As we creep toward the middle of Maine’s hunting season, with moose hunting beginning on Sept. 28 and many hunters gearing up for deer hunting, it’s important to stay fresh on safety rules and regulations regarding both personal safety and environmental protections to preserve the sustainability of hunting in Maine for years to come.
Regardless of specific rules and regulations, there are a few general rules of thumb hunters must keep in mind throughout the fall and winter seasons. Foremost, hunting is illegal on Sundays in Maine, and hunters may not pursue any animal out of season as directed by the 2020-2021 Maine Hunting Seasons guide, which provides the first and last day of each animal’s particular season, as well as daily bag and possession guidelines. Be sure to check these guidelines before each outing. During the trip, always stay at least 100 yards away from dwellings and boat launches, among other prohibited areas referenced in the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MIFW) General Hunting Laws page.
As far as hunter safety goes, MIFW has several resources for beginners and those looking to return for the new season. Some of the basics include making sure your gear is refreshed, maintained and packed safely to carry with you during your outing. Weapon safety is also critical. MIFW urges hunters to remember this acronym as illustrated on their website: “T, Treat every firearm as if it is loaded; A, Always point the muzzle in a safe direction; B, Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it; and K, Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.” Of course, in order to obtain a hunting license of any sort, one must pass the relevant hunter’s safety course easily found on MIFW’s website under their “Hunting and Trapping Licenses and Permits” tab, but it is important to stay current and keep a watchful eye both for your own safety and those around you.
Other helpful tips include making sure to use the buddy system, or otherwise notifying your friends and family where you plan to be and for how long you plan to be out during your trip. Make sure to carry a basic first aid kit with you, as well as wearing the standard hunter’s orange gear when you plan to be out in the woods. It is also helpful to bring extra layers and hand warmers as the days start to get cooler, as handling a firearm with cold hands can be challenging and present unwanted complications.
For more specific information on how to procure hunting licenses, trapping guidelines, and great places to spend a fall afternoon, visit MIFW’s website at www.maine.gov/ifw/ and choose the header “Hunting and Trapping.”