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New Laws Enacted in 2015

Hunting Regulations Icon Maine Hunting

PUBLIC LAW 2015 CHAPTER 71 –
(LD 275) An Act To Allow the Use of a Crossbow for Recreational Target Practice within 100 Yards of a Building Without the Owner’s Permission
(Effective October 15, 2015)

For persons who are target practicing with a crossbow on their own land, or on land which they have permission to use, they may discharge a crossbow within 100 yards of a dwelling provided the projectile does not enter the property of another.

PUBLIC LAW 2015 CHAPTER 79 –
(LD 399) An Act To Establish a Youth Bear Hunting Day

(Effective May 15, 2015)

This law will allow youth hunters to hunt on the Saturday prior to the opening day of the bear hunting season. For 2015 this will occur on August 29, 2015. The youth hunter must have a junior hunting license and can hunt bear with a firearm, bow and arrow or crossbow. This will NOT allow the use of dogs. The adult supervisor, parent or guardian accompanying a youth on youth bear hunting day may not possess a firearm, bow and arrow or crossbow while the youth is participating in the bear hunt.

PUBLIC LAW 2015 CHAPTER 127 –
(LD 781) An Act To Expand Turkey Hunting Opportunities
(Effective January 1, 2016)

Effective January 1, 2016 this law makes the holder of a big game or a small game hunting license eligible to hold a wild turkey permit. Formally, only a holder of a big game hunting license could purchase a wild turkey permit. It also directs the Commissioner of IFW to establish a November wild turkey hunting season (beginning fall 2016) that is in addition to the current fall wild turkey hunting season in October. The fall wild turkey hunting season allows a person to take a total of 2 wild turkeys during both the October and November seasons combined, regardless of sex.

PUBLIC LAW 2015 CHAPTER 136 –
(LD 156) An Act To Eliminate the Minimum Age Requirement for a Junior Hunting License and Increase the Number of Times a Person May Hold an Apprentice Hunter License
(Effective January 1, 2016)

  1. Effective January 1, 2016 this law eliminates the minimum age requirement for junior hunting license holders and allows any hunter under the age of 16 to purchase a junior hunting license.
  2. Hunters from 10–15 years of age must be in the presence of and under the effective control of an adult supervisor.
  3. Hunters under the age of 10 must be in the presence of, and under the effective control of, an adult supervisor who remains at all times within 20 feet of the hunter.
  4. The adult supervisor of the junior hunter must hold, or have held, a valid adult hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course.
  5. This law also increases the number of times a person may hold an apprentice hunter license from twice to 5 times before becoming ineligible to purchase the license.

PUBLIC LAW 2015 CHAPTER 245 – (LD 913) An Act To Expand Public Opportunities for Wildlife Management Education (Effective January 1, 2016)

This law increases hunting and trapping license fees by a $1 and directs IFW to use that revenue to educate the public on the management of game species. The hunting license fees will increase January 1, 2016 and the trapping license fees will increase July 1, 2016 to coincide with the annual license expiration date.

PUBLIC LAW 2015 CHAPTER 262 – (LD 942) An Act To Permit the Use of Firearm Noise Suppression Devices in Hunting and Provide for a Chief Law Enforcement Officer’s Certification for Certain Firearms (Effective October 15, 2015)

  1. This law states that the Commissioner of IFW may issue a permit that is valid until August 1, 2018 for the use of noise suppression devices while hunting as long as the person has lawful possession of the device and has not had a hunting license revoked as a result of a serious hunting violation.
  2. Persons wanting additional information or wishing to apply for this permit must contact the Maine Warden Service Headquarters in Augusta at 207-287-5240.
  3. Until IFW has implemented an application process, permits will not be available.

PUBLIC LAW 2015 CHAPTER 281 – (LD 1409) An Act To Clarify and Simplify the Licensing and Registration Provisions of the Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Laws (See Effective Dates Next to Each Change)

This law encompasses several changes or clarifications within Title 12, summarized below:

  1. Effective October 15, 2015, this changes sections of law that allow for electronic licenses or permits to be valid in addition to or in lieu of physical paper licenses or permits. Upon request an electronic license or permit can now be displayed to a game warden, other law enforcement officer, an employee of the department, a Maine guide or the owner of the land on which the licensed activity is taking place.
  2. Effective October 15, 2015, this law clarifies the number of antlerless deer and either-sex permits that certain license holders may be issued for the expanded archery season on deer upon receiving their license. One antlerless deer permit and one either-sex permit must be issued to all qualifying license holders. The license holders included are:
    • Junior hunters;
    • Residents over 70 who hold a senior lifetime license;
    • Resident disabled veterans or nonresident disabled veterans who are residents of New Hampshire or Vermont and who have a service-connected disability of 50% or more; and
    • Members of federally recognized nations, bands or tribes.
  1. Effective January 1, 2016, this law allows holders of junior hunting licenses, after they turn 16 years of age, to hunt pheasants and migratory waterfowl and to hunt with a bow and arrow for the remainder of the calendar year for which their licenses are issued, without their having to purchase pheasant permits, migratory waterfowl permits or archery hunting licenses.
  2. Effective October 15, 2015, this law removes the reference to “big game” hunting license and clarifies that it permits hunting of all legal species, subject to the permit requirements so any license that qualifies a person to hunt big game AND small game is simply referred to as a hunting license. A hunting license that only allows a person to hunt small game will continue to be referred to as a small game hunting license.
  3. Effective October 15, 2015, this law changes the references to crossbow and muzzle-loading licenses to crossbow and muzzle-loading permits and clarifies that hunting licenses allow the hunting of all legal species, but additional permits maybe required.

PUBLIC LAW 2015 CHAPTER 301 – (LD 1196) An Act to Amend Certain Provisions of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Laws (Effective October 15, 2015)

This bill encompasses several changes or clarifications within Title 12 summarized below:

  1. Further planning and clarification is necessary by IFW during the next Legislative session before implementation will occur for this portion of law. The intent of this section of law was to require a person who hunts with a bow and arrow to hold a valid archery hunting license which in turn would require that person to have successfully completed an archery hunter education course or show proof of having held an adult archery license in any year after 1979. The goal was to make the hunting safety education requirements consistent with other methods of hunting.
  2. Effective October 15, 2015, this law organizes the requirements for crossbow hunting and eliminates the 200 lb maximum draw weight on the use of crossbows.
  3. Effective October 15, 2015, this changes the requirement for an adult supervisor of an apprenticeship hunter license from “a person who is 18 years of age or older and holds a valid Maine hunting license” to “a person who is 18 years of age or older and holds a valid adult license”.
  4. Effective October 15, 2015, this states that a person cannot be compensated in any way for exchanging a moose permit to change a zone, area, or season, other than by transferring or receiving the moose permit.
  5. This adds the following requirements for bow hunting bear, deer or moose:
    • When hunting bear or deer the minimum draw weight of the bow must be 35 lbs.
    • When hunting moose the minimum draw weight of a bow must be 45 lbs.
  6. Effective October 15, 2015, this law prohibits the use of any medicinal, poisonous or stupefying substance as bait.
  7. Effective October 15, 2015, this law makes it illegal for a person to hunt bear with a .17 or .22 caliber rimfire firearm or a shotgun using shot loads.
  8. Effective October 15, 2015, this clarifies the law that prohibits baiting of moose and makes it consistent with baiting of deer. It specifies that from Sept. 1st to Dec. 15th a person may not bait moose or hunt over bait for moose. It also makes it clear that a person can hunt moose over standing crops or foods that are left as a result of normal agricultural operations or as a result of a natural occurrence.
  9. Effective October 15, 2015, this clarifies the law that prohibits baiting of wild turkeys and makes it consistent with baiting of deer. It specifies that from Sept. 1st to Dec. 15th a person may not bait wild turkey or hunt over bait for wild turkey. It also makes it clear that a person can hunt wild turkey over standing crops or foods that are left as a result of normal agricultural operations or as a result of a natural occurrence.
  10. Effective October 15, 2015, this clarifies that someone may not trap a wild bird unless it is listed in the exceptions.
  11. Effective October 15, 2015, this amends the supervisory requirements for apprentice hunter licenses and apprentice trapper licenses. It specifies that the holder of an apprentice hunter license must hunt in the presence of a person who is 18 years of age or older and who holds a valid adult hunting license and specifies that the holder of an apprentice trapper license must trap in the presence of a person that has held a valid adult trapper license for the prior 3 consecutive years.
  12. Effective October 15, 2015, this law makes it illegal to place or deposit medicinal substances (in addition to the law which already prohibited poisonous or stupefying substances) to entice an animal to a location when baiting bear or for the purpose of killing, taking, catching, wounding, harming or molesting any wild animal or wild bird.

PUBLIC LAW 2015 CHAPTER 327 – (LD 652) An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns Without a Permit (Effective October 15, 2015)

This law allows a person to carry a concealed handgun without a permit and may have that concealed, loaded pistol or revolver in or on a motor vehicle or trailer if:

  1. The person is 21 years of age or older and is not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm or;
  2. The person is 18 years old or older and under 21 years of age and on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard and is not otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm.

Upon contact with any law enforcement officer a person carrying a concealed handgun without a permit is required to notify them immediately. This law in no way allows a person to have a loaded crossbow or firearm (other than a handgun) in a motor vehicle, boat or on a trailer attached to a motor vehicle and in no way allows a person to shoot while in or on a motor vehicle, motor boat or while in or on a trailer being hauled by a motor vehicle. Certain exceptions still apply for migratory waterfowl hunting and persons with disabled hunting permits. A firearm safety brochure will be developed and provided when a person purchases a handgun.