Post Content

""Winter is here, but your outdoor adventures don’t have to end.

Out in Massachusetts state parks, Wildlife Management Areas, and forests, there’s a winter wonderland just waiting to be explored.

Whether you’re into hunting, fishing, or camping, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) have resources to help you to enjoy the great outdoors all season long.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing can be a great way to relax and unwind — just bundle up, grab a thermos of warm soup, and drop your line. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) has a map of public ponds in Massachusetts to get you started. Pay attention to local restrictions — most but not all public ponds allow fishing year-round. You should do your own research, but some regulations and safety tips to keep in mind include:

Hunting

DCR allows hunting at many state parks, forests, and reservations outside Greater Boston. Wildlife Management Areas allow hunting and can be explored using the MassWildlife Lands Viewer. Check the most recent Massachusetts Guide to Hunting, Freshwater Fishing, and Trapping for full listings and dates, but a selection of winter hunting and trapping seasons include:

  • Snowshoe hares
  • Cottontail rabbits
  • Bobcats
  • Gray and red foxes
  • Beavers
  • Muskrats
  • Opossums
  • Raccoons

Restrictions regarding waterfowl hunting can be found in the 2015–16 MassWildlife Migratory Bird Regulations. If you plan to hunt geese or other permissible migratory game birds in January or February, you must visit MassFishHunt to register for the 2016 Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey.

Visit DFG’s webpage to learn more about hunting and trapping license types and fees. Before hunting, familiarize yourself with the applicable laws and regulations, as well as DFG’s rules of firearm safety and outdoor recreation safety tips. Dress warmly and ensure you are easily visible — wearing blaze orange is an effective way to reduce the risk of accidents.

Camping

With snow on the ground and frost on the trees, off-season camping has a rustic and adventurous quality you can’t find any other time of the year. For the determined outdoor enthusiast, DCR provides a list of available sites and schedules. If you decide to take on the challenge of off-season camping, you want it to be unforgettable for all the right reasons — remember these tips:

  • Choose the Option that Fits You — Know your limits and comfort level. Options range from bare-bones experiences to grounds with cabins and heated bathroom facilities.
  • Plan Ahead — Reservations are required for cabins at Mohawk Trail State Forest, Savoy Mountain State Forest, and Camp Nihan Environmental Education Camp. You may check availability and make camping reservations online or by calling (877) 422-6762. DCR strongly recommends that anyone interested in winter camping do a great deal of research and preparation beforehand, because additional or special equipment may be required. Always contact the park prior to your arrival — winter camping is subject to closure due to weather conditions.
  • Beware of Extreme Cold — Keep the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s (MEMA) safety tips for extreme cold in mind, and pay close attention to changes in the weather.

There’s no reason a little snow and ice should keep you cooped up inside. For more winter activity ideas, check out three ways to keep moving this winter.

What are your winter adventure plans? Leave a comment below or tweet @MassGov to let us know!

Written By:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recent Posts

How to Become an Environmental Police Officer in Massachusetts posted on Jun 28

How to Become an Environmental Police Officer in Massachusetts

Did you know that the beginnings of the Massachusetts Environmental Police can be traced all the way back to the 1600s? Early colonists saw the need for laws and regulations regarding fish, wildlife, and natural resource protection. Today, environmental police officers, also known as a   …Continue Reading How to Become an Environmental Police Officer in Massachusetts

Celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts posted on Jun 23

Celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts

As the state where the Boston Tea Party, Battle of Bunker Hill, and first shots of the American Revolution happened, Massachusetts is a special place to celebrate the 4th of July. Whether you’re looking for a free event for the family or a way to give back to America’s   …Continue Reading Celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts

Clean Beaches Week: 6 Ways to Protect the Massachusetts Coast posted on Jun 21

Clean Beaches Week: 6 Ways to Protect the Massachusetts Coast

Did you know that the Massachusetts coastline is long enough to run from Boston to Miami on Interstate 95? Learn how you can help preserve more than 1,500 miles of the Commonwealth’s coast during Clean Beaches Week, July 1–7. Read these helpful tips from the Office   …Continue Reading Clean Beaches Week: 6 Ways to Protect the Massachusetts Coast