Each year, Maine Game Wardens interact with thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from hunters and anglers to ATV and snowmobile riders. An average of 135,000 inspections are made every year. Inspection numbers sometimes fluctuate depending upon weather conditions and special enforcement efforts. Inspections are often proportionally related to snow depths found across the state each year. Northern and Western portions of Maine consistently receive moderate amounts of snow, often totaling well over 150 inches each year. When southern Maine finds itself in a light snow year, registrations will often be fewer as well. Non-residents from all over New England choose Maine as their favorite place to ride. Maine offers over 13,500 miles of groomed trails that interconnect to nearly all corners of the State. Registration totals have fluctuated between a low of 75,235 in 2005 to a high of 107,285 in 2002. That is a difference of over 32,000 registrations in just 3 years.
Yearly snowmobile crash totals can fluctuate dramatically depending upon snow depth. To help reduce the amount of snowmobile crashes and provide a safe sport for approximately 100,000 snowmobiling enthusiasts, Maine Game Wardens make snowmobile law enforcement one of their highest priorities during the winter, dedicating thousands of hours toward law enforcement and education. Wardens work from their snowmobiles, at trail crossings, and at snowmobile club meetings to help ensure snowmobile law compliance.
Game Wardens are essentially the front door for the Bureau of Warden Service and often provide the only opportunity for sportspeople to engage in conversations with an IF&W employee. Inspections are critical to the mission of the Warden Service for both public relations and enforcement purposes. Both share an equally important role for the future of the bureau. Game Wardens regularly inspect snowmobiles for safety and registration compliance. Wardens also stop vehicles at fish and wildlife checkpoints used for gathering statistics and enforcing fish and wildlife laws. In addition, Game Wardens have authority to stop motor vehicles for violations observed on Maine’s highways.
A Game Warden may perform a stop of the above vehicles either by signaling you to stop with an obvious body gesture or with the use of emergency blue lights and/or siren. Game Wardens will make themselves known by identifying themselves while in uniform or by providing a badge or State law enforcement officer credential. When signaled to stop by a Game Warden please do as follows:
Game Wardens prefer that each interaction with an outdoor enthusiast is a pleasant experience. Please be polite and courteous. By promptly complying with all requests as directed by the Game Warden, you can help ensure a safe, pleasant, and productive experience. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask the Game Warden for advice or valuable tips.
Landowner relations are essential to Maine’s snowmobiling industry. A substantial portion of Maine’s snowmobile trial system is located on privately owned land. Without landowner support and generosity, our trail system would be in serious jeopardy. Treat land with respect, operate at prudent speeds, and maintain the original exhaust system on your snowmobile; loud exhausts close trails!
Game Wardens continue to respond to snowmobile crashes that involve either property damage, personal injury or in some cases death. Wardens are responsible for investigating snowmobile crashes to gather statistics and determine if violations of law have occurred that may have contributed to the crash. Drunk driving continues to be a contributing factor in many snowmobile related crashes. Always use good common sense, never operate beyond your abilities, tell someone where you plan to ride and when you will return, and never drink and drive.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.