Outdoors in Maine: An Overview of New Fish and Wildlife Laws

In my experience, most people who hunt and fish don’t find out about the new hunting and fishing laws until they, or someone they know, gets caught – often unwittingly – crossing the line.

V. Paul Reynolds, Outdoor Columnist

It is the nature of the beast. Too many laws, most of them too complex, and too many other distractions in the hectic pace of daily life to pay much attention to the making of Augusta’s laws.

State lawmakers are always well-intentioned, but for me, the legislative adjournment in June is always a welcome event, almost as worthy of a sigh as the end of the Mills mask tenure.

When the state legislature adjourns shortly, it leaves in its wake nearly a dozen new laws that affect the outdoorsy people of Maine.

Here are a few that were signed by the Governor and will become the law of the land 90 days after legislative adjournment.

LD 280 is designed to generate more funding for improving snowmobile trails. Yes, you pay the bill when you register your sled. The increase is an additional $ 10 for residents of Maine and $ 20 for non-resident sleds.

LD 309 requires non-resident big game hunters to hire a guide from Maine if their state requires it, including Canadian provinces.

LD 361 increases the number of members of the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council from 10 to 11. The added member must be a member of the Wabanaki Nation.

LD 569 prohibits bow hunting within 100 meters of a building or a dwelling. The practice of shooting on your own land or hunting in large archery areas are exempt.

The LD 635 allows hunters to use noise suppression (silencing) devices without departmental authorization.

GL 943 requires the Department to establish an electronic tagging option for turkey hunters.

LD 1031, which is a tad tainted with bureaucratic gibberish, seems like a loophole that allows the commissioner of IF&W to take your hunting license even if you haven’t been found guilty of civil trespassing in court!

LD 1244, I believe, gives ATV riders, snowmobiles and boaters the ability to use electronic devices to show proof of registration to law enforcement.

Sad to say as we go to press, with legislative adjournment approaching, the historic deer protection bill, pushed hard by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and a most important and necessary measure, s ‘is bogged down with an uncertain outcome.

Isn’t it always like this? Silly, sometimes frivolous legislation manages to survive the challenge of legislative process, while measure with truly ambitious and significant potential never gets the green light.

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, a guide to Maine and host of a weekly radio show, “Maine Outdoors,” which airs at 7 p.m. Sundays on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He is the author of three books; online purchasing information is available at www.maineoutdoorpublications.net. Contact him at [email protected]


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