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Hunting Information

National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

Cape Cod National Seashore


As described in the 2007 Hunting Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision, the following changes have taken place within Cape Cod National Seashore’s hunting program:

Hunting is prohibited within 500 feet of all bicycle and established nature trails in the National Seashore Areas within the National Seashore that are open to hunting are shaded green in this brochure. More detailed

maps are available from the park website at www.nps.gov/caco (click on Management, Laws and Policies), year round at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham, Nauset and Race Point Ranger Stations, and Park Headquarters, and from May to October at the Province Lands Visitor Center.

Hunting in Cape Cod National Sea


In accordance with the legislation creating Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS), and federal regulations, hunting is permitted for deer, upland game, and migratory waterfowl. There is no open season on non-game species.

Hunting is managed jointly by the Na- tional Park Service (NPS) and the Com- monwealth of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

With certain exceptions, hunting seasons and regulations are in accordance with Massachusetts State hunting regulations. This brochure describes the specific regulations that apply to hunting in CCNS. You are responsible for knowing both the state and federal regulations that govern hunting within CCNS.

Hunting is only one of the many recre- ational activities within CCNS. The Na- tional Seashore is used all year by

sightseers, fishermen, hikers, bicyclists, and others. There are many private resi- dences located within CCNS. To protect the public’s safety and to prevent conflicts between hunting and other National Seashore uses, the Superintendent has closed certain areas and time periods to hunting. Protect the future of hunting at CCNS by being considerate of others and by complying with applicable regulations and closures.


Other Regulations

The following regulations applicable to hunting within CCNS are in addition to Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife laws and Federal Migratory Bird hunting regula- tions:

All hunting is prohibited from March 1 through August 31.

Closed Areas: Hunting is permitted according to state hunting regulations except as further restricted by federal rules and regulations. Areas that are open to hunting are shown in green on the map in this brochure.

More detailed maps, showing open areas for hunting, are available for your review at the chief ranger’s office at CCNS Headquarters, Nauset and Race Point Ranger Stations, Salt Pond and Province Lands Visitor Centers, and on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/caco (click on Management, Laws and Policies).

Hunting or the possession of a loaded weapon is prohibited on or within 500 feet of established bicycle and nature trails. Discharge of a weapon toward or across any established bicycle or nature trail is prohibited.

Hunting or the possession of a loaded weapon is prohibited within 500 feet of any building, except as authorized by the owner or occupant thereof.

Running of dogs is not permitted except by licensed hunters actively engaged in hunting in accordance with federal and state hunting regulations during the open season for upland game and migratory waterfowl. All dogs must be properly licensed in accordance with state law. Except when used for hunting, dogs must be kept on a leash or be otherwise physi- cally confined. Dogs are limited to six per hunting group.

Trapping is prohibited within CCNS.

Weapons may not be carried, possessed, or used except at designated times and lo- cations where the taking of wildlife by hunting is permitted. Unloaded weapons may be possessed within a temporary lodging or mechanical mode of convey- ance when the weapons are rendered temporarily inoperable or are packed, cased, or stored in a way to prevent their ready use.

Target practice is prohibited except at established firing ranges.


The following definitions apply to the federal regulations cited in this brochure:

Hunting means taking or attempting to take wildlife, except by trapping.

Weapon means a firearm, compressed gas or spring-powered pistol or rifle, bow and arrow, crossbow, blow-gun, spear gun, hand-thrown spear, slingshot, irritant gas device, or any other implement used to discharge missiles.

Unloaded as applied to weapons and firearms means:

(1) there is no unexpended shell, car- tridge, or projectile in any chamber or cylinder of a firearm, or in clip or maga- zine inserted in or attached to a firearm.

(2) a muzzle-loading weapon does not contain gun-powder in the pan, or the percussion cap is not in place.

(3) bows, crossbows, spear guns, or any implement capable of discharging a missile or similar device by means of loading or discharging mechanism is not charged or drawn.


Rules and regulations applicable to hunting in the National Seashore are enforced by National Park Service rangers, state and local police officers, and state environmental police officers. NPS rangers have the authority to enforce both federal laws and state laws that have been assimilated into Federal law. NPS rangers have specific authority to check hunting licenses and permits, inspect weapons and hunting gear for compliance with equipment restrictions, and inspect

wildlife that has been taken for compli- ance with species, size, and other taking restrictions.

Marconi Beach Wildlife Management Area. An area containing about 1,200 acres of undeveloped land south of CCNS Headquarters is designated as the Marconi Beach Wildlife Management Area. This area is jointly managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Divi- sion of Fisheries and Wildlife and CCNS.

Additional rules and regulations, pub- lished by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, are applicable within this area. Hunters must review appropriate Massachusetts hunting regulations.

Reporting Accidents. All hunting acci- dents must be reported to state or local police AND to the National Park Service, which may be contacted by calling CCNS Headquarters at (508) 349-3785, or through local police.

Essentials of Safe Hunting

Careful adherence to the following essen- tials of safe hunting will prevent accidents and make your visit to Cape Cod National Seashore safe for you and everyone around you:

Know your gun. Be sure the gun and ammunition are in good condition. Sight in the gun before hunting with it.

Handle your gun properly. Treat every gun as if it were loaded. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Be sure of your target before you fire the weapon.

Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. Open the action and unload any gun which is not in use. Store hunting guns in a safe place.

Fulfill your responsibilities as a safe hunter. Follow the rules of safe hunting. Learn to identify game. Know and ob- serve the game laws. Be courteous. Con- duct yourself so as to promote friendly relations among hunters, landowners, and other park visitors. Insist that your com- panions observe these same rules.

General Regulations

Fishing is permitted in accordance with federal, state, and local laws. State and local licensing requirements apply.

Camping is prohibited except by permit (April 15-November I5) in the Self-Con- tained Vehicle Camping Areas on the beach, or in private campgrounds. CCNS does not operate developed camp- grounds.

Small fires are allowed by permit on designated salt-water beaches; beach fire permits are available at park visitor cen- ters or ranger stations. Permits are not required for stoves using manufactured fuels, or for charcoal grills when used in designated picnic areas or on sandy or rocky beaches bordering tidewater.

Parking of motor vehicles, motor homes, or trailers for overnight occupancy is prohibited.

Off-road vehicles are permitted only on designated routes from April 15 to No- vember 15. A permit is required.

Bicycle trails may not be used by persons on motorized vehicles.

Cape Cod National Seashore is administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. A Superintendent, whose address is 99 Marconi Site Road, Wellfleet, MA 02667, is in immediate charge. Additional information is available by writing the Superintendent, or calling 508-349-3785.


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