Laws and Rules
- ATV & Snowmobile Laws and Rules
- Boating Laws and Rules
- Fishing Laws and Rules
- Hunting and Trapping Laws and Rules
- Migratory Game Bird Hunting Laws and Rules
- Whitewater Rafting Rules (PDF)
2013 Summary of New Laws
** Below is a list of new laws from 2013 that may affect outdoor enthusiasts. The title of the law along with the LD # is listed. There are links provided for each law so that you may read the law in its entirety. By right clicking on the LD #, scrolling the list and clicking on “open hyperlink” it will take you to the law on the Maine.gov website. Some of these laws also have a short summary as interpreted by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, PLEASE NOTE: these are merely summaries.
New laws that were not enacted as "emergency" take effect October 9, 2013 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.
RESOLVE 2013 CHAPTER 18- (LD 42) Resolve, To Require the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife To Conduct a Study on the Use of Rubber Lures and Nondegradable Fishing Hooks and Lures (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 73 – (LD 542) An Act to Remove the Limit on the Retention of Live Smelts (Effective May 7, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 88 – (LD 142) An Act To Add Using an All-terrain Vehicle to the List of Activities Included in the Definition of “Guide” in the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Laws (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 93 – (LD 717) An Act To Provide Free Fishing Licenses to Certain Children in the Custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 136 – (LD 600) An Act To Include Archery Hunting Licenses Among the Complimentary Licenses Issued to a Member of a Federally Recognized Indian Tribe, Nation or Band (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 138 – (LD 173) An Act To Remove the Rangeley Plantation Sanctuary From the List of Wildlife Sanctuaries (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 139 – (LD 307) An Act To Exempt Persons Who Serve in the Armed Forces from the Requirement To Take a Hunter Safety Course To Obtain a Hunting License (Effective October 9, 2013)
- Exempts members of armed forces on active duty who are permanently stationed outside of the U.S. and home on leave from hunter safety course, archery hunter education course and crossbow hunter education course requirements if they show proof at the time of application for the license that that member’s home state of record is Maine. The next time the member wants to buy a license, if they do not meet the conditions above they must take the safety course.
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 145 – (LD 879) An Act To Increase State Wildlife Revenues and Grow the Hunting and Fishing Industries (Effective October 9, 2013)
The title does not reflect the final outcome for the law, please see provision below.
- It allows the commissioner to give all licenses and permits that the department offers to any non-resident veteran of New Hampshire or Vermont who meet the service-connected disability requirements. New Hampshire and Vermont must have a reciprocal agreement with Maine.
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 148 – (LD 1264) An Act Allowing the Harvesting of Yellow Perch with Seines (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 185 – (LD 306) An Act To Exempt Members of the Penobscot Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs from the Special Training Requirements for Archery and Trapping (Effective May 31, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 190 – (LD 334) An Act To Allow Nonprofit Organizations To Operate Snowmobiles as Trail-grooming Equipment (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 199 – (LD 857) An Act To Prohibit Municipalities from Charging Fees for and Adopting Law, Rules or Ordinances for Certain Hunting, Trapping or Fishing Activities (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 213 – (LD 101) An Act to Increase the Number of Permits Available for Junior Hunters (Effective October 9, 2013 the next antlerless deer lottery will be held in summer of 2014)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 215 – (LD 540) An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Discharge of a Firearm or Crossbow Near a Dwelling or Building (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 226 – (LD 177) An Act To Expand Moose Hunting Opportunities (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 236 – (LD 1015) An Act To Expand Crossbow Hunting (Effective October 9, 2013)
- On September 9, 2013 the Department re-examined the portion of this crossbow law that applies to 70 years of age and older. It was not the intent of the Legislative Committee to repeal this portion of the law. A person 70 years of age and older MAY continue to hunt with a crossbow for any wild bird or wild animal during any open season on that bird or animal including deer during the expanded archery season, the “October” archery season and the muzzleloading season and wild turkey during the fall season. The crossbow hunting laws pertaining to licensed hunters 70 years of age and older were in place prior to the enactment of P.L. c. 236 and will continue to be honored.
- Although the law change appears to allow anyone to hunt with a crossbow for any wild bird or wild animal during any open season on that bird or animal while still following all the other laws pertinent to that species, the following exceptions apply:
- Licensed hunters age 10-69 MAY NOT hunt deer during the expanded archery, special October archery or muzzleloading seasons or hunt wild turkey during the fall with a crossbow.
- The law directs the commissioner to permit the use of a crossbow during the spring open wild turkey hunting season by rule. PLEASE NOTE: At the time of printing there were a number of wild turkey rules in the process. The final outcome of these will not be known until fall 2013. For the most current information on turkey hunting please visit IF&W’s website: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/laws/
- DISCLAIMER: Due to the conflict in the law the department has interpreted the meaning of this law to meet the IFW Committee’s intent. Proposed corrections to the law will be put forth in the 2nd session of the 126th.
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 245 - (LD 281) An Act To Reform Maine’s Whitewater Rafting Laws
(Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 247 – (LD 144) An Act To Remove the Requirement That a Person Training Dogs on Sundays Possess a Valid Hunting License (Effective June 13, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 280 – (LD 1225) An Act To Strengthen Maine’s Wildlife Laws (Effective June 18, 2013)
- Changes and clarifies several wildlife laws.
- Changes the definition of migratory game bird by excluding rock doves which are also known as rock pigeons and excludes avocets, curlews, dowitchers, godwits, knots, oyster catchers, phalaropes, plovers, sandpipers, stilts, surf birds, turnstones, willets and yellowlegs.
- Expands the commissioner’s authority to regulate by rule the feeding of bear, turkey and moose; the current rule only applies to deer. The rule prohibits feeding of deer or placing garbage or other attractants when the department has reason to believe that it is causing a public safety hazard or may have a detrimental effect on the animal. [The law’s intent is to include bear, moose and wild turkey to this rule when rule proposals are put forth by the department.]
- A person cannot hunt, trap, molest or harass bear or release a dog or dogs to hunt bear or train dogs on bear or disturb the bait site through the use of chemicals or any other action intended to interfere with hunting bear within 50 yards of a bait site without written permission from the person who established the bait site.
- Nonresidents cannot hunt bear with dogs unless they are now “in the presence of” a resident Maine guide. Previously they only had to hunt “with” the guide. “In the presence of” is defined in this law as visual and voice contact without the use of visual or audio enhancement devices, including but not limited to binoculars, citizen band radios or electronic communication systems.
- Rock dove is added to the list of wild birds that a person may hunt, possess and take.
- When the commissioner by proclamation of the Governor closes a bird hunting season early and then chooses to reopen it the commissioner, with the consent of the Governor ,can extend the season the number of days that were lost but no more than that. When this decision is made it must now be made only as permitted by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
- A person may not take more than the daily bag limit on ruffed grouse and the person shall not possess more than the possession limit of ruffed grouse. While in or traveling through unorganized territories ruffed grouse shall be labeled with the name of the person who harvested it and the date taken before the next calendar day begins.
- Directs the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to establish a task force to consider the effect of the importation and possession of wildlife and the issues of possession and exhibition of wildlife in the State.
- Deadline to report back to IFW Committee about the task force: January 14, 2014
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 286 – (LD 757) An Act To Amend the Hunting Laws as They Pertain to the Training of Dogs (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 322 – (LD229) An Act To Simplify and Encourage the Sale of Hunting and Fishing Licenses and Permits (Effective June 21, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 333 – (LD 1016) An Act Regarding the Buying and Selling of Animal Parts
(Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 358 – (LD 1191) An Act To Strengthen the Fishing Laws (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 372 – (LD 730) An Act To Protect Maine’s Loons by Banning Lead Sinkers and Jigs (Effective dates are specified below)
- Prohibits a person from using a lead sinker (defined as weighing one ounce or less or measuring 2 ½ inches or less in length) and continues to ban the sale of and offering for sale of lead sinkers. [effective October 9, 2013]
- It also defines a bare lead jig as an unpainted lead jig that contains lead and weighs one ounce or less or measures 2 ½ inches or less in length. A bare lead jig meeting this definition may not be sold or offered for sale. [effective date of 9-1-16]
- Prohibits a person from using a bare lead jig. [effective date of 9-1-17]
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 375 – (LD 128) An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 380 – (LD 932) – An Act To Promote Fishing by Youth (Effective January 1, 2015)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 382 – (LD 1040) An Act To Prohibit the Placement of Cameras and Electronic Surveillance Equipment on Private Property without the Written Permission of the Landowner (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 387 – (LD 200) An Act To Expand Wild Turkey Hunting Opportunities (Effective October 9, 2013)
This law will allow a hunter to take 2 turkeys without having to pay an additional fee for the 2nd turkey and decreasing the permit fees so that residents and non-residents alike pay $20 for a permit that covers both spring and fall turkey hunting. It will also reduce the fee to register a turkey from $5 to $2. The legislature directed the commissioner to adopt rules specific to wild turkey hunting. PLEASE NOTE: When this document was printed the department had initiated rule-making relating to this directive but the rule-making process was still occurring. The rule-making process will not be complete until fall of 2013. For the most up to date information regarding the fall and spring wild turkey season rules and laws please see IFW’s website at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/laws/.
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 404 – (LD 541) - An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Complimentary Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Licenses for Disabled Veterans. (Effective October 9, 2013)
PUBLIC LAW 2013 CHAPTER 408 – (LD 1435) An Act to Amend Certain Provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Laws (Effective October 9, 2013)