunting is prohibited within 150 feet of any state or hard surfaced highway and within 500 feet of a dwelling in use.
There are several resources and guides available to advise responsible hunters in Massachusetts:
Plain language guides:
We have also included below some of the laws that we can enforce related to hunting. Generally, we educate hunters who mistakenly believe that they are allowed to hunt on Town of Burlington properties. We do have options to cite and arrest for certain violations.
Chapter 21: Section 6F. Violations; noncriminal disposition.
If the director, his assistant or any environmental police officer, deputy environmental police officer, members of the state police, local police, local town law enforcement officials in shellfish beds over which they have jurisdiction, or harbormasters acting pursuant to authority arising under chapter ninety B, employed to enforce the sections contained in section six F 1/2 determines that a violation thereof has occurred or is occurring, he may request the offender state his name and address.
Whoever, upon such request, refuses to state his name and address may be arrested without a warrant, or if he states a false name and address or a name and address which is not his name and address in ordinary use, shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars. Such officer may, as an alternative to instituting criminal proceedings, forthwith give to the offender a written notice to appear before the clerk of the district court having jurisdiction at any time during office hours, not later than twenty-one days after the date of such violation.
Chapter 131: Section 5. Open seasons; rules and regulations. ($50 fine for hunting out of season)
Except as provided in rules and regulations made under authority of this section, and except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a person shall not fish, hunt or trap or have in his possession any fish, bird, reptile, amphibian, mammal or carcass or part thereof, but this section shall not be construed to prohibit the hunting, taking or possession of any English sparrow, crow, jay, starling, chipmunk, fox, flying squirrel, red squirrel, porcupine, skunk, weasel, wildcat or woodchuck whenever such hunting, taking or possession is otherwise lawful.
Chapter 131: Section 11. Licenses; requirements; fees; trapper training courses. ($50 fine)
A person shall not fish in any inland waters of the commonwealth, unless he is a minor under fifteen years of age, nor hunt or trap any bird or mammal except as otherwise provided in sections four, fourteen, fifteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-three and thirty-seven without first having obtained a sporting, hunting, fishing, or trapping license.
Chapter 131: Section 13. Construction of licensing laws; archery or primitive firearm season on deer; migratory waterfowl season; certificates for veterans hospitals and schools for mentally retarded. ($50 fine for no stamp)
A person shall not hunt deer during the exclusive archery season on deer nor during the exclusive primitive firearm season on deer as established by the director unless he has obtained from the director, his authorized agents or from a city or town clerk and has attached to the back of his hunting or sporting license, in the manner provided by the director, a stamp authorizing him so to hunt. The director is hereby authorized to issue such stamps in such form as he may determine and require such records be kept as he may deem necessary.
A person shall not hunt migratory waterfowl within the commonwealth or its coastal waters during the open season on waterfowl as established by the director unless he has first obtained from the director, his authorized agents or from a city or town clerk, a Massachusetts waterfowl stamp authorizing him so to hunt. Said stamp shall be signed across the face by the bearer, shall not be transferable and shall be carried at all times upon the person while hunting migratory waterfowl. The director is hereby authorized to issue such stamp in such form as he may prescribe.
Chapter 131: Section 35. Failure to carry license or wear it in visible manner.
The provisions of section thirty-four, except as hereinafter provided, shall not apply to any holder of a sporting, hunting, fishing or trapping license who violates section twelve in that he fails to carry such license on his person and wear it in a visible manner on his outer clothing while fishing, hunting or trapping; provided, that he furnishes definite proof to the person demanding production of his license for inspection, as authorized in section thirty-two, that he is the holder of a valid license. In the event that the holder of such license fails to carry it on his person and wear it in a visible manner, he shall for his first offence be reported to the director of law enforcement; upon his second such offence, his license shall be surrendered and shall be suspended for a period of thirty days from the date of the notice of his second offence, after which it will be returned to him by said director; and upon a subsequent offence his license shall be subject to the provisions of section thirty-four. A person shall surrender such license on demand of any officer empowered to enforce this chapter.
Chapter 131: Section 57. Sundays. ($50 fine)
Every Sunday shall be a closed season. Except as otherwise provided in sections four, thirty-one and thirty-seven, a person, on Sunday, shall not hunt any bird or mammal or carry on that day on his person a rifle, shotgun or bow and arrow or, unless otherwise permitted by law, a pistol or revolver, in any place where birds or mammals might be found. This section shall not render unlawful the possession or carrying of a rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver or bow and arrow, for the purpose of using the same on a skeet, trap or target range, nor for the purpose of using the same for sport target shooting at artificial targets by an owner or lessee, or his guest, upon his own or leased property, or by members or guests of clubs or associations on supervised firing ranges, nor shall it prohibit the taking of mammals by means of traps, nor the training of falcons or protected species, nor the exercising of such falcons as regulated by the director.
Chapter 131: Section 58. Shooting upon or across highway; hunting near dwelling. ($100 fine)
A person shall not discharge any firearm or release any arrow upon or across any state or hard surfaced highway, or within one hundred and fifty feet, of any such highway, or possess a loaded firearm or hunt by any means on the land of another within five hundred feet of any dwelling in use, except as authorized by the owner or occupant thereof.
Chapter 131: Section 59. Reservations, parks, public lands; hunting; state forests. ($50 fine)
A person shall not hunt, or in any manner molest or destroy, any bird or mammal within the boundaries of any reservation, park or common, or any land owned or leased by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, or any land held in trust for public use; except that the authorities or persons having the control and charge of such reservations, parks, commons or other lands, may, with such limitations as they deem advisable, permit the hunting, within said boundaries during the applicable open season of any birds or mammals. The authorities or persons having the control and charge of such reservations, parks, commons or land owned or leased or held for public use, the director of law enforcement, his deputy directors of enforcement, chiefs of enforcement, deputy chiefs of enforcement, environmental police officers, deputy environmental police officers, wardens and members of the state police in areas over which they have jurisdiction and all officers qualified to serve criminal process shall enforce this section.
Chapter 131: Section 87. Arrest without warrant; seizures and forfeitures.
The director of law enforcement, his deputy directors of enforcement, chiefs of enforcement, deputy chiefs of enforcement, environmental police officers and deputy environmental police officers, wardens and members of the state police in areas over which they have jurisdiction and all other officers qualified to serve criminal process may arrest without a warrant any person found violating any provision of this chapter or of any ordinance, rule or regulation made under authority thereof, or other general or special law relating to fish, birds, mammals or dogs, and may seize any fish, birds or mammals unlawfully taken or held, which shall be forfeited to the commonwealth and disposed of by the said director for the best interest of the commonwealth. Wardens shall enforce the laws relating to fish, birds and mammals. Any of the foregoing persons authorized to arrest without a warrant may, in the performance of their duties, enter upon and pass over private lands, whether or not covered by water.