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General Hunting Provisions

To hunt means to pursue, catch, take, kill or harvest wild birds and wild animals (wild by nature, whether or not bred or reared in captivity including any physical part of that species of mammal or bird) or attempt to catch, take, kill or harvest wild animals or wild birds.

Unlawful conduct: The hunting, possession, transporting of any species of wild animal or wild bird, or parts thereof, for which an open hunting season is not specifically provided, and except as provided in the fish and wildlife laws, is unlawful. It is also unlawful to take, possess or needlessly destroy the nest or eggs of any wild bird.

Buying and selling wild animals and wild birds: It is unlawful to buy or sell any wild bird, wild turkey, deer, bear, or moose except:

  • Plumage of legally taken wild birds (excluding migratory waterfowl) may be bought or sold as provided by Federal law;*
    * The plumage of migratory waterfowl may only be bought or sold as provided by Federal Law (see 50CFR §§20.91).
  • The head, hide, antlers, and feet of lawfully possessed deer and head, hide, antlers, feet and bones of moose may be bought or sold;
  • The head, hide, teeth, gall bladder, and claws of lawfully possessed bear may be bought or sold.

Night hunting: Except as otherwise provided, wild birds and wild animals may not be hunted from ½ hour after sunset until ½ hour before sunrise the following day. Exceptions: migratory bird, wild turkey, raccoon (see below), and coyote.

Raccoon hunting: Raccoons may be hunted at night during the open season only when the hunter:

  1. is accompanied by a dog;
  2. uses an electric flashlight to locate raccoons that are treed, or held at bay by a dog or dogs, and;
  3. 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.


Shooting within 100 yards of dwelling: It is unlawful to discharge any firearm, including muzzleloading firearms, or crossbow within 100 yards of a building without permission from the owner, or in the owners absence, an adult occupant who dwells in that location. Building means any residential, commercial, retail, educational, religious or farm structure that is designed to be occupied by people or domesticated animals or is being used to shelter machines or harvested crops.

Shooting from a motor vehicle or motorboat or possessing a loaded firearm or crossbow in or on a motor vehicle: It is unlawful to shoot while in or on a motor vehicle or motorboat or have a loaded firearm or crossbow while in or on a motor vehicle, trailer, or other type of vehicle being hauled by a motor vehicle except as specifically allowed.

  • Persons who hold a valid Maine permit to carry a concealed weapon may carry a loaded pistol or revolver in a motor vehicle.
  • Paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may shoot from motor vehicles that are not in motion.
  • Migratory waterfowl may be hunted from a motorboat in accordance with federal regulations.
  • A person may shoot from a motorboat if that boat is not being propelled by the motor except as allowed in dispatching crippled waterfowl under power. The wanton waste law allows you to shoot cripples under power on those coastal waters and all waters of rivers and streams lying seaward of the first upstream bridge.

Note: A loaded clip may be carried in a motor vehicle, but it must not be inserted in, or attached to, a firearm; a crossbow may be carried as long it is not cocked and armed; a muzzleloading firearm is considered to be loaded only if charged with powder, lead and a primed ignition device or mechanism.

Possession of hunting equipment on Sunday: Possession of hunting equipment in the fields and forests or on the waters or ice of this State on Sunday is prima facie evidence of a violation of §11205 (Sunday hunting) unless: the hunting equipment is carried, securely wrapped in a complete cover, fastened in a case, or carried in at least 2 separate pieces in such a manner that it cannot be fired unless the separate pieces are joined together. For the purpose of this paragraph, a clip, a magazine, or a cylinder of a firearm shall not be considered a piece of the firearm. Bows and arrows must be kept in a case or cover if broadheads or field points are kept attached to the arrows (10501 §9).

A person may possess hunting equipment on Sunday for legitimate activities such as target practice, sighting in rifles, etc.

For example, it is lawful for a person to possess a firearm for the purpose of target practice in a gravel pit that is located in a wooded area on a Sunday. A game warden may ask the person to explain the purpose of possessing the hunting equipment (the firearm). Once the warden’s observations, and the explanation given by that person, indicate that they were in fact target practicing, and absent any further evidence of hunting on Sunday; then that will normally satisfy the game warden.

Shooting from or over a public paved way: A person is guilty of hunting from or over a public paved way if that person shoots at any wild animal or wild bird from any public paved way or within 10 feet of the edge of the pavement of the public paved way or from within the right-of-way of any controlled access highway or discharges any firearm or crossbow over a public paved way (any road treated with bituminous or concrete material).

Airborne hunting: A person on the ground or airborne may not use aircraft to aid or assist in hunting big game (deer, bear, moose).

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

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

Firearms on school property: Possession of a firearm or crossbow on public school property or discharging one within 500 feet of school property, except as used in supervised educational programs or by law enforcement officials, is a violation of Title 20-A Section 6552.



Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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