Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Massachusetts [Yes, But Why]

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Imagine sitting on the park bench to enjoy your lunch. Suddenly pigeons attack you. Your first instinct must be to shoo it away. What if you find it is illegal to scare off the pigeon in the state? Massachusetts is one of the oldest states in the US. According to the law, you cannot scare pigeons in Massachusetts. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in Massachusetts?  

Yes. It is illegal to kill pigeons in Massachusetts. As per the laws, no one can frighten or kill a pigeon except for the landowners. Pigeon infestation is a common issue in Massachusetts. State authorities allow the killing of sky rodents.  

The state has strict rules for the protection of wild birds. Continue reading to learn more details on pigeon killing and hunting in Massachusetts.  

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Massachusetts?  

It is illegal to hunt Mourning doves and king pigeons in Massachusetts. Mourning doves are common in the country during the season. Therefore, many states in the USA allow the hunting of Mourning doves. Altogether it is legal to hunt Mourning doves in 41 states except for Massachusetts.  

Unlike other pigeons, king pigeons are heavy and sit in one place for a long time. The state does not allow the hunting of king pigeons unless they are a source of disturbance and annoyance to the landowners.  The only pigeon species you can shoot and hunt in Massachusetts are Band-tailed pigeons and Common ground doves.  

Even though the state has strict rules regarding pigeon hunting, you can still find pigeon meat from the local stores. Hunting pigeons specifically for eating purposes is illegal unless you have a license. Pigeon meat is rich in protein. If you want to eat pigeon meat, buy it from a local superstore or restaurant rather than go for a hunt.

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Massachusetts?  

It is illegal to hunt Mourning doves in Massachusetts as per the law. Mourning doves are part of Migratory pigeons. According to the USA Migratory pigeon treaty act 1918, it is illegal to trap, kill, capture, shoot or hunt Migratory birds.

Massachusetts has some different laws than the other states. In Massachusetts state, hunting pigeons is not illegal but hurting or even frightening them is not allowed. Therefore, the state does not allow the hunting of king pigeons unless it becomes a nuisance. These rules also apply to the other common pigeons in Massachusetts.

Hunting pigeons for no valid reason is illegal. But you can have access to pigeon meat in the state. Selling pigeon meat requires a permit from the authorities. Therefore to save yourself from all the hassle, it is better to purchase it. Eating feral pigeons is not safe as they carry many disease-causing organisms.  

Are You Allowed To Kill Pigeons In Your Garden In Massachusetts?

Yes. Massachusetts states allow killing pigeons in your garden. The federal authorities protect wild pigeons but permit the killing of nuisance sky rodents. Pigeons might seem like harmless birds. But they are the cause of disturbance and annoyance to many landowners. 

Shooting pigeon is legal but harming pigeon eggs and nests without any valid reason is not only a crime but inhumane as well. For killing pigeons within residential areas, it is better to use poison and lethal traps. It is not legal to shoot pigeons within 500 meters of a dwelling. Farmers and other agricultural landowners can shoot pigeons only when there is no livestock nearby. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Massachusetts State

Hunting License and Age

The hunting license age in Massachusetts is above 12. People 12 to 15 can only observe the hunting and be on the field with an adult hunter. The legal hunting age is from the age of 16 to 17.

The young under-age hunters purchase a Minor hunting license before participating in the hunting season. An adult above 18 possessing a hunting license must supervise the Minor hunters. The hunting license is available on the official Massachusetts wildlife official website. You can also purchase it through the agent.  

Hunting Weapons

The legal hunting methods are shooting and archery. Hunters can only use shotguns no longer than ten gauges. It is illegal to use BB guns or pellet guns to shoot pigeons. Shotguns can hold up to three shells at one time.  

The archery equipment is a bow and arrow. Hunters cannot use poisonous arrows and explosives tips. The archery bows of 28 inches must weigh 40 lbs, and the blades must not be broadhead.

Hunting Hours

Hunting hours for migratory pigeons begin half an hour before sunrise and end half an hour after sunset. The state allows shooting pigeons on private property at any time of the day before sunset.

Landowner Permission

To hunt pigeons on private land, you will need permission from the landowner. Taking over someone else land to hunt pigeons without a permit is trespassing, and you will face charges accordingly.

To access the private hunting areas write an application to the landowner and submit the signed copy to the wildlife authorities. Authorities will issue you a permit that you must carry at the time of hunting.

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Massachusetts State?

To hunt pigeons in Massachusetts, you need to follow the rules. These rules are to ensure hunters’ safety and for the protection of wildlife. Neglecting or going against the rules is a crime. Below are some pointers to assist you in hunting pigeons in Massachusetts. 

  • Take classes for basic hunting training programs online or physical classes at the wildlife authorities’ office. 
  • After completion of training, purchase a hunting license online or through an agent. 
  • Hunters must possess hunting licenses and permits on the field. 
  • Use legal and licensed weapons on the field. Hunters are allowed to use shotguns and archery equipment. The state prohibits hunting with rifles and handguns. 
  • For shooting on private property, take permission from the landowners by applying to the wildlife authorities. 
  • Use of traps, poisons, and decoys to attract pigeons toward the field. 
  • Never shoot pigeon nests or eggs. It is an inhumane act and illegal. 
  • Shooting pigeons within 500 meters of dwellings and livestock is illegal. 
  • Vandalism and destruction of property are crimes, and you will be charged accordingly. 
  • Nonresident hunters in Massachusetts can participate in hunting and obtain licenses as residents. But cannot purchase weapons. 
  • After hunting, collect all the targets and submit the count along with the specie type to the local wild authorities. 


Pigeon infestation is a common problem in the USA. Massachusetts state allows the killing of sky rodents. However, it is illegal to kill pigeons on private property without landowners’ permission. 

When there is a pigeon infestation inside a home or garden, you can use lethal traps and poison. Never use weapons within 500 meters of dwellings, barns, and livestock. The state organizes a hunting festival yearly. Hunters can register for Migratory bird hunting online on the wildlife authorities’ website. In Massachusetts, it is forbidden to hunt Mourning doves and king pigeons.