What to do when approached by a Maine Game Warden:
Each year, Maine Game Wardens check thousands of hunters, anglers, trappers, and recreational vehicles for compliance with fish and wildlife laws. A compliance check by a Game Warden is an opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to have positive interactions with wardens while in the woods and on the waters of Maine. Game Wardens can help explain laws and can help you learn more about outdoor opportunities and conditions in your area.
Maine State Game Wardens are concerned with enforcement of laws that are intended to keep people safe, protect personal property, and conserve Maine's fish and wildlife resources for those who live in and visit Maine. There are things that you can do to ensure your experience with a Game Warden is a good one for both you and the Warden.
Game Wardens are concerned with firearm safety and compliance with hunting regulations when checking hunters. When approached by a Game Warden, you are expected to follow all basic firearms handling rules.
- Do Not attempt to load or unload your firearm while being approached by a Game Warden.
- Point the muzzle of your firearm in a safe direction away from the approaching Game Warden.
- Make sure your safety is on. Keep your finger away from the trigger.
- Comply with all instructions directed to you by the Game Warden.
While Fishing & Boating:
Game Wardens are concerned with boating safety and compliance with fishing regulations when checking anglers. When approached by a Game Warden in a patrol boat you should:
- Maintain your current speed and direction unless signaled to do otherwise or the patrol boat is displaying flashing blue lights, which is a signal for you to stop.
- Do not change direction or stop your vessel unless signaled to do so. This will help avoid contact between the vessels that could cause damage or injuries.
- Reel in all fishing lines on the side of your boat being approached by the Game Warden. Use care to keep fingers and rod tips out of the space between the boats to prevent injury or damage to equipment.
- If you are operating downriggers, trolling or operating a bow mounted electric motor, maintain your current speed and direction unless signaled to do otherwise or the patrol boat is displaying flashing blue lights indicating that you must stop.
Operating Recreational and Motor Vehicles:
Game Wardens regularly inspect ATV's, snowmobiles, and watercraft for safety and registration compliance. Wardens also stop motor vehicles at fish and wildlife checkpoints used for gathering statistics and enforcing fish and wildlife laws. In addition, Game Wardens have authority to stop motor vehicles for violations observed on Maine's highways.
A Game Warden may perform a stop of the above vehicles either by signaling you to stop with an obvious body gesture or with the use of emergency blue lights and/or siren. Game Wardens will make themselves known by identifying themselves while in uniform or by providing a badge or State law enforcement officer credential. When signaled to stop by a Game Warden please do the following:
- As soon as safely possible, bring your vehicle to a complete stop and allow the Game Warden to approach you. Failure to stop for a Game Warden may result in criminal prosecution, significant fines, and arrest.
- Be courteous and follow any directions given by the Game Warden pertaining to the recreational vehicle inspection. Your cooperation will expedite the inspection process and we will have you back on your way as quickly as possible.
State Game Wardens prefer that each interaction with an outdoor enthusiast is a pleasant experience. Please be polite and courteous. By promptly complying with all requests as directed by the game warden, you can help ensure a safe, pleasant, and productive experience. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask the Game Warden for advice or valuable tips.