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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.

GENERAL TRAPPING PROVISIONS
"TO TRAP" means to set, place or tend any trap within the fields, forests or waters of the State, to kill any animal that is caught in a trap or to aid or assist another person in setting or placing a trap, tending a trap or killing an animal that is caught in a trap.

"TRAP" means any device that is designed primarily to catch or hold wild animals, including, but not limited to, a foothold trap, killer-type trap, cage-type trap or a snare.

DISTURBING TRAPS.......It is a violation of law for a person to take or disturb any trap or any wild animal found caught in any trap without the consent of the trap owner. A landowner is entitled to remove traps found on his property if permission to trap has not been granted. Any person convicted of disturbing traps, in addition to any penalty which may be imposed by a court of law, will not be eligible to purchase any license issued by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for a period of three years.

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

2. Closed season violation. It is unlawful to trap 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 trap, possess or transport any wild animal or wild bird, or parts thereof, except as provided in the fish and wildlife laws.

4. Traps to be labeled. It is unlawful for a person to set any trap for wild animals without having the trap plainly labeled with his full name and address.

5. Written permission to trap. It is unlawful for any person to trap, except for beaver, on land in any organized or incorporated place, without first obtaining written permission from the owner or occupant. It is also unlawful for any person to trap, except for beaver, without written permission from the owner or occupant, on the following land in unorganized places: a) Cultivated or pasture land which is used for agriculture purposes and on which is located an occupied dwelling; and b) Land within 200 yards of any occupied dwelling (organized towns also).

6. Traps to be visited in organized places. A person who traps in any organized or incorporated place isa required to visit each trap, except under-ice water sets for beaver and muskrat, at least once in every calendar day, including Sunday.

7. Traps to be visited in unorganized places. A person who traps in any unorganized or deorganized place is required to visit each trap, except killer-type traps and water sets, so-called, at least once in every calendar day, including Sunday. Each killer-type trap or water set, so called, except under-ice water sets for beaver and muskrat, must be visited at least once in every 5 calendar days, including Sunday. (WATER SET means a trap set completely under water in such a manner as to reasonable ensure the drowning of any furbearing animal caught in the trap).

8. Animals to be removed. It is unlawful for a person to fail to remove any animal found caught in his/her trap.

9. Trapping in populated areas. It is unlawful for any person to trap outside his/her own land, within 1/2 mile of the compact, built-up portion of a city or village, except by the use of cage-type live traps and water sets.

10. Trapping close to muskrat or beaver houses, etc. It is unlawful to place, set or tend any trap within: a 10 feet of a beaver house, muskrat den or house; b) 5 feet of a beaver dam, or c) 4 feet of a beaver trap which has been set by another trapper.

11. Beaver trapping by non-resident. It is unlawful for a non-resident to trap for beaver in this State.

12. Advance preparation. It is unlawful to make any advance preparation on the trapping grounds for the taking of beaver or muskrat previous to the open season on these animals.

13. Pre-season trap placement. No person shall stake, hook, fasten or position a trap at any trap site location in the fields, forests or waters of the State prior to opening day of the trapping season.

14. Molesting muskrat or beaver house, etc. It is unlawful to damage, molest or destroy a beaver house, a muskrat house or den or a beaver dam.

15. Other provisions for trapping bear.

a. It is unlawful to set a bear trap unless it is enclosed by 2 stands of wire, one 2 and one 4 feet from the ground. The wire must be held securely in position not less than 5 yards nor more than 10 yards from the enclosed trap. The enclosure must be marked with signs bearing the words "BEAR TRAP" in letters at least 3 inches in height, and the signs must be spaced around the enclosure, securely attached to the top strand of wire, at intervals of not more than 20 feet. (NOTE: These provisions do not apply if cable traps are used).
b. No person may have more than 2 traps set for bear at any one time.
c. All bear traps must be visited by the trapper at least once in each calendar day.
d. Cable traps with a closing diameter of not less than 2-1/2 inches may be used in trapping for bear.
e. It is unlawful to catch a bear in a trap and allow another person to kill or register that bear.
f. It is unlawful to present a bear for registration which has been field dressed in such a manner 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.
16. Eels for bait. Licensed trappers may obtain a permit from the Commissioner to take not more than 20 pounds of eels annually for use in baiting traps.



LAWS PERTAINING TO TRAPPING EQUIPMENT

1. Traps. Wild animals may be trapped with common ordinary steel traps or killer-type traps. (NOTE: Killer-type traps include the conibear trap, so called, and all other traps of that type). Furbearing animals may be trapped with a common cage type live trap.

2. Killer trap restrictions. It is unlawful to use killer type traps with a jaw spread greater than 5 inches, except as follows:

a. Killer-type traps with a jaw spread of not over 8 inches may be used only if set completely under water or set at least 4 feet above the ground or snow.
b. Killer-type traps with a jaw spread of over 8 inches and snares may be used during the open season on beaver only if set completely under water.
3. Traps with teeth. It is unlawful, in WMU's 4,7 and 8, to use any trap with teeth on the jaws from the opening day of the trapping season to the opening day of the firearm season on deer unless the trap is completely covered by water.

4. Auxiliary teeth. It is unlawful to use auxiliary teeth on any foot-hold trap set on dry land.

5. Cable trap. Cable traps with a closing diameter of not less than 2 1/2 inches may be used in trapping for bear.

6. Pole trap. It is unlawful to use any steel trap on the top of a pole, constituting a device known as "pole trap", for the purpose of catching wild birds.

7. Snares. It is unlawful to trap with the use of snares except that snares may be used under water to trap beaver.

8. Firearms. It is lawful for a person who holds a valid trapping license to carry a firearm during the open trapping season for the sole purpose of dispatching trapped animals.


TRANSPORTATION AND TAGGING

1. Transportation of game by resident. Any resident may transport to his home any wild animal or wild bird which he has killed and which is legally in his possession.

2. Transportation of game by non-resident. Any non-resident may transport or have transported to his home by common carrier, any wild animal or wild bird which he has killed and which is legally in his possession.

3. Open to view and accompanied. Unless otherwise provided, any wild animal or wild bird transported shall be open to view and accompanied by the person who killed that animal or bird, except that a wild animal or wild bird transported for non-residents by common carrier need not be accompanied by the owner. (See special provisions under Laws Pertaining to Deer and Bear).

4. Unlawful transportation. It is unlawful to transport or offer for transportation any wild animal or wild bird except as provided in the fish and wildlife laws.

5. Transportation in closed season. It is unlawful to transport any wild animal or wild bird in closed season, except that any person who has taken any wild animal or wild bird in open season shall have a reasonable time after the beginning of the closed season to transport that animal or bird to his home.

6. Furbearers to be tagged. The raw skin of any beaver, bobcat, coyote, fisher, fox, marten, mink or otter must be presented to a warden or other agent of the Commissioner for tagging. All information requested concerning each skin must be reported truthfully and accurately. A fee of 25 cents must be paid for each skin tagged.

7. Fur to be tagged within certain time. The raw skins of the above named species must be presented for tagging within 10 days after the close of the open season on that species, except that the raw skin of bobcats taken during the hunting season must be presented for tagging within 72 hours of the time the animal was killed. (NOTE: Of the eight furbearing species which require tagging, only bobcat, coyote and fox may be taken by hunting).

8. Possession of untagged fur. It is unlawful to possess, sell, give away, buy, accept as a gift, offer for transportation or transport the raw skin of any beaver, bobcat, coyote, fisher, fox, marten, mink or otter unless each skin is tagged.

9. Imported fur. The raw skins of the above named species which are imported from any other state, country or province must bear the official stamp, tag or seal of that state, country or province. If that state, country or province requires no official stamp, tag or seal, each imported skin must be tagged in this State by the person in possession in the same manner as described in #6 above. (NOTE: Raw skins imported by taxidermists solely for taxidermy purposes need not be tagged).

FUR TAGGING STATIONS.......Fur tagging stations are located throughout the State. To determine the location of a fur tagging station in your area, call the nearest Warden Headquarters.

TAGGING OF FROZEN SKINS.......It is almost impossible to insert a fur tag into a frozen skin unless certain steps have been taken prior to freezing. If there is any possibility that your furbearer skins will be frozen at the time they are presented for tagging (whether skinned or in the round) would you please insert a popsicle stick, tongue depressor or similar object from the mouth hole through one of the eye holes prior to freezing. Removal of the stick or other object at the time of tagging allows the fur tag to be easily inserted in the skin without the need for partial thawing. Tagging agents may refuse to tag frozen skins which have not been prepared as requested above.

FEDERAL EXPORT PERMIT.......Federal law requires an export permit for any transportation of otter, bobcat, black bear and ermine, or parts thereof to points outside the United States. For further information and permit applications, write: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority, Room 420C, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203, Telephone (703)358-2104.


CLOSED AREAS

1. Deer. There is a closed season on deer in the following areas:

a.) Mt. Desert Island, all of Swan Island in the town of Swan's Island, all of Long Island in Long Island Plantation and all of Cranberry Isles - all located in Hancock County;
b.) Cross and Scotch Island - located in Washington County;
c.) The town of Isle au Haut and islands within that town - located in Knox County; and
d.) In wildlife sanctuaries, unless otherwise provide.

2. Isleboro. In the town of Isleboro, Waldo County, it is lawful to hunt deer only with bow and arrow from October 1 through the regular firearm season on deer in Waldo County.

3. Southport. In the town of Southport, Lincoln County, and on all islands within its confines, it is lawful to hunt deer with shotguns only during the regular firearm season established for Lincoln County.

4. Prout's Neck; Richmond's Island; Cape Elizabeth Sanctuary. Approximately 1,600 acres of this sanctuary (land in Cape Elizabeth owned by Sprague Corporation) is open to deer hunting with bow and arrow only during the special archery and regular firearm seasons established for Cumberland County. (NOTE: landowner permission is required).

5. Hunting and traping on wildlife sanctuary. Unless otherwise specifically provided, it is unlawful to hunt or trap any wild animal or wild bird or possess any firearm or bow and arrow within the limits of any wildlife sanctuary, or any area properly posted by the State of Maine.

6. Wildlife Sanctuaries & Wildlife Management Areas. Unless otherwise specifically provided, it is unlawful to hunt or trap any wild animal or wild bird within the following described territories:

  • Back Bay Sanctuary, Portland
  • Baxter State Park closed to all hunting with the following exceptions: The area north of Trout Brook in T6 R9; in T6 R10 or T2 R9 where hunting under General Law is allowed.
  • Beauchamp Sanctuary
  • Carver's Pond Waterfowl Sanctuary
  • Colby College Area, Waterville
  • Drake's Island Game Sanctuary
  • Dry Pond Sanctuary (Chrystal Lake)
  • Fairfield Sanctuary*
  • Glencove Sanctuary
  • Gray Game Sanctuary
  • Hog Island Game Sanctuary
  • Jefferson & Whitefield Sanctuary
  • Kineo Point Sanctuary
  • Lake Christopher Area, Oxford County
  • Limington, Hollis and Waterboro Sanctuary
  • Long Lake Area, Arrostook County
  • Lowell E. Barnes Area, Oxford County
  • Marsh Island Area*, Old Town, Orono - Penobscot County
  • Megunticook Lake and Vicinity Sanctuary
  • Merrymeeting Bay Game Sanctuary
  • Monroe Island Game Sanctuary
  • Moosehead Lake Game Sanctuary
  • Moosehorn Game Sanctuary
  • Narragansett Game Sanctuary*
  • Oak Grove Area, Vassalboro
  • Ocean Park Game and Bird Sanctuary
  • Orrington Game Sanctuary
  • Pittston Farm Sanctuary
  • Prout's Neck; Richmond's Island; Cape Elizabeth Sanctuary* (see exception)
  • Rangeley Game Sanctuary in Franklin County
  • Rangeley Lake Sanctuary
  • Rangeley Plantation Sanctuary
  • Readfield and Winthrop Sanctuary
  • Salmon Pond Sanctuary
  • Sebago Lake Basin Area, Standish, Windham
  • Somerset Game Sanctuary
  • Standish Sanctuary
  • Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary, Ellsworth
  • Thorncrag-Stanton Bird Sanctuary
  • Tomhegan Game Sanctuary
  • Wells Sanctuary
  • Wells & York Game Sanctuary
  • Willow Water Game Sanctuary
  • York Game Sanctuary, Franklin County
  • *Trapping allowed in accordance with the general laws of the State.
7. Gray Squirrels. It is unlawful to hunt gray squirrels on any land which is dedicated as a public or private park or on any land located within the limits of the compact or built-up portion of any city or town.

8. Haley Pond. It is unlawful to hunt waterfowl on Haley Pond in the town of Rangeley and Dallas Plantation, Franklin County.

9. Unity Utilities District. It is unlawful to hunt on the Unity Utilities District Property located on Route #139 and Prairie Road in Unity, Waldo County.


HUNTING ON LANDS UNDER JURISDICTION OF THE BUREAU OF PARKS & RECREATION

General hunting is allowed between October 1 and May 1 on lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Parks and Recreation with the following exceptons:

1. Hunting is not allowed in any Memorial or Historic Site.

2. Hunting is not allowed in Aroostook, Cobscook Bay, Crescent Beach, Ferry Beach, Quoddy Head, Reid, Sebago Lake, Two Lights and Wolf Neck State Parks.

3. Hunting is not allowed in Holbook Island Sanctuary.

4. Work areas and areas developed for public use will be posted and closed to hunting from time to time in the interest of public safety.

NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES

More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For additional information on federal refuge regulations, contact:

1) Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge (Baring and Edmunds Units), P.O. Box 1077, Calais, ME 04619; telephone (207)454-7161.
2) Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 279, Millbridge, ME 04658; telephone (207)546-2124.
3) Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, 1033 South Main Street, Old Town, ME 04468; telephone (207)827-6138.
4) Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, RR 2, Box 751, Wells, ME 04090; telephone (207)646-9226.
5) Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 280, Errol, N.H. 03579; telephone (603)482-3415.
HARASSMENT OF HUNTERS AND TRAPPERS.......It is illegal for any person to willfully interfere with the lawful hunting or trapping of any wild animal or wild bird, including the willful disturbance of wild animal or wild birds with intent to interfere with their lawful taking. (NOTE: This law does not limit the ownership use, access or control of property rights otherwise provided by law).


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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