A black bear was shot and killed on a private residence in the western part of Massachusetts last month and the shooter is being faulted for it. This is obviously prompting questions of what you can and cannot do on your property when it comes to wildlife, black bears in particular.

The Massachusetts Environmental Police said that the unnamed Clarksburg resident was in violation of two things:

Hunting bear out of season, hunting with an improper implement (a shotgun), and hunting within 500 feet of a dwelling. -berkshireeagle.com

The shooting took place on Sept. 27, and the person was cited and fined.

2023 hunting season dates
First season: Sept. 5 – Sept. 23, 2023
Second season: Nov. 6 – Nov. 25, 2023
Shotgun season: Nov. 27 – Dec. 9, 2023

Bear Killing In Western Massachusetts Reminds Residents Of Law


Massachusetts law says that:

Under certain circumstances, landowners, tenants, members of their immediate families, or persons permanently employed by them may kill a bear that is caught in the act of damaging their property. -mass.gov

If You See A Black Bear on Your Property in Massachusetts, What Should You Do?


Black bears are definitely well established in Massachusetts from about Worcester and everywhere west of that. Bears do not go into hibernation until November. If you see a bear, do not run, but walk away slowly. Making lots of noise and not leaving a source of food for them is recommended for prevention of altercations with black bears.

Protect Your Livestock

  • Avoid pasturing animals in remote areas, areas with nearby heavy wooded cover, or areas with wooded gullies or other pathways which bears may use.
  • Do not leave carcasses of dead animals exposed in fields. You should bury or incinerate them.
  • Livestock feed attracts bears. Store feed in secure outbuildings protected by electric fencing or in a bear-proof container. Avoid feeding livestock in a confined pen which a bear may enter.
  • When possible, pen livestock in or near a barn at night. Avoid field-birthing if possible, or clean areas by removing any afterbirth.
  • Do not place supplemental foods nearby as a distraction. This can attract or habituate bears and is counterproductive.
  • Consider the use of guard animals.
  • Contact local bear hunters to hunt in your fields. The early September bear season coincides with the peak of bear-caused crop damage. Contact a MassWildlife District Office or a local sportsmans’ club to connect with bear hunters.
  • In some instances, permitted houndsmen may use bear hounds to chase bears away from livestock they are damaging. This relief may be temporary. Contact a MassWildlife District Office or the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 1 (800) 632-8075 for more information.

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