Hunting In Maine

Hunting in Maine is not just a pastime; it’s a cultured and cherished tradition that provides outdoor enthusiasts ample opportunities to explore the state’s wilderness.

And the best part? Thanks to our long hunting seasons, there’s always a new adventure waiting for you, no matter the time of year.

Explore the endless possibilities of hunting in Maine with our ultimate guide. It’s all here in just one click – from the essential details to the most thrilling experiences.

Maine Hunting Seasons

Maine offers a diverse array of hunting seasons to accommodate the wide variety of game that can be hunted in the state. Generally, hunters deem Maine’s hunting season longer than its surrounding states, providing them ample opportunities to face their chosen quarrels.

Here is the rundown of the general hunting seasons in Maine:

DeerArchery: Mid-September to mid-December
Late October to late November
Late November to mid-December
Black BearGeneral Season: Late August to late November
With Hounds: Mid-September to late October
With Baits: Late August to late September
lottery-based permit
Late September to late November
TurkeySpring: Early May to Early June
Mid-September to early November
Upland GameGrouse and Quail: Early October to late December
Woodcock: Early October to late November
Pheasant: Early October to late December
Small GameSquirrel: Late September to late December
Hare: Early October to late March
Fox: Mid-October to late February
Porcupine: Early September to late December
Remember, these hunting seasons are subject to change yearly. Before heading afield, verify the current regulations and seasons with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s website.

Maine offers diverse huntable species, making it an appealing destination for hunters. It also has a vast wilderness and landscapes for the species to inhabit and grow their population.

Here are the best hunts you can experience in Maine:

Deer Hunting

Maine is well-known for its white-tailed deer population, offering abundant opportunities for novice and experienced hunters. In the state, deer are known for their size, with mature bucks often weighing more than 200 pounds, and the state’s vast forests provide an ideal habitat for them.

Maine, with its deep respect for the wild and the creatures that call it home, has designed its hunting regulations to ensure a sustainable, healthy deer population for generations of hunters to come.

The Antler Restrictions and the Antlerless Deer Permit Lottery are two such measures that blend conservation with the thrill of the chase.

Antler Restrictions

In Maine, the definition of a legal buck is tied to the size of its antlers. A buck must have antlers at least three inches long to be considered a legal game.

This rule aims to protect younger bucks, allowing them to mature, breed, and contribute to a robust and healthy deer population.

Antlerless Deer Permit Lottery

Given the need to carefully manage the state’s deer population, hunting antlerless deer in Maine is regulated through a special permit system. These permits are distributed via a lottery, adding an element of chance to your hunting plans.

The application period for this lottery typically takes place in the summer, with the results announced before the fall hunting seasons begin.

If you’re one of the lucky hunters drawn, you’ll have the rare opportunity to hunt an antlerless deer in addition to a buck.

Black Bear Hunting

Black bears in Maine are plentiful and grow to impressive sizes, offering an exhilarating hunting experience. Also, the state has one of the largest black bear populations in the United States.

And hear this: Maine is one of the few states in the US where hunters can pursue black bears over bait, with dogs, or by still-hunting and stalking. Sounds fun, right?

Hunting With Hounds

Also known as “hounding,” this method of bear hunting is a true test of endurance and teamwork. It involves using a pack of trained dogs to track and tree a bear.

Again, your dog is your main sidekick in this pursuit, so their safety must be one of your top priorities. To ensure this, training them to track a bear scent and tree bears without engaging in combat with these dangerous species is crucial.

Hunting With Baits

Baiting is a hunting strategy that requires patience, planning, and a keen understanding of bear behavior.

Bait can include a variety of foods, such as pastries, meats, or fruits. It should be biodegradable and free from any potentially harmful materials like plastic, glass, or metal.

Note: It’s crucial to remember that bait sites must be cleaned up. This is not only a legal requirement but also an important part of respecting the natural environment.

Moose Hunting

The moose is a magnificent animal, and experiencing a hunt for this majestic creature in the untamed wilderness of Maine is truly an unforgettable adventure.

In Maine, moose hunting is an honored tradition that requires skill and a healthy respect for the local ecosystem. However, due to the high demand and the state’s commitment to sustainable hunting practices, moose hunting is controlled through a lottery-based permit system.

Maine Moose Lottery

The Maine Moose Lottery, as it is fondly called, allows hunters to participate in this unique hunting experience.

Applications for the moose permit lottery usually open in late January or early February and close in mid-May. And once all the applications are in, the names will be drawn in June.

Chosen hunters can choose a sub-permittee to join this majestic and unforgettable hunting experience.

Top Hunting Locations in Maine

Aside from their natural beauty that enhances your outdoor experience, Maine’s diverse landscapes support a healthy population of game species, providing hunters with a backdrop for their next great hunting experience.

Allagash Wilderness Waterway

In the northernmost reaches of Maine lies the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a 92-mile-long corridor of pristine lakes, rivers, and forests.

This remote area is a paradise for hunters seeking an immersive wilderness experience. Here, you can hunt for white-tailed deer, black bears, moose, and various upland game birds. Plus, the Allagash is a region steeped in logging history, adding a sense of tradition and timelessness to your hunting adventure.

Remember, this hunting area is state-managed; hence all the state hunting regulations must be applied when hunting here.

Moosehead Lake Region

As the name suggests, the Moosehead Lake Region is known for its abundant moose population. With its sprawling forests and the largest lake in Maine, this area offers excellent opportunities for big game hunting.

Whether you’re pursuing moose or hunting black bears, you’ll be doing so in some of the most scenic landscapes in the state. And when you’re not on the hunt, you can enjoy fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing in this beautiful region.

It’s crucial to note that much of the land in this region is privately owned. Always obtain permission before hunting on private property.

Western Mountains Region

With its rough and diverse terrain, Maine’s Western Mountains Region is a paradise for daring hunters. This area is renowned for its thriving deer population, and it also presents options for bear and moose hunting.

With its mountains, forests, and farmlands, the region offers a wide range of habitats, ensuring a challenging and fulfilling hunting experience. Additionally, the magnificent autumn hues serve as a captivating backdrop for a late-season hunting expedition.

Much of the land in the Western Mountains Region is a mix of private and public land. Always respect private property rights and only hunt on private land with permission.

Hunting License

Like in any other state, Maine requires hunters to obtain a valid hunting license for a legal hunt. These licenses vary depending on the residency status, age, and preferences of hunters.

Here’s the rundown of license types available in Maine with their respective prices:

License TypeResidentNonresident
Combination License
Hunting and Fishing
Big Game Hunting$26.00$115.00
Small Game Hunting$15.003-Day: $50.00
Junior Hunting$8.00$35.00
Archery Hunting$26.006-Day: $26.00
Apprentice Hunting$26.00Small Game: $75.00
Big Game: $115.00

Hunting Permits

In addition to the general hunting license, Maine requires specific permits for hunting certain game species and using certain types of equipment.

The funds generated from these permits will be crucial in boosting the conservation effort of wildlife managers. Make sure to always obtain the necessary and species or method-specific permits before embarking on your hunt.

Permit TypesResidentNonresident
Bear Permit$27.00$80.00
Moose Permit$52.00$585
Antlerless Deer Permit$12.00$12.00
Expanded Archery Permit$32.00$32.00
Crossbow Permit$26.00$56.00
Muzzleloader Permit$13.00$69.00

Landowner Relations Program

Picture this: vast lands of breathtaking beauty, private, yes, but open to you for hunting. That’s what the Landowner Relations Program brings to the table. This program is Maine’s way of saying, “Hey, let’s all be friends and share this beautiful land we’ve got!”

Maine has many gracious landowners willing to open their private lands to hunters. To keep this relationship as friendly and respectful as possible, the Landowner Relations Program acts as a liaison, promoting good hunter behavior and facilitating conversations between landowners and hunters.

Key aspects of the program include:

  • Encouraging hunters to ask permission before accessing private land, leaving the land as they found it, and expressing appreciation to landowners.
  • Providing educational materials and signage to landowners and hunters.
  • Facilitating the resolution of conflicts between landowners and hunters.

Master Hunter Program

For those with a fiery passion for hunting and a love for the great outdoors, the Master Hunter Program is your chance to take that passion to the next level. As a Master Hunter, you’re not just a hunter; you’re an ambassador for the sport, a role model for new hunters, and a helper for landowners and biologists in wildlife conservation efforts.

Yes, it requires dedication – coursework, exams, and community service – but the reward is becoming part of an elite group of hunters who truly make a difference.


Hunting in Maine offers an extraordinary adventure, blending the thrill of the hunt with a deep commitment to wildlife conservation and respect for landowners. With its hunting opportunities that go on par with other states, Maine’s hunting is really something that shouldn’t be missed.

Are you still exploring your choices? Look no further than our hunt-by-state guide, where you can discover thrilling hunting opportunities across the United States!