Mass Audubon's Policy on Hunting and Fishing FAQs

Updated April 2022

Is Mass Audubon opposed to hunting and fishing?


What is Mass Audubon's position regarding hunting and fishing?

Mass Audubon has not assumed a position either for or against hunting or fishing. We do not oppose either, based upon sound scientific wildlife management principles if it is done legally and in accordance with the standards of good sportsmanship. Most of Mass Audubon properties are not destinations for significant sport fishing activity.

What is Mass Audubon's position regarding hunting on Mass Audubon owned properties?

Mass Audubon does not allow hunting on our properties except for programs that support specific ecological management goals. For the acreage under our care and control, this policy reflects the choice of Mass Audubon's Board of Directors and the majority of our members that these areas remain available first and foremost as wildlife habitat and areas for passive recreation. The acreage also offers year-round locations for the thousands of environmental education programs we offer each year.

Under certain circumstances (e.g. addressing overpopulation of specific animal species), we do consider ecological management strategies that include lethal control methods such as hunting. For example, we have determined that limited hunting is the only feasible method to reduce the very high density of white-tailed deer at Moose Hill in Sharon and Ipswich River in Topsfield. Get details on this program.

Why is there a difference in Mass Audubon's position regarding sport hunting and hunting on its own land?

As a private landowner, Mass Audubon believes that advancing our mission by generally not allowing hunting on land we care for and control is reasonable and fair in light of our management objectives, just as we respect the decision of other land owners who do permit hunting on their land.

Are these new positions?

Our general restriction on hunting is not a new position. A recent policy change permits the use of limited hunting to achieve specific ecological management goals. We have produced this list of frequently asked questions and answers to clear up misunderstanding and questions that we have received regarding our position and policy regarding hunting.

Is Mass Audubon's position regarding hunting different than that of other conservation organizations?

Mass Audubon's position recognizing hunting as viable outdoor recreation when conducted in accordance with the standards of good sportsmanship is similar to other New England and some national conservation organizations that own and manage land. Several other conservation organizations allow hunting on their land to promote ecological management or other objectives.

What is Mass Audubon's position on trapping?

Mass Audubon supports the Commonwealth's existing rules, regulations, and guidelines regarding trapping.

What is Mass Audubon's belief of the role of the sporting community as wildlife conservationists?

Mass Audubon recognizes and appreciates the sporting community's contributions to wildlife management and in conserving critical wildlife habitat, including thousands of acres in Massachusetts through their federal duck stamp purchases and fees collected from Massachusetts fishing, hunting, and sporting licenses. Additionally, time spent outdoors and especially teaching young people good conservation skills is invaluable.

Does Mass Audubon ever partner with the sporting community?

Yes. Mass Audubon has worked and continues to work with the hunting and fishing community on areas of common interest , including land conservation. Some examples include restoring funding for the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program,restoration of streams and habitat, and successful passage of the 2002, 2009, and 2014 Environmental Bonds, which provide funding for state land protection and other environmental programs.

Does Mass Audubon work with Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, the state's leading agency on fisheries and wildlife management?

Yes. Mass Audubon partners with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (DFW) on coastal waterbird protection, rare species protection, and planning for climate change, among other issues. The Massachusetts DFW is nationally recognized for its conservation work, including the BioMap which identifies high-priority areas to protect the native biodiversity of Massachusetts. Mass Audubon is proud to have such an effective state wildlife conservation agency, which manages more than 160,000 acres of land, and we look forward to continuing to partner with them on areas of common interest.