While the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has tried to effectively incorporate all law changes made during the 2011 Session of the 125th Maine State Legislature into the new Hunting & Trapping Law Book, many legislative bills that were passed were not signed into law until just before our printing deadline.
New laws that were not enacted as “emergency” during the 1st Regular Session take effect September 28, 2011 unless there is an effective date specified in the law. Some of the fish and wildlife related changes were enacted as emergency legislation and have already gone into effect.
If you have any questions about specific laws, please refer to the Department website at www.mefishwildlife.com or call the Information Center at (207) 287-8000. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.
The 125th Legislature passed the following new hunting laws:
Public Law, Chapter 51
An Act to Create an Apprentice Trapper License
An apprentice trapper license allows a person who has never held a trapping license to go trapping with an experienced trapper for up to one year without having to take a trapper education course. An experienced trapper is one who has held a valid trapping license for 3 consecutive years. The holder of an apprentice trapper license must, while trapping, be under the direct supervision of an experienced trapper at all times. An apprentice trapper license allows a person to trap for all species that may be legally trapped, except black bear. The fee for an apprentice trapper license is the same as for a regular trapping license.
Public Law, Chapter 61
An Act to Allow Persons 70 Years of Age or Older Expanded Crossbow Privileges
Allows a person 70 years of age or older to hunt wild birds and wild animals with a crossbow during any open season on that wild bird or wild animal and allows that person to hunt moose with a crossbow.
Public Law, Chapter 208
An Act to Discourage Illegal Dumping in the State
Increases the fines and penalties for illegal dumping in the State and allows a court to order the surrender of any license, permit, certification, or registration issued by any department or agency of the State held by a person who violates the Maine Litter Control Act.
Public Law, Chapter 216
An Act to Change the Coyote Night Hunting Law
The commissioner may appoint agents to hunt for coyotes at night using artificial illumination from September 1st to December 15th. The commissioner shall develop policies to make the affected public and affected law enforcement officers aware of any night hunting operations.
Public Law, Chapter 220
An Act to Enhance Enforcement of Fish and Game Laws By Authorizing Maine to Enter Into an Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
This law authorizes the Commissioner to enter into an interstate wildlife violator compact to promote compliance with the laws, regulations and rules that relate to the management of wildlife resources in the respective member states and may adopt rules necessary to implement certain provisions of the compact.
Public Law, Chapter 252
An Act to Restrict Permits Available to the Holder of Super Pack License
This law provides that the holder of a super pack license who receives an antlerless deer permit pursuant to that license is not eligible to obtain a permit in the regular antlerless deer permit lottery. It also delays the effective date of the legislation until January 1, 2012.
Public Law, Chapter 253
An Act to Amend Certain Provisions of Maine Fish and Wildlife Laws
This is the Department’s annual “omnibus” bill intended to make changes that do not warrant a separate bill, as well as to make minor and technical changes.
- Broadens the law that provided for increased fines in Washington County for hunting or possessing antlerless deer to cover any wildlife management district where antlerless deer permits have not been issued due to decreased deer populations.
- Broadens to residents of other states the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s authority to revoke, suspend, or refuse to issue a license to a person who has killed, wounded, or recklessly endangered the safety of another human being while hunting.
- Adds 13 areas to the list of areas classified as state-owned wildlife management areas.
- Clarifies that a person may not obtain or possess a license or permit through fraud, misstatement, or misrepresentation.
- Clarifies that a person who is 70 years of age and holds a valid senior lifetime license at any time during the calendar year that the person turns 70 years of age is entitled to all hunting permits and licenses.
- Modifies the current observation stand laws to include all types of stands that people use for hunting, such as freestanding tripods, rather than just stands that are attached to trees. An “observation stand” does not include a portable blind utilized at ground level that remains in the physical possession of the hunter.
- Allows nonresidents to trap beaver if the nonresident’s state or province of residency allows Maine residents to trap beaver in that state or province.
- Prohibits baiting moose.
- Changes the term “rabbits” to “snowshoe hare” in the provisions regarding the training of dogs on game.
- Changes the laws regarding submitting to chemical tests when involved in an accident while hunting or on a recreational vehicle to mirror similar laws in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 29 A.
Public Law, Chapter 268
An Act to Amend the Fees for Infant Lifetime Licenses
- The fees for an infant lifetime fishing, hunting, archery hunting, and trapping license is $150 for each license for a resident and $450 for each license for a nonresident, except that, from December 1, 2011 until March 1, 2015, the fee for a nonresident is $200.
- The fee for an infant combination of any 2 lifetime licenses is $250 for a resident and $750 for a nonresident, except that, from December 1, 2011 until March 1, 2015, the fee for a nonresident is $425.
- The fee for an infant combination of any 3 lifetime licenses is $400 for a resident and $1,200 for a nonresident, except that, from December 1, 2011 until March 1, 2015, the fee for a nonresident is $660.
Public Law, Chapter 309
An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Bear Hunting
- Increases the bag limit on bear to 2 bears by allowing a person to kill one bear during the open hunting season on bear and another by trapping.
- Provides that a resident may train up to 6 dogs at any one time on bear from July 1st to the 4th day preceding the open season on hunting bear. Currently it is from July 1st to the 1st day preceding the open season.
Public Law, Chapter 327
An Act Regarding the Right of Native Americans to Be Issued Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Licenses
This law ensures that certain hunting, trapping and fishing licenses without charge or fee are available only to certified members of a federally recognized nation, band or tribe in the State.
Public Law, Chapter 381
An Act to Restore the White-tailed Deer Population and Improve Maine’s Wildlife Economy and Heritage
- Establishes a Deer Predation Advisory Group to assist with developing and implementing a program to control predation on deer.
- Also establishes the Predator Control and Deer Habitat Fund within MDIFW as a nonlapsing fund to be used by the Commissioner to fund or assist in funding predator control and to enhance deer habitat. The Department will establish a system of checkoff options on its online licensing system that allow a person to donate money to be deposited in the fund and used for purposes indicated by the checkoffs.
- Requires that for acquisitions funded by the Land for Maine’s Future Fund, the board shall give priority to conserve and protect deer wintering areas in addition to projects that conserve lands with multiple outstanding resource or recreational value or a single exceptional value.
- Directs MDIFW to expand Maine’s Game Plan for Deer to the entire state and submit the plan to the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife no later than February 1, 2012.
- Directs the Department to report annually to the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on a number of deer related issues, including but not limited to: deer population goals and 5-year benchmarks, funding needed to meet goals and the progress toward meeting goals, deer mortality, deer wintering area aerial survey efforts, and efforts to secure revenue to enhance the Department’s deer rebuilding efforts. In addition MDIFW, with the assistance of sporting groups, will continue efforts to restructure and increase the budget of the department’s Division of Public Information and Education and to continue an ongoing relationship with the State’s deer hunters using surveys, newsletters and the department’s publicly accessible website to keep hunters current and involved in the implementation of the department’s Maine Game Plan for Deer. The Department will report to the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife no later than February 1, 2012.
Public Law, Chapter 370
An Act Regarding the Moose Lottery and Moose Management
- Establishes a Moose Research and Management Fund within the Department as a nonlapsing fund to be used by the Commissioner to fund or assist in funding moose research and management.
- Reduces the number of moose lottery chances by a super pack license holder from 6 chances to 1 chance.
- Increases the fee for a moose hunting permit for nonresidents or aliens from $484 to $585.
- Beginning in 2011, a person who has obtained a moose hunting permit is ineligible to obtain another permit until 3 years have lapsed after the issuance of the last permit. Prior to 2011 it was a 2-year wait.
- Eliminates resident opportunities to purchase a 3 or 6-chance application and increases the application fee for a resident from $7 to $15 for a one-chance application.
- Allows an applicant to indicate that he or she does not want to receive a moose permit pursuant to the application but wishes to receive the corresponding points under Section 8 for that application.
- Allows a permittee, upon application to the Commissioner, to change that person’s subpermittee-designate or alternate subpermittee-designate until 30 days prior to the start of the moose hunting season for which the permit was issued.
- Prohibits a person from selling a subpermittee or an alternate subpermittee designation.
- A person accumulates points as follows for each consecutive year that person purchases an application for a moose hunting permit but is not selected to receive a permit:
- One point each year for the first 5 years;
- Two points each year for years 6 to 10;
- Three points each year for years 11 to 15; and
- Ten points each year after the 15th year.
Each point entitles an applicant to one chance in the public chance drawing. A person’s accumulated points are eliminated and that person begins to accumulate points anew if in any year that person is selected to receive a moose hunting permit or if that person fails to purchase a new chance in any 2 consecutive years.
A person who is ineligible to receive a moose hunting permit as provided in subsection 5 may continue to purchase points for each year that person is ineligible to receive a moose hunting permit for the corresponding application fee under subsection 6.
Public Law, Chapter 432
An Act to Protect Owners of Private Property Against Trespass
- Provides that a person may not place or hunt over bait without the oral or written permission of the landowner or the landowner’s agent. The bait site must be plainly labeled with a 2 inch-by-4 inch tag identifying the name and address of the person establishing the bait site. This restriction also applies to bear baiting for hunting and trapping, which is governed by section 11301.
- A person may not hunt with a dog in pursuit of bear, coyote, or bobcat unless the dog has a collar that legibly provides the name, telephone number, and address of the owner of that dog.
- A person or persons may not use more than 6 dogs at any one time to hunt coyotes or bobcats.
- A person may not use a dog to hunt coyotes during the period from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
- It also provides another way to conspicuously mark land where permission is required for access repealing Sec. 4. 17-A MRSA §402, sub-§4, paragraph B September 12, 2012.