8/12/11 Update: VICTORY!
Muzzleloader Regulation Change Now Official
A regulation change allowing deer hunters to use a hinge or break-open action muzzleloader during the primitive firearms season for deer has officially been enacted and will be in effect for the 2011 deer season. Previously, this type of muzzleloader was prohibited from use during primitive firearms deer season. The 2011 Primitive Firearms season for deer begins on December 12 and ends on December 31. Deer hunters are reminded that all blackpowder guns used during this season must load from the muzzle. After a review by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and a Public Hearing held in the spring, the Fisheries and Wildlife Board approved the regulation change in April of 2011. The regulatory change became official when it was published in the Massachusetts Register and the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) by the Secretary of the Commonwealth this summer.
Last year GOAL approached the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) to repeal the regulatory restrictions on the use of break open style muzzleloaders for the muzzleloading hunting season on deer. On Thursday, April 21, 2011 the DFW seven person board unanimously voted to amend the regulations. This change should officially take place well in advance of the 2011 hunting season. The Division should be sending out an official notice on this change shortly.
Congratulations to GOAL members for another success!
Defining Muzzle Loader Regulations
For many years hunters have been confused about what kind of muzzle loading firearms can be used in Massachusetts. Most of the confusion stems from the current regulations banning the use of so-called break open action style muzzle loaders during the primitive arms portion of the deer season. The issue is only more confusing because the regulations allow the use of break opens during the shotgun season, but not the primitive season.
There is also a lot of confusion about what exactly is a break open action. Many hunters confuse these with drop blocks, rolling blocks and others. These unknowns have left many hunters very concerned over what exactly they can legally use and possess in the field.
To help ease the concerns of hunters and law enforcement, GOAL has formally requested that the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) Board review the current regulations. On February 3, 2010, GOAL sent the following letter to the Board’s chair.
At the Board’s February 23, 2010 meeting GOAL’s letter was read into the record by Chairman George Darey. During the meeting the Board took a unanimous vote to have the DFW staff review the regulations and present the Board with a recommendation. It is our hope the DFW addresses the matter in time for the 2010 muzzle loader season.
February 3, 2010
Chairman George Darey
Fisheries and Wildlife Board
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
1 Rabbit Hill Road
Westborough, MA 01581
RE: Regulatory restrictions on so-called break open style muzzleloaders
Dear Chairman Darey,
On behalf of the thirteen (plus) thousand members of Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL) I would like to request that the Fisheries and Wildlife Board review the current regulations regarding the use of certain muzzleloaders for hunting within the Commonwealth. Specifically, GOAL would urge the Board to remove the restrictions on the use of so-called “break open action” style muzzleloaders.
Over the last decade many manufacturers of muzzle loading firearms have produced high quality variations of the “break open action”. Because of the current regulatory restrictions, many hunters are often confused about and/or unaware of what types of muzzleloaders are legal in Massachusetts during deer season.
On behalf of our members, I would greatly appreciate it if the Board could take up this matter as soon as possible so that the restrictions are removed prior to the 2010 deer season.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter and as always if GOAL can be of any assistance on this or any other issue please do not hesitate to contact us.
James L. Wallace
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