Hunting Suspension Proclamation

Title: Hunting Suspension Proclamation

Date: October 23, 1920

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Context: With Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge out of state at a speaking engagement in Frederick, Maryland, Lieutenant Governor Channing H. Cox, in his role as Acting Governor, suspended hunting in Massachusetts in response to drought conditions and forest fires.

(Original document available here)


For the purpose of protecting property and conserving the forest and timber land of the Commonwealth, chapter 422, Acts of 1909, has placed upon the Governor in the following words the responsibility of suspending the open season upon the game in and near forest lands when in his opinion public exigency requires: —

SECTION 1. Whenever during an open season for the hunting of any kind of game in this state, it shall appear to the governor that by reason of extreme drouth the use of firearms in the forest is liable to cause forest fires, he may, by proclamation, suspend the open season and make it a close season for the shooting of birds and wild animals of every kind for such time as he may designate, and may prohibit the discharge of firearms in or near forest land during the said time.

SECTION 2. During the time designated as above by the governor, all provisions of law relating to the close season shall be in force, and whoever violates any such provisions shall be subject to the penalties prescribed therefor.

In view of the extreme drouth now existing, and in view of the large number of serious forest fires now raging, the Commissioner of Conservation, who is charged with the preservation of our natural resources, has urgently requested the exercise of my authority under the provisions of chapter 422, Acts of 1909, and I feel I have no other course open to me than to comply with his request.

It must be obvious to every public-spirited citizen that the damage arising from even the small percentage of fires started by hunters may be considerable, not alone in direct and actual monetary loss, but indirectly in the far-reaching and disastrous results through the destruction of useful birds, and by the deterrent effect upon labor and capital which is now being put into the development of forest woodland and orchard properties by individuals and by the Commonwealth.

I therefore consider that the public may be best served by suspending the present open season on hunting until a general drenching rain has quenched the present numerous fires and made conditions again favorable within the Commonwealth.

It is earnestly hoped that the present situation will continue for only a few days. It is expected that the Legislature will convene for a special session next month, and the Commissioner of Conservation proposes to ask the legislature to extend the open season for the number of days which it is now necessary to curtail it.

Upon the request of the Commissioner of Conservation, I hereby proclaim, as provided in chapter 422, Acts of 1909, that the open season for hunting is suspended in this Commonwealth until further notice.


Citation: Messages to the General Court, Official Addresses, Proclamations and State Papers of His Excellency Governor Calvin Coolidge

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Craig Eyermann who prepared this document for digital publication.

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