MA law and shooting gray squirrels with pellet gun

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The definition of “firearm” varies wildly depending on exactly which part of the MGLs you’re looking at.

ETA: I can’t say that air rifles DONT meet the definition of “firearm” as defined in 140MGL121, which is what’s referenced I. 269MGL12E (discharging a firearm within 500ft),but the fact that they have their own rules laid out in 269-12B makes me believe that 12E doesn’t apply.
Air rifles and bb guns are not firearms under Massachusetts law.

"M.G.L. c. 269, § 12B is the exclusive statutory regulation of air rifles an BB guns" Commonwealth v. Rhodes, 389 Mass. 641 (1983), see also Commonwealth v. Fenton, 395 Mass. 92 (1985).
 
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mac1911,

The way Waltham is settled, there is not a single area where the 500ft rule would not apply. Houses on houses. Our street just happens to sit right on the abandoned rail, so we have no immediate neighbors - but on the other side of the rail is another set of houses - maybe...250-300 feet or so. So even though an air rifle should not be subjected to the 500 ft rule per se, i would be violating another rule: 'shooting the air rifle across a public area'.

I also really do not want to be buying a hunting license because it just won't get me anything. Going to stand there with my orange cap in my own backyard waving the license to my idiot neighbor? Not a chance.
 

moojpg2

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I learned this the hard way when going after my woodchuck problem. Got a fat skunk Instead one night. I actually was able to load up the trap in the truck pretty easy. Skunk have shitty eyesight. Get an old sheet and hold it up in front of you and SLOWLY walk toward the trap. When you get close enough slowly drape the sheet over the trap. Grab the trap handle through the sheet and walk slow. I didn't get sprayed and the bed of my truck didn't even smell after.
That's what I did with the one I accidentally caught, did the tarp thing and released him by a wma. Don't really believe in killing something I'm not gonna eat. I used my old work truck, no way I was gonna let him spray my brand new (at the time) truck lol
 

moojpg2

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mac1911,

The way Waltham is settled, there is not a single area where the 500ft rule would not apply. Houses on houses. Our street just happens to sit right on the abandoned rail, so we have no immediate neighbors - but on the other side of the rail is another set of houses - maybe...250-300 feet or so. So even though an air rifle should not be subjected to the 500 ft rule per se, i would be violating another rule: 'shooting the air rifle across a public area'.

I also really do not want to be buying a hunting license because it just won't get me anything. Going to stand there with my orange cap in my own backyard waving the license to my idiot neighbor? Not a chance.
If you want to kill or harvest squirrels you need a hunting license, period. They are a game animal and there is a hunting season for them, which depending on what wildlife management zone you are in, might be open right now. Kill squirrels without a license and you are poaching and subject to fines and possible jail time. It is a criminal charge that will go on your record and could make you "unsuitable" to hold an LTC. Stop being cheap and get a hunting license like everyone else.
 
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Air rifles and bb guns are not firearms under Massachusetts law.

"M.G.L. c. 269, § 12B is the exclusive statutory regulation of air rifles an BB guns" Commonwealth v. Rhodes, 389 Mass. 641 (1983), see also Commonwealth v. Fenton, 395 Mass. 92 (1985).
Makes sense, I think it’s a good thing the court cleared that up because the way 140-121 is written doesn’t exactly make that clear.
 

babygorilla

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Love the discussion, really do. Yeah it sucks that I bought the gun, bought special pellets, sighted the scope, etc. I did take out a small number of the tree rats already and an exterminator would have been more expensive anyway.

Regarding the above post that said trapping is safer, yes I suppose. Even though my backyard does not actually abut any private property, it looks out on trees and behind that is an abandoned railway. My backyard is also sunk in so I have a natural 8ft backstop and then another 5 foot fence on top of that. it would have to be a REALLY errant shot to go anywhere other than the dirt/fence. Although, in fairness....I did snipe one right off the post, so then yes - they can go flying.

Regarding hunting and gray squirrels. I also called environment police and mass wildlife, those guys are just as confused as the police. EPO refer me to MassWildlife and they themselves have this fact sheet: https://www.mass.gov/doc/living-with-squirrels-fact-sheet/download

Fact sheet says: " LETHAL REMOVAL: Traps may be effective in removing squirrels within an attic or other confined space. Any trapped animal must either be relocated on the premises (within the property) or destroyed humanely; it is illegal to transport and release wildlife to another location. Shooting is quick, simple, and effective in areas where firearm discharge is safe and legal. A .22 caliber rifle or a shotgun with #6 shot or smaller is suitable. This method may be most effective when targeting a few persistent animals. "

This suggests we are allowed to lethally remove the squirrels, as in this case they are considered pests. They are even saying move elsewhere on the property - for example a private yard - and then shoot it! Even suggesting a caliber. Yet the EPO does not follow its own guidance and told me to call the exterminator or get a hunting license. But jeez, I don't want a hunting a license - I just want them to stop eating all my shit. So frustrating.

Btw guys, when I talked to mass wildlife, you need a trapping license to put out squirrel traps. The level of insanity has no limits.
So everyone who has traps outside and catches squirrels, technically breaking the law. Lib hell.
Trapping is only illegal if they are kill traps. Live traps are not. Kill traps require a special trappers license.
 

babygorilla

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If you want to kill or harvest squirrels you need a hunting license, period. They are a game animal and there is a hunting season for them, which depending on what wildlife management zone you are in, might be open right now. Kill squirrels without a license and you are poaching and subject to fines and possible jail time. It is a criminal charge that will go on your record and could make you "unsuitable" to hold an LTC. Stop being cheap and get a hunting license like everyone else.
MGL differentiates between harvesting for food and nuisance dispatch of animals.
 
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Makes sense, I think it’s a good thing the court cleared that up because the way 140-121 is written doesn’t exactly make that clear.
I agree. Luckily I was able to look it up in a criminal law source book that included case notes for violations of c. 269 § 10.

269 § 10(j) does carve out a narrow exception where bb/pellet guns are included in the definition of a firearm as it pertains to carrying on school grounds (exception upheld in Commonwealth v. Sayers, 438 Mass. 238 (2002)).
 
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I agree. Luckily I was able to look it up in a criminal law source book that included case notes for violations of c. 269 § 10.

269 § 10(j) does carve out a narrow exception where bb/pellet guns are included in the definition of a firearm as it pertains to carrying on school grounds.
Yeah, I remembered there was *somewhere* that air guns = real guns.

I’m also a little rusty, going on 8 years since I really gave a hoot about MA gun laws.
 

TLB

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I researched it recently when I had to take care of a woodchuck problem and the regs I read still state "humanely euthenize" and no mention of method.

How are you "pretty sure"? Did you read it somewhere official?
I read it on NES of course!

I did post a couple links in another post, but maybe it didn't get finalized.
 

moojpg2

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MGL differentiates between harvesting for food and nuisance dispatch of animals.
Yes it does but even licensed Problem Animal Control agents are required to hold a hunting license to euthanize with a firearm and trapping and euthanizing still requires a trapping license whether it is a problem animal or not. Unless he is on a farm protecting livestock he still needs a hunting or trapping license and trap registration number for the trap. If he doesn't want to go through all that himself he should just hire an animal control guy that has the proper licensing. It's not worth the headache. For those of us that already have hunting and trapping licenses we can deal with problem wildlife on our own with no risk of facing fines and penalties.
 

babygorilla

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Yes it does but even licensed Problem Animal Control agents are required to hold a hunting license to euthanize with a firearm and trapping and euthanizing still requires a trapping license whether it is a problem animal or not. Unless he is on a farm protecting livestock he still needs a hunting or trapping license and trap registration number for the trap. If he doesn't want to go through all that himself he should just hire an animal control guy that has the proper licensing. It's not worth the headache. For those of us that already have hunting and trapping licenses we can deal with problem wildlife on our own with no risk of facing fines and penalties.
Now you conflate those that do it for profit... SMDH.
The law allows you to live trap nuisance animals on your own property and does not forbid euthanizing. End of discussion.
 
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Sorry for your squirrel issues I hope the following helps

A few years ago there was a big squirrels problem on the Cape. Especially impacting the local Churches.

Several of the local Church leaders gathered to discuss possible solutions as the squirrels were causing a lot of damage to the Bell towers.

A Methodist minster said that they considered the Squirrel god’s creatures so the trapped them alive and set them free outside the Church but the immediately ran back into the Church.

A Baptist Minister also said they considered them God’s Creatures and trapped them live a released them 5 miles from the church, but two days later the same squirrels had returned.

The Catholic priest said they solved the problem and no longer have a squirrel problem.

The other two Minsters begged the Priest to tell them how he fixed the problem.

So the priest said we also considered them to be god’s creature so we captured them alive and baptize then Catholic.

Now they only show up on Christmas and Easter
 

HorizontalHunter

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I learned this the hard way when going after my woodchuck problem. Got a fat skunk Instead one night. I actually was able to load up the trap in the truck pretty easy. Skunk have shitty eyesight. Get an old sheet and hold it up in front of you and SLOWLY walk toward the trap. When you get close enough slowly drape the sheet over the trap. Grab the trap handle through the sheet and walk slow. I didn't get sprayed and the bed of my truck didn't even smell after.

I am 3 for 3 when it comes to skunks using this method. I just release them as there is no need to relocate them.

One thing I always do with a HaveAheart trap is to put a hook on the door so that it is quick and easy to lock it open. I just put a tarp over the trap and slowly hook the trap door open. The skunk can leave when it sees fit. It’s always gone by morning.

Bob
 
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You need to practice what the locals in Montana do with their wolf problem. The locals practice the “Rule of the 3Ss” - Shoot, Shovel and Shut up. A .22 pellet gun shot from inside the house works everytime. Open window keeping the muzzle inside the house and shoot. Very, very little noise outside. Worked everytime for me - no problems.
 
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You need to practice what the locals in Montana do with their wolf problem. The locals practice the “Rule of the 3Ss” - Shoot, Shovel and Shut up. A .22 pellet gun shot from inside the house works everytime. Open window keeping the muzzle inside the house and shoot. Very, very little noise outside. Worked everytime for me - no problems.
Beat me to the 3 sss. You’re a member for 9 years and have 31 posts? Wtf?
 

whacko

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I am 3 for 3 when it comes to skunks using this method. I just release them as there is no need to relocate them.

One thing I always do with a HaveAheart trap is to put a hook on the door so that it is quick and easy to lock it open. I just put a tarp over the trap and slowly hook the trap door open. The skunk can leave when it sees fit. It’s always gone by morning.

Bob
I was scared shitless when I did it. I learned they really can't see well. Me moving toward him with the sheet didn't phase him at all. I kept peeking over the sheet wondering when I was gonna get sprayed lol
 

MP-In-The-Wind

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I was scared shitless when I did it. I learned they really can't see well. Me moving toward him with the sheet didn't phase him at all. I kept peeking over the sheet wondering when I was gonna get sprayed lol

Yup...we learned that lesson while trying to trap some groundhogs...(note: close trap OVERNIGHT!) ....we'd walk up to it holding an old shower curtain and then open the trap....walk away slowly... Never got sprayed....
 

HorizontalHunter

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I was scared shitless when I did it. I learned they really can't see well. Me moving toward him with the sheet didn't phase him at all. I kept peeking over the sheet wondering when I was gonna get sprayed lol

You know that you are in trouble when they start doing their dance with their front paws.

Bob
 
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Why, NES isnt just for Ma. people......
If Derek PMs me and says “hey man, I need 35 bucks to keep the site up this month” then he’s got it. The only thing I miss is the members forum because there used to be some epic threads there. But I don’t need the classifieds and don’t need the forum. So little value to people outside of New England.
 
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mac1911,

The way Waltham is settled, there is not a single area where the 500ft rule would not apply. Houses on houses. Our street just happens to sit right on the abandoned rail, so we have no immediate neighbors - but on the other side of the rail is another set of houses - maybe...250-300 feet or so. So even though an air rifle should not be subjected to the 500 ft rule per se, i would be violating another rule: 'shooting the air rifle across a public area'.

I also really do not want to be buying a hunting license because it just won't get me anything. Going to stand there with my orange cap in my own backyard waving the license to my idiot neighbor? Not a chance.
Im a bit confused are you looking at taking shots beyond 100’
If you have a squirrel problem get a 22 cal air rifle at anout 600FPS head shot or splitting there shoulders they will drop darn near instantly.
Squirrels can do lots of damage when they want to.
 
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There's two paths that you can take on this. The first is buying a 22 pellet rifle with a suppressor as part of the barrel. This will give you the power that you need. If you shoot from inside your house its not that loud outside. The other path is buying a pcp air rifle with a suppressor in 25cal. This is even quieter and brings in more power. The other thing is to set up a bait trap. This way you will have a safe back stop. Once you kill enough of them the herd will start to thin out. Someone said earlier to check out Edgun Leshy on you tube and you'll see what I mean by a backstop. As far as the rifle that he uses yea that is very expensive. but you don't have to go in with something that expensive. their are cheaper options through airgun depot. You might as well have fun with this while eliminating a nuisance pest.
 
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There's two paths that you can take on this. The first is buying a 22 pellet rifle with a suppressor as part of the barrel. This will give you the power that you need. If you shoot from inside your house its not that loud outside. The other path is buying a pcp air rifle with a suppressor in 25cal. This is even quieter and brings in more power. The other thing is to set up a bait trap. This way you will have a safe back stop. Once you kill enough of them the herd will start to thin out. Someone said earlier to check out Edgun Leshy on you tube and you'll see what I mean by a backstop. As far as the rifle that he uses yea that is very expensive. but you don't have to go in with something that expensive. their are cheaper options through airgun depot. You might as well have fun with this while eliminating a nuisance pest.
Unless your going for increased yardage inside 30 yards 22 cal 13-15 grain pellet at 600 fps has 10-12 ftlbs of energy.
If the wound does not dispatch him the shock will.
I like the old school crossman 140/1400 pumper. Its my go to garden pest protector
 
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