The Wildlife Protection Act of 1996

Question 1

The 1996 Wildlife Protection Act (Question 1) was passed by a 64% majority of Massachusetts voters and consisted of three sections:

1. It restricts the use, setting, manufacturing or possession of body gripping traps (such as leghold traps) to capture fur-bearing mammals;

2. It prohibits the pursuit or hunting of bear or bobcat with dogs;

3. It eliminates the requirements that 5 of the 7 board members of the DFW – the agency responsible for managing wildlife – must have held sporting licenses for 5 consecutive years and that 4 members must represent trapping, hunting and fishing interests.

Section one of this law is the portion that impacts how beaver problems are solved; this section was changed in July 2000. The entire section is found in M.G.L. Ch. 131 section 80A.  Additionally, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife regulations that accompany the law are important.

If you have any questions about the law, please contact the MSPCA’s Department of Advocacy at

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