Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help

Skip First Level Navigation | Skip All Navigation

Home > Laws and Rules > Hunting and Trapping > Migratory Game Bird Hunting

Migratory Game Bird Hunting

2012 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Schedule


To receive an official copy of the 2012 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Schedule by mail, please send your request by email or call us at (207) 287-8000.


2012 Maine
Migratory Waterfowl Stamp

2012 Maine Migratory Waterfowl Stamp


Purchase your Federal Stamp
at your local Post Office

Federal Stamp


Ducks at a Distance - A Waterfowl Identification Guide (off-site)

2012 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Schedule


2012 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Schedule PDF

Crows

Wildlife Management Districts 1-6: February 6 – April 15 and August 1 – September 22, 2012

Wildlife Management Districts 7-29: January 21 – March 31 and August 1 – September 22, 2012

No daily bag or possession limit.

Note: There is a closed season on Ravens.

Common (Wilson's) Snipe

September 1 – December 15, 2012

Daily bag limit - 8; possession limit - 16

Rails (Sora and Virginia)

September 1 – November 9, 2012

Daily limit - 25; possession limit - 25 (Singly or in aggregate)

Woodcock 

October 1 – November 14, 2012 

Daily limit - 3; possession limit - 6

Canada Goose (Early Season) 

September 1 - September 25, 2012

North Zone: Daily limit - 6; possession limit - 12

South Zone: Daily limit - 8; possession limit - 16

Coastal Zone: Daily limit - 8; possession limit - 16


Canada Goose - including Greater White-fronted Geese (Regular Season) 

North Zone: October 1 - December 8, 2012

South Zone: October 1 - October 13, 2012 and October 29 - December 22, 2012

Coastal Zone: October 1 - October 20, 2012 and November 19 - January 5, 2013

Daily limit - 2; possession limit - 4

Snow Geese (including Blue Geese)

October 1, 2012 - January 31, 2013 

Daily limit - 25; no possession limit

Sea Ducks (Scoter, Eider, and Long-tailed Ducks in the sea duck zone)

October 1, 2012 - January 31, 2013

Daily limit - 7; possession limit - 14 with following exceptions: 

Scoters: daily limit - 4; possession limit - 8

Common Eider: daily limit 4: possession limit - 8

Regular Ducks (Including Black Ducks, Scaup, Pintails, Mergansers, and American coots)

North Zone: September 24, 2012 - December 1, 2012

South Zone: October 1 - October 13, 2012 and October 29 - December 22, 2012

Coastal Zone: October 1 - October 20, 2012 and November 19 - January 5, 2013  

Daily Limit (Singly or in the aggregate) - 6 ducks, no more than 4 of any one species; possession limit - 12, no more than 8 of any one species, with the following exceptions:

  • American Coots: It is unlawful to take more than 5 American coots in any one day or possess more than 10 American coots at any time.
  • Mergansers: Hunters may take 5 mergansers in addition to the limits on other regular ducks, however only 2 may be a hooded merganser. The possession limit on mergansers is 10 at any time, however it is unlawful to possess more than 4 hooded mergansers at any time.
  • The daily limit shall not include more than 2 hen mallards, 2 redheads, 2 northern pintails, and 4 scaup. The possession limit shall not include more than 4 hen mallards, 4 redheads, 4 northern pintails or 8 scaup.
  • The daily limit shall not include more than 3 wood ducks. The possession limit shall not include more than 6 wood ducks.
  • The daily limit shall not include more than 1 black duck, 1 canvasback, 1 mottled duck, 1 fulvous whistling duck. The possession limit shall not include more than 2 black ducks, 2 canvasbacks, 2 mottled ducks, 2 fulvous whistling ducks.
  • The daily limit on teal shall not include more than 6 birds (no more than 4 of any one species). The possession limit shall not include more than 12 teal (no more than 8 of any one species).
  • On Youth Days - September 15 and 22; October 20; November 17; and December 15, scoters, eiders, and long-tailed ducks may be taken as part of the 6 bird daily limit. Species restrictions still apply.
  • There shall be no season on Harlequin ducks or Barrow's Goldeneye.

Brant

North Zone: October 1 - November 27, 2012 

South Zone: October 1 - October 13, 2012 and October 29 - December 11, 2012.

Coastal Zone: October 1 - October 20, 2012 and November 19 - December 25, 2012.

Daily bag limit - 2; possession limit - 4.

Harlequin Ducks, Barrow's Goldeneye, Moorhens and Gallinules

Closed Season

Special Falconry Season

In addition to the regular migratory bird season on ducks, geese, mergansers, and American coots:

North Zone: December 12, 2012 - February 1, 2013

Coastal and South Zone: January 8, 2013 - February 28, 2013

Falconry season daily bag and possession limits for all permitted migratory game birds shall not exceed 3 and 6 birds, respectively, singly or in aggregate.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days

North Zone: September 15, 2012 and December 15, 2012

South Zone: September 22, 2012 and October 20, 2012

Coastal Zone: September 22, 2012 and November 17, 2012

  1. Youth hunter must be 10 years of age or older and under 16 years of age, possess a junior hunting license, and hunt only under supervision as required by 12 MRSA Section 11108-A.
  2. Legal shooting hours will be from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset.
  3. Bag limits will be the same as for regular seasons as outlined above.
(All duck species - except Harlequins and Barrow's Goldeneye - may be hunted on these days, including geese. For the October 20th, November 17th and December 15th youth days, the goose limit is under the Regular Season limit.)


Shooting Hours:
Shooting hours on migratory game birds are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset daily. See Migratory Game Bird - Legal Hunting Hours and Tide Tables for 2012-2013.

Sea Duck Hunting Area Defined: All coastal waters and all waters of rivers and streams seaward from the first upstream bridge. In all other areas, sea ducks may be taken only during the regular duck season dates and are part of the regular duck bag limits.

Definition for North and South Zone Line: Maine-New Brunswick border in Baileyville, Maine west along Stony Brook to Route 9 in Baileyville. West along Route 9 to Route 15 in Bangor. West along Route 15 to I-95 in Bangor. Southwest along I-95 to Route 202 (Exit 109A) in Augusta. Southwest along Route 202 to Route 11 in Auburn. Southwest along Route 11 to Route 110 in Newfield. West along Route 110 to Maine-New Hampshire border.

Definition for South/Coastal Zone Line: Maine-New Brunswick border in Calais at the Route 1 bridge. South along Route 1 to the Maine-New Hampshire border in Kittery.

Printable Maine Waterfowl Hunting Zone Map

Nontoxic Shot - Statewide: The use or possession of ammunition loaded with other than nontoxic shot while hunting wild ducks, geese, brant, rails, or coots is prohibited. Nontoxic shot means any shot type that does not cause sickness and death when ingested by these birds and is approved for use by the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Steel, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron (2 types), tungsten-matrix, tungsten-bronze (2 types), tungsten-polymer, tungsten-tin-bismuth, tungsten-tin-iron-nickel, and tungsten nickel-iron (HEVI) shot have been approved nontoxic by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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.

Duck Stamps Harvest Information Program

If you plan to hunt woodcock, ducks, geese, snipe, rails, or coots, you are required to indicate on your license your intention of doing so at the time you purchase your license.(Complimentary and lifetime license holders are exempt from this requirement).

The information will be used by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (H.I.P).

 

State and federal law requires that persons 16 years of age or older shall have on his/her person: an unexpired federal migratory bird hunting stamp (validated by his/her signature written across the face of the stamp in ink) and a valid state migratory waterfowl permit to hunt any migratory waterfowl (wild ducks, geese or brant). The state migratory waterfowl permit may be purchased for $7.50 online, from local license agents, or from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State St., SHS #41, Augusta, ME 04333.

(Note: The federal migratory waterfowl stamp and state migratory waterfowl permit are not required to hunt woodcock, snipe, rails or crows). For more details, contact the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife at 287-8000.

All revenue from the sale of state waterfowl permits must be used exclusively for acquisition of waterfowl habitat and waterfowl management activities.

Selected Sections of Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Laws

The provisions of the following three paragraphs apply to the waters of the Kennebec River, known as Merrymeeting Bay, bounded as follows: From the high tension wires at Chop’s Point to the first dam on the Androscoggin River, to the first road bridge on the Muddy, Cathance, Abbagadassett, and Eastern rivers and the Richmond-Dresden bridge on the Kennebec River, being in the counties of Cumberland, Sagadahoc, and Lincoln. Datum is WGS 84. Waypoints for the sanctuary are as follows:

NE Corner: 44 00.385’

SE Corner: 43 59.5314’

SW Corner: 43 59.8112’

NW Corner: 44 00.1483’ 69 49.1854’ 69 49.5330’ 69 50.4763’ 69 50.6447’

Edge of Rice: 43 59.7550

Kennebec River: 69 50.0391

Browns Point: 44 00.1486’

Power Lines: 69 49.5421’

• No artificial cover which is termed stationary blind, or parts thereof, used for hunting purposes shall be left or allowed to remain in the waters of Merrymeeting Bay between one hour after legal shooting time and one hour before legal shooting time.

• No duck decoys shall be allowed to remain in the waters of Merrymeeting Bay at any time during the period from one hour after legal shooting time until one hour before legal shooting time.

• It is unlawful to hunt waterfowl on Haley Pond in the Town of Rangeley and Dallas Plt. in Franklin County.

• No power boat may be operated in Merrymeeting Bay at a speed in excess of 10 miles per hour except within the confines of the buoyed channels.

• It is unlawful to shoot, or shoot at, or near, any wildfowl decoy of another person, with a rifle, pistol, or shotgun with a ball, slug, or buckshot. “Near” means the area encompassed by the set of decoys and including the area 50 yards away from the outer perimeter of the set of decoys.

• It is unlawful to hunt with firearms during the open season on deer (except when hunting waterfowl from a boat or blind or in conjunction with waterfowl decoys) unless wearing 2 articles of hunter orange clothing that are in good and serviceable condition and visible from all sides. One article must be a solid colored hunter orange hat and the other must be a minimum of 50% hunter orange in color and cover a major portion of the torso.

• It is unlawful for any person to willfully interfere with the lawful hunting or trapping of any wild animal or wild bird, including the willful disturbance of wild animals or wild birds with intent to interfere with their lawful taking.

• It is unlawful to hunt on Sunday.

Barrow's Goldeneye - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wishes to continue the lawful hunting of Common Goldeneyes while ensuring adequate protection of the Barrow’s Goldeneye, a Threatened Species under the Maine Endangered Species Act. Barrow’s and Common Goldeneyes look very similar. Our goal is to reduce the unintentional take of Barrow’s in Maine by improving duck hunter’s ability to distinguish Barrow’s from Common Goldeneyes. Further, we desire to alert waterfowl hunters that Barrow’s are known to congregate in certain areas. Information on this will be mailed to every waterfowl hunter in Maine. Despite our efforts, we suspect that a few Barrow’s Goldeneyes may be unintentionally shot. In these cases, hunters are required to surrender to the Department any that are taken incidentally to legal waterfowl hunting activities. There will be no penalty for reporting this to the Department. To accomplish this we ask that you contact your local game warden.

Duck Stamp Contest

Your 2012 Maine duck stamp, featuring a pair of Ring-necked Ducks, was designed by Janine Folsom of Skowhegan, Maine. A panel of judges selected it from among 10 paintings by Maine resident artists in the 25th duck stamp art contest conducted by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Proceeds from the sale of the annual duck stamps and permits are used to help finance waterfowl management programs or to acquire waterfowl habitat.

Migratory Game Bird Regulations

All coastal waters and all waters of rivers and streams seaward from the first upstream bridge. In all other areas, sea ducks may be taken only during the regular duck season dates and are part of the regular duck bag limits.

Summary of Federal Regulations

Notice: The material below is only a summary of Federal rules. Each hunter should also consult the actual Federal regulations, which may be found in Title 50, code of Federal Regulations, Part 20.

Restrictions: No person shall take migratory game birds:

  • While possessing shot (either in shot shells or as loose shot for muzzleloading) other than steel shot or such shot approved as nontoxic while taking Anatidae (ducks, geese, and brant), coots and any species that make up aggregate bag limits during concurrent seasons.
  • With a trap, snare, net, crossbow, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10-guage, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance.
  • With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.
  • From a sink box (a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water).
  • From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven land conveyance, or any aircraft, except that paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance. “Paraplegic” means an individual afflicted with paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement of both legs, usually due to disease of or injury to the spinal cord.
  • By the use or aid of live decoys. All live, tame or captive ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting, and confned within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl.
  • Using records or tapes of migratory bird calls or sounds, or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls.
  • By means or aid of any motor driven land, water, or air conveyance, or any sailboat used for the purpose of or resulting in the concentrating, driving, rallying, or stirring up of any migratory bird.
  • By the aid of baiting or on or over any baited area, where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. However, nothing in this paragraph prohibits the taking of migratory game birds on or over the following lands or areas that are not otherwise baited areas:

    a) standing crops or flooded standing crops; standing, flooded, or manipulated natural vegetation; flooded harvested croplands; or lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered safely as a result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation or normal soil stabilization practice;

    b) from a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation;

    c) from a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, as long as such camouflaging does not result in the exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of grain or other feed.
  • A person must also retain the bird in his actual custody, at the place where taken or between that place and either (a) his automobile or principle means of land transportation; or (b) his personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging.

Field Possession Limit.

No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit while in the field or while returning from the field to one’s car, hunting camp, home, etc.

Importation.

For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country hunters should consult 50 CFR 20.61 through 20.66. One fully-feathered wing must remain attached to all migratory game birds being transported between the port of entry and one’s home or to a migratory bird preservation facility. No person shall import migratory game birds killed in any foreign country, except Canada, unless such birds are dressed (except as required in 20.63), drawn, and the head and feet are removed. No person shall import migratory game birds belonging to another person.

Dual Violation.

Violation of State migratory bird regulations is also a violation of Federal regulations.

Caution: More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For additional information on Federal refuge regulations, contact Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge (Baring Plt. and Edmunds Twp.) RR#1, Box 202, Baring, Maine, 04694 - (207) 454-7161; Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 279, Milbridge, Maine 04658 - (207) 546-2124; Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, 1168 Main Street, Old Town, ME 04468 - (207) 594-0600; Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, 321 Port Road, Wells, Maine 04090, (207) 646-9226; or Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 240, Errol, N.H.03579 - (603) 482-3415.

Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.)

If you plan to hunt woodcock, ducks, geese, snipe, rails, or coots, you are required to indicate on your license your intention of doing so at the time you purchase your license. (Complimentary and lifetime license holders are exempt from this requirement). The information will be used by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (H.I.P).

Featured Links

Numbers you may need

  • To reach a Game Warden 24-hours a day, please contact the dispatch center nearest you.
  • Gray
    1-800-228-0857
  • Augusta
    1-800-452-4664
  • Orono
    1-800-432-7381
  • Houlton
    1-800-924-2261
  • Dover-Foxcroft
    1-800-432-7372

  • Help stop wildlife violations
    OPERATION GAME THIEF
    1-800-ALERT US or
    1-800-253-7887

  • Band Recovery Reports
    Anyone finding a band or recovering one while hunting should call 1-800-327-BAND or 1-800-327-2263

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    E. Orland (207) 469-6842