Maine Laws Governing Wildlife

Overview

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is directed to "preserve, protect and enhance the inland fisheries and wildlife resources of the state; to encourage the wise use of these resources; to ensure coordinated planning for the future use and preservation of these resources; and to provide for the effective management of these resources" (Title 12, Chapter 903, §10051). "Wildlife" is defined as "any species of the animal kingdom, except fish, that is wild by nature, whether or not bred or reared in captivity, and includes any part, egg, or offspring of the animal, or the dead body or parts of the animal" (Chapter 901, §10001).

In addition, Title 12 Chapter 915 prohibits the take, possession or needless destruction of wild bird nests or eggs (§11854), and states that a permit is required to possess any wildlife species regulated by the state, with some exceptions (§12152). Researchers and rehabilitators may apply for scientific collection permits.

Title 12 (below) also provides guidance on what you may do if wildlife (including particular species) is causing damage to crops or orchards and what to do if you hit a bird or mammal with a vehicle.

In addition, two federal statutes, the Lacey Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, protect wildlife from illegal take and transport. More than eight hundred species of birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA, 16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712). This statute makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell "migratory birds." This act does not discriminate between live or dead birds and also grants full protection to any bird parts including feathers, eggs and nests. In addition, the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 3371-3378) of 1900 (amended in 1988) prohibits the trade of wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold. It underscores other federal, state, and foreign laws protecting wildlife by making it an additional offense to take, possess, transport or sell wildlife taken in violation of these laws.

Maine Laws Governing Wildlife Causing Damage/Nuisance

Title 12: Conservation

Part 13: Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Heading: PL 2003, c. 414, Pt. A, §2 (new); Pt. D, §7 (aff); c. 614, §9 (aff)

Subpart 4: Fish and Wildlife Heading: PL 2003, c. 414, Pt. A, §2 (new); Pt. D, §7 (aff); c. 614, §9 (aff)

Chapter 921: Wildlife Causing Damage or Nuisance Heading: PL 2003, c. 414, Pt. A, §2 (new); Pt. D, §7 (aff); c. 614, §9 (aff)

§12401 - Attacking domestic animals or destroying property

Except as provided in sections 12402 and 12404, a person may lawfully kill, or cause to be killed, any wild animal or wild turkey, night or day, found in the act of attacking, worrying or wounding that person's domestic animals or domestic birds or destroying that person's property. A person who kills a wild animal or wild turkey by authority of this section shall report the incident to the Maine Warden Service as provided in section 12402, subsections 3 and 4. [2003, c. 414, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF).]

Section History

2003, c. 414, §A2 (NEW). 2003, c. 414, §D7 (AFF). 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF).

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§12402 - Damage to crops or orchards

A person who violates this subsection commits a Class E crime.
[2003, c. 655, Pt. B, §239 (AMD); 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF); 2003, c. 655, Pt. B, §422 (AFF).]

Section History

2003, c. 414, §A2 (NEW). 2003, c. 655, §B239 (AMD). 2003, c. 414, §D7 (AFF). 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF). 2003, c. 655, §B422 (AFF). 2007, c. 198, §§1, 2 (AMD).

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§12403 - Damage to motor vehicles by wild animals or wild birds

Section History

2003, c. 414, §A2 (NEW). 2003, c. 552, §13 (AMD). 2003, c. 655, §§B240,241 (AMD). 2003, c. 414, §D7 (AFF). 2003, c. 552, §15 (AFF). 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF). 2003, c. 655, §§B422,C2,6 (AFF).

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§12404 - Specific animals

Section History

2003, c. 414, §A2 (NEW). 2003, c. 552, §14 (AMD). 2003, c. 655, §§B242,243 (AMD). 2003, c. 414, §D7 (AFF). 2003, c. 552, §15 (AFF). 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF). 2003, c. 655, §§B422,C2,6 (AFF). 2005, c. 477, §14 (AMD).

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