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Learn About Maine Hunting Licenses

Residents must obtain a hunting license in Maine if they wish to hunt wild animals or birds throughout the state. While most licenses are available to junior, adult and senior hunters, the credential type varies, depending on whether applicants are older or younger than 16 years of age.

For instance, adults may purchase licenses for big or small game hunting, trapping, or archery, while minors may only obtain junior hunting or trapping licenses. Apprentice hunter licenses are also available to applicants who are older than 16 years of age, but have never held an adult license for hunting.

However, complimentary licenses are available to qualifying Native Americans and disabled veterans. In most cases, a hunting permit is also necessary to engage in most activities involving the hunting of bear, coyote, pheasant, falcon, wild turkey or moose.

To obtain a DNR license in Maine, most first-time credential holders need to complete an outdoor safety course if they wish to hunt by firearm, crossbow, trapping or archery. However, applicants are exempt from these safety course requirements if they are Native Americans, active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, or have previously held an adult license for hunting. If DNR hunting license applicants do need to complete a safety course, they must submit proof of completing an education program as part of the application process.

How to Get a Hunting License in Maine

The process of how to get a hunting license in Maine varies slightly, depending on the age of the applicant and the specific type of credential he or she wishes to obtain. However, most residents can get an online hunting license, or they may complete the application process in person or by mail. As another option, applicants may obtain a license through an authorized agent, such as a town clerk. If applicants are eligible for a complimentary, military or lifetime license, however, they generally need to apply in person, at the Augusta office of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW).

As part of the state’s hunting license requirements, most MDIFW applicants must submit proof of state residency and evidence of completing an outdoor safety course. However, Native Americans and military members are generally exempt from these requirements.

Types of Hunting Licenses in Maine

The lifetime hunting license in Maine, complimentary licenses, special licenses and limited credentials for junior hunters are just a handful of the 30 credentials available for hunters in the state. However, each license type varies by game category, the age and resident status of the hunter, and the specific type of equipment used during the hunt. For instance, specific licenses are available depending on whether hunters wish to use firearms, traps or bows and arrows. While many of these licenses are available to junior and adult hunters, only qualifying adults who are 16 years of age or older may hunt without supervision.

In addition to purchasing an adult or youth hunting license through the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), hunters must obtain additional permits for targeting certain types of game or using various types of equipment.

Hunter Safety and Education Courses in Maine

Residents must complete a hunter safety course in Maine before they may obtain an adult hunting license or any applicable permits, unless they are exempt from meeting these requirements. Before obtaining a hunting license under the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), applicants typically need to complete an outdoor education course for the specific type of credential they wish to obtain, such as a firearm, trapping or archery license. For instance, a hunter education course may focus on how to safely and responsibility hunt with firearms, bow and arrows, crossbows and traps.

While most applicants need an outdoor hunting certificate before they may obtain a firearms or archery license under the MDIFW, active military members and Native Americans are generally exempt from meeting this requirement. However, residents may enroll in a safety course at any time if they wish to refresh their hunting knowledge and skills.

Hunting Laws and Regulations in Maine

Before the Maine hunting season begins, it is important for residents to refamiliarize themselves with the state’s local laws and regulations, even if they are seasoned hunters. If residents violate local hunting laws or engage in any type of unlawful behavior, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) may revoke their credentials for anywhere between one and 10 years. For instance, unlawful hunting behavior may include the shooting of domestic animals, hunting while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or violating local baiting laws. 

Furthermore, other hunting regulations in Maine pertain to the age of the hunter, daily bag limits, permitted hunting hours, and the reselling of wild animals. To obtain an adult hunting license, for instance, applicants must be at least 16 years of age. Additionally, most animals cannot be hunted at night or before sunrise.