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New Laws Enacted in 2013-2014

All laws become effective October 9, 2013 unless otherwise specified

During the 1st Session of the 126th Maine Legislature, Governor Paul LePage signed several bills into law that promote recreational activities in Maine and will help to ensure our fish and wildlife resources remain viable in the future. Below is a summary of the enacted laws pertinent to the upcoming hunting and trapping seasons.


An Act To Exempt Persons Who Serve in the Armed Forces from the Requirement To Take a Hunter Safety Course To Obtain a Hunting License

This exempts members of the armed forces, on active duty, who are permanently stationed outside of the U.S. and home on leave from the hunter safety course, archery hunter education course and crossbow hunter education course requirements. They need to show proof at the time they apply for the license that their home state of record is Maine. The next time the member wants to buy a license, if they do not meet the conditions above they must take the safety course.


An Act To Exempt Members of the Penobscot Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs from the Special Training Requirements for Archery and Trapping (Effective May 31, 2013)

This exempts members of the above mentioned Tribe, Band and Nation from the special training requirements for, archery hunter, crossbow hunter, and trapper education requirements. A member of any of the tribes listed above will be able to acquire their complimentary archery, crossbow and trapping license without having previously held these licenses and without having to pass the associated education course.


An Act to Increase the Number of Permits Available for Junior Hunters (Effective October 9, 2013 the next antlerless deer lottery will be held in summer of 2014)

It directs the commissioner to adopt an antlerless deer permit system that may give special consideration to junior hunters by granting at least 25% of the available antlerless deer permits in WMD’s when the junior hunter applies for a permit in that district.


An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Discharge of a Firearm or Crossbow Near a Dwelling or Building

This clarifies the original intent of the law by making it illegal to discharge an arrow from a bow or cause a projectile to pass as a result of a discharge from a firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow within 100 yards of a building or residential dwelling without permission from the landowner. The law also defines projectile as a bullet, pellet, shot, shell, ball, bolt or other object propelled or launched from a firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow.


An Act To Expand Moose Hunting Opportunities

Section 9 of the law guarantees a moose permit to any resident lottery applicant 70 years or older or will attain 70 years of age during the calendar year in which theresident is applying for the permit, who has accumulated at least 30 points in the lottery system and who applies for and is otherwise eligible to obtain the permit.

Section 9-A of the law will allow a person to decline a moose permit and continue to retain their points towards a future moose lottery when the permit is located in a road safety management district. For the 2014 moose hunting season the road safety management districts include: districts 22,23,25 and 26.


An Act To Expand Crossbow Hunting

  • On September 9, 2013 the Department re-examined the portion of this crossbow law that applies to 70 years of age and older. It was not the intent of the Legislative Committee to repeal this portion of the law. A person 70 years of age and older MAY continue to hunt with a crossbow for any wild bird or wild animal during any open season on that bird or animal including deer during the expanded archery season, the “October” archery season and the muzzleloading season and wild turkey during the fall season. The crossbow hunting laws pertaining to licensed hunters 70 years of age and older were in place prior to the enactment of P.L. c. 236 and will continue to be honored.
  • Although the law change appears to allow anyone to hunt with a crossbow for any wild bird or wild animal during any open season on that bird or animal while still following all the other laws pertinent to that species, the following exceptions apply:
  • Licensed hunters age 10-69 MAY NOT hunt deer during the expanded archery, special October archery or muzzleloading seasons or hunt wild turkey during the fall with a crossbow.
  • The law directs the commissioner to permit the use of a crossbow during the spring open wild turkey hunting season by rule. PLEASE NOTE: At the time of printing there were a number of wild turkey rules in the process. The final outcome of these will not be known until fall 2013. For the most current information on turkey hunting please visit IF&W’s website:

DISCLAIMER: Due to the conflict in the law the department has interpreted the meaning of this law to meet the IFW Committee’s intent. Proposed corrections to the law will be put forth in the 2nd session of the 126th.


An Act To Strengthen Maine’s Wildlife Laws (Effective June 18, 2013)

This law addressed several changes and clarifications in wildlife laws that the Department brought forth which included:

  • Changed the definition of migratory game bird by excluding doves which are also known as rock pigeons and excludes avocets, curlews, dowitchers, godwits, knots, oyster catchers, phalaropes, plovers, sandpipers, stilts, surf birds, turnstones, willet and yellowlegs.
  • Expanded the commissioner’s authority to regulate by rule the feeding of deer, bear, turkey and moose. The law prohibits feeding of deer or placing garbage or other attractants when the Department has reason to believe that it is causing a public safety hazard or may have a detrimental effect on the animal.
  • It addressed conflicts between bear hunters hunting over bait and hunters using dogs. A person cannot within 50 yards of a bait site and without written permission from the land owner hunt, trap, molest or harass bear or release a dog or dogs to hunt bear or train dogs on bear. A person also cannot disturb the bait site or interfere with the bait site in any other way.
  • Nonresidents cannot hunt bear with dogs unless they are now “in the presence of” a resident Maine guide. Previously they only had to hunt “with” the guide. “In the presence of” is defined in this law as visual and voice contact without the use of visual or audio enhancement devices, including but not limited to binoculars, citizen band radios or electronic communication systems.
  • While in or traveling through unorganized territories ruffed grouse shall be labeled with the name of the person who harvested it and the date taken before the next calendar day begins.


An Act To Simplify and Encourage the Sale of Hunting and Fishing Licenses and Permits (Effective June 21, 2013)

This allows any Maine resident to transfer their antlerless deer permit to another Maine resident hunter or any nonresident to transfer their antlerless deer permit to another nonresident hunter. The transferee must write their name and address on the permit along with any other information the commissioner reasonably requests. The permit must be returned to the Department prior to the start of the firearms season on deer so the transfer can be documented. The permit must be in the possession of the transferee when the antlerless deer is taken.


An Act Regarding the Buying and Selling of Animal Parts

This does the following:

  • If a person engages in activity that requires a hide dealer’s license without that license the penalty has been increased to a Class D crime and a $1,000 minimum fine for each day the law is violated.

This law clarifies language between two of Title 12’s existing laws: Buying and Selling Wild Animals and Birds and the Hide Dealer’s License requirement. It also adds language to the law on buying and selling wild animals and wild birds that prohibit the purchase, sale, offer for sale or barter of any physical part of a wild animal or wild bird, and it adds certain parts that may be purchased or sold, such as naturally shed deer or moose antlers and finished wildlife products, including but not limited to tanned animal hides, bear galls and taxidermy mounts. This does not further restrict the individual hunter or trapper from selling specific parts of legally hunted or trapped bear, moose or deer. For more complete information please see Title 12 Section 11217- 2.


An Act To Protect Maine’s Loons by Banning Lead Sinkers and Jigs

(Effective dates are specified below)

  • Prohibits a person from using a lead sinker (defined as weighing one ounce or less or measuring 2 ½ inches or less in length) and continues to ban the sale of and offering for sale of lead sinkers. [Effective October 9, 2013]
  • It also defines a bare lead jig as an unpainted lead jig that contains lead and weighs one ounce or less or measures 2 ½ inches or less in length. A bare lead jig meeting this definition may not be sold or offered for sale. [Effective date of 9-1-16]
  • Prohibits a person from using a bare lead jig. [Effective date of 9-1-17]


An Act To Prohibit the Placement of Cameras and Electronic Surveillance Equipment on Private Property without the Written Permission of the Landowner

This law prohibits a person from placing a camera or electronic surveillance equipment that records any images or data if it is left unattended, outside on the private property of another, without written consent of the landowner. If a person has written permission from the landowner, the camera or equipment must be labeled with that person’s name and contact information.

This law allows a landowner to remove or disable a camera or electronic surveillance equipment placed on the landowner’s private property if written permission has not been granted and/or the equipment is not properly labeled. The exceptions to this law are using a camera to deter theft or vandalism of a vehicle when the vehicle is temporarily parked or when using implanted or attached electronic devices to I.D., monitor and track animals.


An Act To Expand Wild Turkey Hunting Opportunities

This law will allow a hunter to take two turkeys without having to pay an additional fee for the second turkey [effective 10-9-13] and decreases the permit fees so that residents and non-residents alike pay $20 for a permit that covers both spring and fall turkey hunting [effective 1-1-14]. It will also reduce the fee to register a turkey from $5 to $2 [effective 10-9-13]. The legislature directed the Commissioner to adopt rules specific to wild turkey hunting. PLEASE NOTE: At the time of printing there were a number of wild turkey rules in the process. The final outcome of these will not be known until fall 2013. For the most current information on turkey hunting please visit IF&W’s website


An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Complimentary Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Licenses for Disabled Veterans

This allows a resident disabled veteran of Maine, who has a service-connected disability of 50% or more to be issued, upon application, and after meeting certain criteria a complimentary license to fish, trap, or hunt (including all necessary permits and other permissions, and upon meeting special qualifications, a guides license).


An Act to Amend Certain Provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Laws

This bill encompasses changes or clarifications within Title 12 that the Department brings forth each year.

  1. It allows a resident or member of the resident’s family who is domiciled on land to trap beaver on that land if it is owned and occupied by the resident and is used exclusively for agricultural purposes.
  2. It allows a resident who is in the military stationed outside of the State to get a trapping license for the cost of the license to the Department and allows the spouse and children of that resident in the military to get a reduced-fee trapping license.
  3. It re-defines the law on driving deer to read: a person may not participate in a hunt for deer during which an organized or planned effort is made to drive deer. Four or more persons working together to move deer constitutes an organized or planned effort to drive deer.
  4. A nonresident junior hunting license now includes all permits, stamps and other permissions needed to hunt at no additional cost just the same as resident junior hunters.

Maine Antler & Skull Trophy Club

Any hunter who takes a trophy deer, bear, moose, or turkey may wish to obtain information concerning the Maine Antler & Skull Trophy Club:

150 Ames Rd.
Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426
(207) 564-7614

Railroad Tracks

  • Walking or standing on track or bridge.A person may not, without right, stand or walk on a railroad track or railroad bridge or pass over a railroad bridge except by railroad conveyance.
  • Entering a track.A person may not, without right, enter upon a railroad track with a team or a vehicle however propelled or drive any team or propel a vehicle upon a railroad track.

For penalties see Title 23, Chapter 611, §7007.


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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