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These pages are for informational resources only, and may not reflect changes in effect since they were created. We try very hard to keep them up to date, but we take no responsability for any inaccurate information. It is always good policy to get the latest Maine State law books before doing any hunting in Maine.

Buy fishing and hunting licenses online: https://www.maine.gov/online/moses/

GENERAL HUNTING PROVISIONS

TO HUNT means to hunt for, pursue, molest, shoot, catch, take, kill wound or destroy wild birds and wild animals.

SUNRISE and SUNSET means the time computed and established for sunrise and sunset for Augusta, Maine, by the Nautical Almanac Office of the United States Naval Observatory, converted to the legal standard of time in force in this State on that day.

WILD ANIMAL or WILD BIRD means a species of mammal or bird which is wild by nature, whether or not bred or reared in captivity and includes any physical part of that species of mammal or bird.

1. Closed season. There is a closed season for the hunting of any species of wild animal or wild bird for which an open hunting season is not specifically provided.

2. Closed season violation. It is unlawful to hunt any wild animal or wild bird during the closed season on that species or possess any wild animal or wild bird taken during the closed season on that species.

3. Unlawful conduct. It is unlawful to hunt, possess, or transport any wild animal or wild bird, or parts thereof, except as provided in the fish and wildlife laws.

4. Eagles. It is unlawful to hunt or possess any eagle or parts thereof.

5. Caribou. It is unlawful to hunt possess any caribou. (NOTE: Violation punishable by a $10,000 fine and 3 months jail sentence).

6. Night hunting and twilight hunting. It is unlawful to hunt wild birds from sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise. It is unlawful to hunt wild animals from 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise, except raccoons. During the open firearm season on deer, all hunting must cease at sunset, except raccoon hunting.

7. Raccoon hunting. Raccoons may be hunted at night during the open season only when the hunter meets certain requirements (see "Raccoon Hunting" under Laws Pertaining to Hunting Equipment).

8. Loaded firearm in motor vehicle. It is unlawful to have a loaded firearm in or on a motor vehicle or trailer, except as may be specifically allowed. (NOTE: A loaded clip may be carried in a motor vehicle, but it must not be inserted in, or attached to, a firearm).

a. Persons who hold a valid Maine permit to carry a concealed weapon may carry a loaded pistol or revolver.
b. For purposes of this law, a muzzle-loading firearm is considered to be loaded ONLY if charged with powder, lead and a primed ignition device or mechanism.

9. Illegal use of light. (See section on illegal use of lights under Laws Pertaining to Hunting Equipment).

10. Hunting from motor vehicle. It is unlawful to hunt from or with any motor vehicle, trailer or motorboat, except that migratory waterfowl may be hunted from a motorboat in accordance with federal regulation. (NOTE: Paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may hunt from motor vehicles which are not in motion).

11. Wild birds. It is unlawful to hunt, kill, possess, transport, buy or sell any wild bird, including migratory game birds, except as provided in the fish and wildlife laws. It is also unlawful to take, possess or needlessly destroy the nest or eggs of any wild bird.

12. Sunday hunting. It is unlawful to hunt on Sunday. (Possession of firearms in the fields and forests or on the waters or ice of this State or in a motor vehicle being operated on an unpaved road located in an unorganized township on Sunday shall be prima facie evidence of hunting unless the firearm is carried, securely wrapped in a complete cover, fastened in a case, or carried in at least 2 seperate pieces in such a manner that it cannot be fired unless the separate pieces are joined together again. For the purpose of this paragraph, a clip, a magazine, or cylinder of a firearm shall not be considered a piece of the firearm).

13. Hunting from paved way. It is unlawful to hunt from or across a paved way or within 10 feet of the edge of the pavement of the paved way including the right-of-way of controlled access highways, or discharge any firearm across a paved way. (PAVED WAY means any road treated with bituminous or concrete material). Possession of a loaded firearm on a paved way or within 10 feet of the edge of the pavement of a paved way or within the right-of-way of any controlled access highway is prima facie evidence of hunting.

14. Shooting of domestic animals. It is unlawful for any person, while on a hunting trip, to negligently, carelessly, or willfully shoot an wound or kill any domestic animal or domestic bird.

15. Hunting rabbits during deer season. It is unlawful to hunt rabbits with dogs during the firearm season on deer in Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo and Washington counties.

16. Hunting under the influence. It is unlawful to hunt while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.

17. Shooting within 100 yards of dwelling. It is unlawful to discharge a firearm within 100 yards of residential dwelling without permission from the owner or occupant.

18. Firearms on school property. It is violation of Title 20-A Section 6552 to possess a firearm on public school property or discharge one within 500 feet of school property, except as used in supervised educational programs or by law enforcement officials.

19. Destruction of property. It is unlawful to tear down a fence or wall, destroy any crop or leave open any bars or gate on another person's land.

20. Littering. It is unlawful to dispose of litter anywhere in this state except in areas or receptacles designed for that purpose.

21. Unlawful cutting of trees, etc. It is a violation of Title 14, subsection 2552, and Title 17, subsection 2510 if any person intentionally, knowingly recklessly or negligently cuts down or fells any tree without the consent of the owner of the property on which the tree stands.


LAWS PERTAINING TO HUNTING EQUIPMENT

1. Legal methods. Wild animals and wild birds may be hunted only by the use of firearms (not larger than 10-guage), hand-held bow and arrow, or by falconry. (Crossbows are illegal).

2. Shotgun to be plugged. It is unlawful to hunt any migratory game bird with a shotgun originally capable of holding more than 3 shells unless the magazine has been cut off, altered, or plugged with a one-piece filler (incapable of removal without disassembling the gun), so as to reducse the capacity of the gun to not more than 3 shells in the magazine & chamber combined.

3. Automatic firearm (a firearm that continues to fire as long as the trigger is held back). It is unlawful to hunt with or possess for hunting any automatic firearm.

4. Auto-loading firearm ( a firearm which reloads itself after each shot and requires a separate trigger pull for each shot). It is unlawful to hunt with or possess for hunting any auto-loading firearm which has a magazine capacity of more than 5 cartridges, unless the magazine has been permanently altered to contain not more than 5 cartridges. (NOTE: This provision does not apply to .22 caliber rimfire guns or to auto-loading pistols with barrel lengths of less than 8 inches).

5. Silencer. It is unlawful to hunt with or possess for hunting any firearm fitted or contrived with any device for deadening the sound of the explosion.

6. Illegal cartridges. It is unlawful to use, for hunting, cartridges which contain tracer bullets or explosive bullets.

7. Illegal use of lights. From September 1 to December 15, it is unlawful to use artificial lights from 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise to illuminate, jack, locate attempt to locate or show up wild animals or wild birds, except raccoons as explained below.

8. Raccoon hunting. Raccoons may be hunted at night during the open season only when the hunter is: a) accompanied by a dog; b) uses an electric flashlight to locate raccoons that are treed, or held at bay, by a dog or dogs, and; c) uses a rifle or handgun of no greater power than one which uses .22 caliber long rifle ammunition; said rifle to be loaded only when being used to dispatch a raccoon that is treed or held at bay by dogs.

9. Illegal devices. It is unlawful to hunt with the use of a swivel, pivot, or set gun, or any poisonous or stupefying substance.

10. Sale of illegal devices. It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale any swivel, pivot or set gun, or any poisonous substance for the taking of wild animals or wild birds, except rodenticide for orchard mouse control and gas cartridges for woodchuck control.

11. Bow and arrow hunting for deer. (See special archery equipment requirements under Bow and Arrow Hunting for Deer).


LAWS PERTAINING TO DEER, BEAR, & MOOSE MOOSE: Hunting allowed by permit only. Those receiving a permit in any given year are ineligible for permits in the next two annual drawings. For further information, contact this Department after January 1. Application deadline: April 30.

DEER: Hunting of antlerless deer is prohibited except by special permit during the regular firearms season and the muzzle-loading season.

1. Limit on deer and bear. It is unlawful to take or possess more than one deer or more than one bear in any calendar year.

2. Tagging and registration requirements: Whenever a deer or bear is killed, the person who killed the animal is required by law to follow certain procedures:

a. The person must immediately attach, securely, the appropriate tag portion of his hunting license to the deer or bear in such a way that the tag is plainly visible, or if the bear is taken by trapping, the trapper must immediately attach to the bear a tag bearing his full name, address, and trapping license number.
b. Except as otherwise specified, the person who killed the deer or bear must accompany the animal whenever it is moved or transported, and until the deer or bear has been legally registered, the animal must be kept open to view at all times during transportation.
c. The person must, within 12 hours, present the deer or bear for registration at a game registration station, except as follows:
  1. A person may, if necessary, leave an unregistered deer or bear in the woods for more than 12 hours, provided he notifies a warden as to the location of the deer or bear and the circumstances necessitating his leaving the animal in the woods.
  2. A person on a hunting trip in an unorganized township and staying at a temporary place of lodging may keep an unregistered deer or bear at that temporary place of lodging for a period not to exceed 7 days or until he leaves the woods, whichever comes first. (Does not require warden notification).
d. The deer or bear must be registered at the first open game registration station on the route taken by the person.
e. The person who killed the deer or bear must register the animal in his own name.
f. Prior to presenting a deer or bear for registration, it is unlawful for any person to possess, leave in the woods, or transport a deer or bear which does not have securely attached to it and plainly visible, the appropriate tag portion of his hunting license bearing his full name and address, or if the bear is taken by trapping, a tag bearing the trapper's full name, address, and trapping license number.

3. False registration of deer or bear. It is unlawful for any person to present for registration or allow to be registered in his name a deer or bear, including a bear taken by trapping, which he did not lawfully kill.

4. Transportation of deer and bear by residents.

a. A Maine resident may transport a properly registered deer or bear WITHIN THE STATE if he accompanies the animal, or he may have it transported without accompanying it by purchasing and attaching to the animal the appropriate transportation tag obtainable from game wardens. (Fee is $5.00).
b. A Maine resident may transport a properly registered deer or bear OUT-OF-STATE, or have it transported for him, by purchasing and attaching to the animal the appropriate transportation tag obtainable from game wardens. (Fee is $55.00 , except that no fee is required of residents who are serving in the Armed Forces of the United States).
5. Transportation of deer & bear by non-residents.

a. A non-resident, by virtue of his hunting license, may transport a properly registered deer or bear out-of-state if he accompanies the animal.
b. A non-resident may also have his deer or bear transported by transportation company.
c. A non-resident who has his deer or bear transported by anyone other than a Maine licensed transportation company must first obtain the appropriate non-resident transportation permit obtainable from game wardens. (No fee)
6. Hunting deer or bear after having killed one. It is unlawful to hunt deer after having killed or registered one during the open season of that calendar year. The same provision applies to bear.

7. Illegal possession of deer or bear. Except as specified, it is unlawful to possess a deer or bear, or parts of a deer or bear which has not been registered.

8. Possession of gift deer or gift bear. It is unlawful for any person to possess any part of a deer or bear which has been given to him unless each part is plainly labeled with the name and address of: a) the person who registered the animal; b) the party to whom it was given; and c) if transported by a 3rd part, the 3rd party.

9. Buying or selling deer or bear. It is unlawful to buy, sell, offer for sale, or barter a deer or bear or parts of a deer or bear. It is also unlawful to counsel or otherwise aid in buying, selling, offering for sale or bartering either of these animals or parts thereof. (NOTE: A person may sell the head, hide, antler and feet of any deer and the head, hide, teeth, gall bladder and claws of any bear which he lawfully possesses).

10. Other provisions pertaining to deer.

a. During any open hunting season on deer, it is unlawful to place salt or any other bait or food to entice deer or hunt from an observation stand or blind overlooking salt, grain, fruit, nuts or other foods known to be attractive to deer (does not apply to hunting from an observation stand or blind overlooking: standing crops; foods that have been left as a result of normal agricultural operations or as a result of natural occurrence; or bear bait that has been placed at a bear hunting stand or blind in accordance with bear baiting laws.
b. It is unlawful to hunt deer with the use of dogs, artificial lights, snares, traps, pivot guns or set guns.
c. It is unlawful to hunt deer with any firearm using .22 caliber rimfire cartridges, except that .22 caliber rimfire magnum cartridges are permitted.
d. it is unlawful to drive deer or take part in a deer drive. (TO DRIVE DEER means an organized or planned effort to pursue, drive, chase or otherwise frighten or cause deer to move in the direction of any person or persons who are part of the organized or planned hunt and known to be waiting for deer).
e. It is unlawful to hunt antlerless deer during the open firearms season on deer (including the special muzzle-loading season) without a special "Any Deer" permit.
11. Other provisions pertaining to hunting bear

a. It is unlawful to hunt for bear with the use of dogs during the open firearm season on deer.
b. It is unlawful to use more than 4 dogs at any one time to hunt for bear.
c. It is unlawful for a non-resident to use a dog or dogs to hunt for bear unless (s)he employs and hunts with a resident Maine guide. The total number of clients with a resident Maine guide may not be more than three. This section does not apply to non-residents who hold a valid Maine guide license.
d. It is unlawful for a person to harvest bear if without the permission of the person conducting the hunt that person kills or wounds a bear that is treed or held at bay by other person's dog or dogs.
e. The Commissioner shall establish a line of demarcation at least 200 yards from sites permitted or licensed for the disposal of solid waste. It is unlawful to hunt, trap, molest or harass bear or release dogs to hunt for bear within this area.
f. It is unlawful to present a bear for registration which has been field dressed in such a maner that the sex of the animal cannot be determined. Each bear must be presented for registration in its entirety, except for the viscera and rib cage, but the animal may be dismembered for ease of transportation.
g. Bait may not be used to hunt black bear unless:
  1. The bait is placed at least 50 yards from any travel way that is accessible by a conventional 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicle;
  2. The stand, blind, and bait areas are tagged by a 2"X4" tag bearing the name and address of the baiter;
  3. The bait is placed more than 500 yards from any dump or campground;
  4. The bait is placed more than 500 yards from an occupied dwelling, unless written permission is granted by the owner or leasee;
  5. The bait is placed not more than 30 days before the opening day of the season and not after October 31st;
  6. The bait areas will be cleaned up by November 10 as defined by the State litter laws; and
  7. The person hunting from any stand or blind of another person has permission of the owner of that stand or blind.
"BEAR BAIT" means any animal or plant, or derivative of an animal or plant, used to attract bear. "Bear Bait" does not include any packaging or container materials that fall within the definition of litter under Title 17.

LAWS PERTAINING SPECIFICALLY TO JUVENILES

1. Hunting Prohibited. Persons under 10 years of age are not allowed to hunt at any time.

2. Hunters to be accompanied. Persons 10 years of age or older and under 16 may hunt with firearms only in the presence of a parent or an approved adult who is at least 18 years of age. That presence must be unaided by visual or audio enhancement devices, including binoculars and citizen band radios.

3. Junior hunting license. Persons at least 10 years of age and under 16 years of age are eligible for a junior hunting license.

4. Trapping without license. Persons under 10 years of age are allowed to trap without a license.

5. Trappers to be accompanied. Persons under 10 years of age engaged in trapping activities must be accompanied at all times by a parent or an approved adult who is at least 18 years of age. Persons over 10 years of age and under 16 years of age who hold a junior trapping license shall be accompanied by an adult at all times while trapping, unless the holder of the junior trapping license submits proof of having successfully completed a trapper education course.

6. Licenses issued to 15 year olds. Trapping and hunting licenses purchased by juveniles who have passed their 15th birthday are valid throughout the year for which the license was issued.

HELP US STOP MAINE'S FISH & WILDLIFE LAW VIOLATORS-CALL OPERATION GAME THIEF AT
1-800-253-7887

Other Hunting Links

General Hunting Information - General Hunting Information

General Hunting Provisions - General Hunting Provisions

General Trapping Provisions - General Trapping Provisions

Hunting - Experience the Thrill of hunting Maine's White Tail Deer, Moose and Bear. Find out what everyone else knows about the wilds of Maine.

Hunting and Trapping License Fees - Hunting and Trapping License Fees

Hunting Seasons - Hunting Seasons

Laws Pertaining To Licenses & Permits - Laws Pertaining To Licenses & Permits

Moose Hunting in Northern Maine - Laws pertaining to Moose Hunting

Trapping Seasons - Trapping Seasons

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