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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XIX AGRICULTURE AND CONSERVATION
  • CHAPTER 131 INLAND FISHERIES AND GAME AND OTHER NATURAL RESOURCES
  • Section 1 Definitions; rules of construction

Section 1. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the following words shall have the following meanings and the following rules of construction shall apply:—

“Angling”, fishing with hand line or rod, with a hook baited with natural or artificial bait.

“Assistant”, any assistant to the director of law enforcement, appointed under section six of chapter twenty-one, or under section thirty of chapter five hundred and twenty-four of the acts of nineteen hundred and sixty-four.

“Birds”, wild or undomesticated birds.

“Closed season”, the time during which fish, birds or mammals cannot lawfully be taken.

“Coastal waters”, all waters of the commonwealth within the rise and fall of the tide and the marine limits of the jurisdiction of the commonwealth, but not waters within or above any fishway or dam nor waters above any jurisdictional boundary legally established pursuant to section five of chapter one hundred and thirty of the General Laws in rivers and streams flowing into the sea.

“Commissioner”, the commissioner of fisheries, wildlife and environmental law enforcement.

“Dealer”, any person who commercially handles fish, game birds or game mammals protected by this chapter.

“Department”, the department of fisheries, wildlife and environmental law enforcement.

“Deputy”, any deputy environmental police officer appointed under section 10A of chapter 21A.

“Director”, the director of fisheries and wildlife.

“Division”, the division of fisheries and wildlife.

“Environmental police officer”, an enforcement officer appointed under the authority of section 10A of chapter 21A.

“Falcon”, the female peregrine, but applied generally to the females of all long-winged hawks (Falconidae), and to all hawks trained to hunt game.

“Falconry”, the sport of hunting game with trained raptors.

“Fish”, an aquatic vertebrate animal of the osteichthyes class commonly known as finny fish, found in the inland waters.

The verb “to fish” in all of its moods and tenses, to take or attempt to take fish by any method or means, whether or not such method or means results in their capture; and said verb also includes every attempt to take and every act of assistance to any other person in taking or attempting to take fish, except operating a boat or assisting a person licensed under this chapter by cutting holes in the ice for ice fishing.

“Fur buyer”, a person who deals in raw furs.

“Game”, any wild bird or mammal commonly hunted for food or sport.

“Great pond”, a natural pond the area of which is twenty acres or more.

“Green pelt”, a pelt which has not been dried, cured or tanned.

“Hook”, any lure or device designed to take not more than one fish at a time.

“Horned pout”, all fish in the family Ictaluridae.

The verb “to hunt”, in all of its moods and tenses, includes pursuing, shooting, killing and capturing mammals and birds and all lesser acts such as disturbing, harrying or worrying, or placing, setting, drawing or using any device commonly used to take mammals and birds, whether or not such acts result in taking; and includes every attempt to take and every act of assistance to any other person in taking or attempting to take mammals and birds.

“Inland waters”, all waters within the jurisdiction of the commonwealth other than coastal waters.

“Loaded shotgun or rifle”, any shotgun or rifle having a shell or cartridge in either the magazine or chamber thereof, or, in the case of a muzzle loading shotgun or rifle, containing powder in the flash pan, a percussion cap and shot or ball.

“Mammals”, wild or undomesticated mammals.

“Management”, the collection and application of biological information for the purpose of obtaining optimum levels of wildlife within an ecosystem and maintaining those levels. The term includes, but is not limited to, research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition, preservation and maintenance, propagation, live trapping and transplantation, education and other activities effective in encouraging better conservation of wildlife in the commonwealth. This term also includes, when and where appropriate, the periodic or total protection of a species or population, as well as regulated taking.

“Marine fisheries”, all fisheries in coastal waters.

“Nature preserve”, an area of land that: retains or has recovered to a substantial degree its natural or primeval character; provided, however, that it need not be completely undisturbed; has native floral, faunal or ecological features of scientific or educational interest; or is necessary for the protection of land so described.

“Nongame wildlife”, any nondomesticated animal not regulated by the division as a game species and any plant, native to the commonwealth, which is not classified as domesticated.

“Open season”, the time during which fish, birds and mammals may lawfully be taken.

“Propagator”, a person who propagates fish, birds or mammals.

“Raptors”, all birds found in the wild that are members of the order Falconiformes or Strigiformes, and specifically but not by way of limitation, falcons, hawks, owls and eagles.

“Taxidermist”, a person who prepares, stuffs, mounts or preserves fish, birds or mammals.

“Trap”, any device capable of taking, catching or holding a mammal or bird, whether in the set or unset position.

The verb “to trap”, in all of its moods and tenses, includes any act of staking out, setting, using, tending, placing, maintaining or picking up a trap where furbearing mammals or birds might be found.

“Warden”, any fish and game warden referred to in section three of chapter four hundred and thirteen of the acts of nineteen hundred and thirty-seven.

“Woodlands”, any land bearing wood growth, wood, weeds, grass or other growth likely to be burned over.

Whoever knowingly counsels, aids or assists in a violation of any provision of this chapter, or of any rule or regulation made thereunder, or knowingly shares in any of the proceeds of said violation by receiving or possessing either fish, birds or mammals, shall be deemed to have incurred the penalties imposed upon the person guilty of such violation.

Whenever the taking of fish, birds or mammals is allowed by law, reference is had to taking by lawful means and in lawful manner.

Unless the context otherwise requires, any reference to the taking or having in possession of a fish, bird or mammal shall include the taking or having in possession of any part or portion thereof.

The provisions of this chapter and regulations made thereunder, unless otherwise specifically provided, shall apply only to fish and fisheries in or taken from the inland waters of the commonwealth.

In construing this chapter, the provisions thereof forbidding possession of various species of fish, birds and mammals during certain periods of the year, shall not be held to prohibit a resident of the commonwealth who has lawfully taken, killed or come into possession of such fish, birds or mammals from having the dead bodies or carcasses thereof in possession for his own personal use and not for sale, unless prohibited by federal legislation or regulation so to do, but the burden shall be on him to prove that such possession was lawful in its origin; nor shall they be held to prohibit a person from bringing into this commonwealth the dead bodies or carcasses of fish, birds or mammals which were lawfully taken or killed in another state, province or country, or from having such fish, birds or mammals in possession for the aforesaid purpose after the arrival thereof in the commonwealth, unless, in either event, prohibited by federal legislation or regulation so to do, if before any such fish, birds or mammals are so imported they are tagged or marked in accordance with the laws of such other state, province or country and with the federal laws relative to interstate commerce, and if no more such fish, birds or mammals are imported at one time than is permitted by the laws of such other state, province or country to be exported therefrom; but the burden shall be on such person to prove that such possession was lawful in its origin.