The Maine Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks and Lands manages one-half million acres of land in Maine for a mix of activities, including hunting and trapping, for its citizens and visitors. The safety of all visitors is of primary concern to the bureau. Certain heavily developed and high-use areas are closed to hunting for all or part of the year. At other areas, the bureau provides as many hunting and trapping opportunities as are reasonable and consistent with its mandates and visitor safety.
Hunters and trappers are asked to exercise due caution and care for the safety and enjoyment of other visitors when using Bureau lands by obeying posted information and the rules listed below.
General hunting, except where specifically prohibited, is allowed from October 1 – April 30. Hunting and trapping shall take place in conformity with the laws of the State of Maine, rules of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and local ordinances. Trapping on State park or historic site land in organized townships requires the written permission of the Bureau. There will be no hunting allowed on State park lands or restricted zone of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, between May 1 and September 30.
For more information
Please call (207) 287-3821, TTY (207) 287-2213 or write to:
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands
22 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0022
Firearms: Loaded firearms are not permitted in campsites, on marked hiking trails, or at boat launching sites and picnic sites and shall not be discharged within 300 feet of such areas.
Bear Hunting: A permit is required from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands to place bait on Public Reserved Land for the purpose of hunting bear.
NOTE: On National Wildlife Refuges which permit hunting of upland game, persons hunting upland species other than deer and turkey with a shotgun shall possess and use only nontoxic shot while in the field.
More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For additional information on federal refuge regulations, contact:
Oxford County, Maine
The public land within National Forests is open to hunting. Portable observation stands that do not damage live trees may be used. Please contact the Androscoggin Ranger District for more information on bear baiting on National Forest lands at (603) 466-2713.
Acadia National Park & the Appalachian Nation Scenic Trail — hunting, trapping, and/or possessing a weapon is prohibited on land administered by the National Park Service. For further information on these lands contact:
Mount Desert Island (MDI) is located within the geographic boundary of WMD 26.
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.
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.
Haley Pond: It is unlawful to hunt waterfowl on Haley Pond in the town of Rangeley and Dallas Plantation, Franklin County.
Wildlife Sanctuaries and certain Wildlife Management Areas: Unless otherwise specifically provided, it is unlawful to hunt or trap any wild animal or wild bird within the limits of any wildlife sanctuary, any area properly posted by the State of Maine, or within the following described territories:
* Trapping allowed in accordance with the general laws of the State.
As a result of the Maine Native American Claims Settlement Act of 1980, lands purchased by the Penobscot Native American Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe within certain designated areas of the State are classified as Native American territory and have special legal status. The Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe, within their respective Native American territories, have exclusive authority to regulate hunting and trapping. At the time of this publication, parcels of Native American territory had been acquired within the following areas:
Franklin County: Alder Stream Twp.
Penobscot County: T2R9 NWP (western portion), T3R9 NWP (eastern portion), T6R8 WELS (western portion) Argyle Township (northern portion) and T3R1 NBPP (northeastern portion).
Piscataquis County: T6R8 NWP. The Penobscot Nation also has exclusive authority to regulate hunting and trapping in the Penobscot Reservation, consisting of all islands in the Penobscot River north of, and including, Indian Island, located near Old Town, Maine. Contact the Penobscot Nation, Department of Natural Resources for specific locations of Reservation islands.
Franklin County: Lowelltown, T1R8 WBKP.
Hancock County: T3&4ND.
Penobscot County: T3R9 NWP, T5R1 NBPP, TAR7 WELS.
Somerset County: Holeb T6R1 NBKP, Prentiss, T4R4 NBKP, Hammond Township, T3R4 NBKP, Alder Brook Township, T3R3 NBKP, Pittston Academy Grant, T2R4 NBKP Soldiertown Township, T2R3 NBKP.
Washington County: T5ND, BPP; T19 MD, Indian Township, and Pleasant Point, Perry.
Most of these areas will be conspicuously posted as Native American Territory. Anyone wishing to hunt or trap on Native American territory should contact the appropriate Native American agency for further information.
Department of Natural Resources
12 Wabanaki Way
Indian Island, ME 04468
Box 301, Princeton, ME 04668
Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission
PO Box 241, Stillwater, ME 04489
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Landowner Relations Program is actively working towards enhancing the relationship between landowners and land users. With approximately 94% of the land in Maine privately owned, everyone MUST respect landowners and their rights. Landowner wishes have to be followed by all outdoor recreation participants to help ensure access and use of private property in the years to come.
The Maine Legislature has enacted laws that address the concerns of landowners.
Summarized below are several of those laws and a brief description of each. For further detail on these laws, consult Maine Revised Statues cited in parenthesis.
Landowner Liability (14 MRSA §159-A) Limited Duty
An owner, lessee, manager, holder of an easement or occupant of premises shall owe no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational or harvesting activities or to give warning of any hazardous condition, use, structure or activity on these premises to persons entering for those purposes. This subsection applies regardless of whether permission has been given to another to pursue recreational or harvesting activities on the premises.
Exceptions to Limited Duty
Costs and fees
The court shall award any direct legal costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees, to an owner, lessee, manager, holder of an easement or occupant who is found not to be liable for injury to a person or property pursuant to this section.
Posting of Land and Criminal Trespass (17-A MRSA, §402)
Property is posted if it is marked with signs or paint in one of the following ways and in a manner that is reasonably likely to come to the attention of an intruder:
These signs or paint stripes must mark the property at distances no more than 100 feet apart at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property, and at all vehicular access entries from a public road.
Remember, it is unlawful to remove, mutilate, deface or destroy a sign or paint mark that is placed in order to prohibit or restrict access; and it is unlawful to post the land of another without permission of the landowner
Other provisions of posting
Trespass Damages (14 MRSA, §7551-B)
Any person who enters the land of another without permission and causes damage to the property of another is liable to the owner in a civil action. Violations of this law will have the following results:
Unlawful cutting of trees (14 MRSA, §7552, and 17 MRSA, §2510)
It is unlawful for any person to intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently cut down or fell any tree without the consent of the owner of the property on which the tree stands.
Abuse of Another Persons Property While Hunting (12 MRSA §10652)
It is unlawful to tear down a fence or wall, destroy any crop, leave open any bars or gates, or insert objects into trees on another person’s land without permission (see Deer Hunting for observation stand information).
It is unlawful to dispose of litter anywhere in this state except in areas or receptacles designed for that purpose. See Tagging, Transportation & Registration for laws pertaining to field dressing lawfully harvested wild game.
Civil Trespass (12 MRSA, §10657) Prohibition
While engaging in any activity regulated by the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, a person, knowing that the person is not licensed or privileged to do so, may not:
Definition of projectile: For the purposes of this section, “projectile” means a bullet, pellet, shot, shell, ball, arrow, bolt or other object propelled or launched from a firearm or a bow, crossbow or similar tensile device.
For information on other provisions of these laws, contact the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife at (207) 287-8000.
A person may not charge any fee for access to land if the fee is contingent upon the taking of game on that land or directly related to the taking of game on the land, unless the land is an authorized commercial shooting area licensed as follows: The Commissioner may issue licenses for the establishment and operation of commercial shooting areas, authorizing the owner of a commercial shooting area to charge others for the opportunity to hunt mallard ducks, pheasants, quail, Chukar partridge, and Hungarian partridge in that area (12 MRSA section 12101).
The operator of a commercial shooting area may authorize a person to hunt other wild birds or wild animals in a commercial shooting area during the regular open season on those species, in accordance with the provisions of 12 MRSA Part 13, as long as the person possesses a valid state hunting license that allows the hunting of those wild birds and wild animals.
The operator of the commercial shooting area shall provide to each person taking birds in that area a receipted invoice or bill of sale for possession and transportation of those birds.
Enforcement of the trespass laws of a commercial shooting area is the responsibility of the owner and may not in any manner be considered an obligation of the Department.
Commercial Shooting Areas
Hunting on commercial shooting areas is governed by the license provisions of Section 12101. For a complete copy of this law, and to obtain a list of commercial shooting areas, call the Information Center at (207) 287-8000.
All Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), except Steve Powell WMA (Swan Island) and portions of Steep Falls and Killick Pond WMA, owned and managed by the Department are open for general law hunting and trapping. A full list of these areas can be found online at: mefishwildlife.com. Camping, fires, and permanent observation stands are all prohibited on Department-owned WMAs.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.