Becoming a Maine Guide

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Other Guide Related Information:

Definition: "Guide" means any person who receives any form of remuneration for his services in accompanying or assisting any person in the fields, forests or on the waters or ice within the jurisdiction of the State while hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, snowmobiling or camping at a primitive camping area.

So, you want to become a Maine guide........

Guide Classifications:

Guides shall be licensed in one or more specialized classifications.

A. Specialized classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide one or more specific types of activities as follows:

  1. Specialized Hunting classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide hunting and trapping activities, including overnight camping trips in conjunction with those hunting and trapping activities.
  2. Specialized Fishing classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide fishing activities, including overnight camping trips in conjunction with those fishing activities on inland waters.
  3. Specialized Recreational classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide boating, snowmobiling and camping activities.
  4. Specialized Sea-Kayaking classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide sea-kayaking activities on the State's territorial seas and tributaries of the State up to the head of tide and out to the three mile limit, including overnight camping trips in conjunction with those sea-kayaking activities.
  5. Specialized Tide-Water Fishing classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide sport fishing activities on the State's territorial seas and tributaries of the State up to the head of tide out to the three mile limit, including overnight camping trips in conjunction with those tide-water fishing activities. This license shall apply to any person engaged in guiding fishing activity for any species of fish, except those species harvested under the authority of a Department of Marine Resources license. This rule does not apply to activity occurring on board a vessel holding a valid and current certificate of inspection issued by the United States Coast Guard.

Note: Any person operating a motorboat on the State's territorial seas and tributaries for the purpose of guiding hunting and fishing activities must obtain U.S. Coast Guard license authorizing the carriage of passengers for hire.

B. Master certification means that a person has acquired experience in a Specialized classification that exceeds the minimum requirements necessary to be licensed as a guide in that classification.

  1. Persons licensed in one or more specialized classifications may apply for certification as a Master Guide in such classification(s) by filing an affidavit with the Department showing that the applicant has met the necessary qualifications and experience requirements outlined in Chapter 24.05(B)(1)(a) and (b) below. The necessary qualifications and experience requirements are as follows:

    a. The applicant must have been licensed as a Maine guide in the specialized classification(s) for which Master Guide certification is sought each year during the ten year period preceding the submission of the affidavit for certification; and

    b. A minimum of five years professional experience in the specialized classification(s) must be documented within that ten year period. One year of professional experience shall be credited for every 240 hours worked in a calendar year. There must be a minimum of eighty hours of time spent guiding in a calendar year for that time to be creditable towards professional experience. Only actual time guiding will be credited. A description of guide's specific duties and responsibilities and amount of the time spent guiding must be included with the affidavit. The applicant may estimate the amount of time devoted specifically to guiding activity. Experience shall be credited on an hour-for-hour basis.

  2. Upon receipt of an affidavit showing that the applicant has met the necessary qualifications and experience requirements outlined in Chapter 24.05(B)(1)(a) and (b) above, the Department will validate the applicant's license with the certification that the applicant is eligible to work as a Master Guide. The applicant may not work as a Master Guide until the license certification has been validated by the Department.

    a. The certification will remain in effect as long as the guide's license is renewed within one year of expiration.

    b. A determination, an any time, that any of the information contained in the affidavit is false shall be grounds for revocation of the Master Guide certification.

Guide Application (PDF)

Testing & Fees:

All regular guides licenses are issued for a three year period.

3 year guide license = $81
68 year old resident = $56
69 year old resident = $29
3 year over 70 resident = FREE

New Applicants: (Testing process for new applicants normally takes from 6 months to a year.) All new applicants must be currently certified by the American Red Cross in standard first-aid or completion of any standard first-aid course that meets the criteria established by rule of the commissioner. Complete entire form, front and back.

Each new guide applicant must pay a $100.00 fee in each classification to be examined to become a guide. In the event the applicant fails the test, one re-examination is allowed before another application fee is assessed.

The $100.00 fee is non-refundable and will not be credited toward the license fee. Application, copies of both sides of current First Aid and $100.00 fee must be sent to: Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Guide License Application, 284 State Street, Augusta, ME 04333.

Upon successful completion of your oral exam the Department will send you written notification to contact the Regional Headquarters you indicated on the application for an appointment to take the written test.

Nonresident/Alien: Applicant may take the exam on the morning of the day he/she is scheduled for the appointment before the Board.

In order to hunt or fish, a guide is also required to purchase the proper license in addition to their guide's license.

Note: You will not be sent a study packet of information. Please print the "Resource List" for obtaining study materials.

Renewal Applicant: Read carefully and complete the entire first page of the application, signing where indicated. Submit completed application, and license fee to address on first page. Current first aid is not required to renew a guide license.

A renewal applicant whose guiding authority has been expired for 3 years must apply as a new guide and be reexamined.

Oral Examination

A. Except as otherwise provided, applicants who satisfactorily complete the application form and pass the oral examination may then be scheduled to take a written examination in the specific classification they desire.

B. Applicants must pass the map and compass and lost person scenario portions of the oral examination as a prerequisite to taking the written examination for specialized classification in hunting, fishing or recreation.

C. Applicants must pass the navigation and survival scenario portions of the oral examination as a prerequisite to taking the written examination for specialized classification in tidewater fishing.

D. Applicants must pass the navigation and lost sea kayaker portions of the oral examination as a prerequisite to taking the written examination for specialized classification in sea kayaking.

E. Applicants who fail the map and compass or the lost person scenario portion of the oral examination will be immediately notified and the examination will cease. If the applicant passes those two portions the examination will continue and the applicant will be notified of failure of any of the remaining portions of the oral examination at the completion of the examination.

F. Applicants who fail to appear for a scheduled oral examination without notifying the board of examiners in writing or telecommunication 24 hours prior to the scheduled examination will be ineligible for rescheduling for at least one year.

Written Examination

A. Except as otherwise provided, applicants must satisfactorily complete a written examination in each license classification for which he/she applies. A passing score on the written examination is 70% or higher on each section of the examination.

B. Applicants who fail the written examination will be notified in writing within 15 days.

Maine Guides (Past and Present)

A little history......

  • Maine Guides were first licensed in 1897

    The first licensed guide was a woman - "Fly Rod" Crosby (pictured right)

  • 1700 guides licensed that first year
  • Guiding was primarily for hunters and fishermen
    Big game hunting was the mainstay
    Inland fishing
    Canoe trips gained in popularity

For many years, a Maine Guide was not required to submit to any standardized testing. Interested parties simply had to pass muster with the local game warden. If he considered you qualified and fit to guide in the outdoors, presto! You were duly registered as a Maine guide! In 1975, a standardized test and procedure was established for licensing of Maine guides.

Present:

  • Approximately 4000 licensed Maine guides
  • Primarily small independent businesses

Maine Guides provide a unique perspective gained through experience!