maine hunting seasons

The Complete Guide to Maine Hunting Seasons

In Maine, hunting seasons are synonymous with the arrival of October, with its crisp air and brilliant foliage. Hunting chances for upland birds and large game are plentiful in Maine. More than 17 million acres of forest and woodland in Maine attract hunters searching for moose, deer, bear, and other game. Ruffed grouse and woodcock thrive in young forest settings, while waterfowl visit coastal estuaries during the fall migration. Snowshoe hares and squirrels are good options for individuals looking for small game. From the opening of the dove season on September 1 until the moose hunt in December, avid hunters will appreciate Maine’s long seasons. Thanks to the free online permits, it’s simple to join the fun. Wild game hunting is good for the soul and body and helps maintain healthy wild animal populations. Against the backdrop of Maine’s quintessential autumn scenery, it’s time to pull out your decoys, zero in your rifle, and enjoy the excitement of the hunt.

The Fundamentals of Knowing When to Go Hunting

At the outset, many people think of the spectacular fall foliage display as the hallmark of autumn in Maine. However, this time of year heralds the beginning of numerous Maine hunting seasons, providing exciting prospects for hunters. Let’s look at the various hunting seasons in Maine and what you need to know about them as you plan your next hunting trip.

Seasonal Hunting in Maine: An Overview

More than 17 million acres of forest, field, and wetland in Maine are open to hunters. Dove season begins in September, and moose season winds down in December. There are seasons for larger wildlife like deer and bear, smaller species like rabbits and squirrels, and upland birds like turkeys and grouse. Hunting in Maine is available for hunters of all skill and interest levels.

On the other hand, Seasons for hunting squirrels and rabbits provide novices with plenty of opportunities to practice on manageable prey. Hunters with more experience can go for spring wild turkeys or head into the deep woods of Maine in quest of moose, bear, and deer. Whether you prefer the mountains or the coast, there is a wide variety of public land from which to choose to design your ideal hunting experience.

The Laws and Restrictions That Every Hunter in Maine Needs to Know

Firstly, the variety of hunting in Maine is intriguing, but hunters should familiarize themselves with the state’s regulations before venturing out. Licenses, tags, blazing orange, Sunday hunting, and game reports are all part of Maine’s hunting restrictions. Some rules are different for locals and visitors.

For instance, non-locals can’t enter the moose permit lottery or shoot bears without a guide. Many times of the year, they call for a blazing orange vest. Always know who or what you’re shooting at and what’s beyond it before opening day. If you want to have a legal and ethical hunt, you should study Maine’s hunting rules.

Lastly, the state of Maine, with its abundant natural resources, is a popular hunting destination every autumn. Hunting in the Pine Tree State may be a wonderful experience if you take the time to research the seasons and rules, acquire the necessary licenses, and then venture out into the stunning wilderness to pursue wild game.

Hunting Destinations Throughout Maine

Allagash Wilderness Waterway

Overview: Perfect for those seeking a serene yet exciting hunting experience, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is home to various desirable games, including moose.

  • Size: Spanning over 92 miles of rivers and lakes.
  • Location: Northern Maine, it’s a premier wildlife corridor from the Appalachian Mountains to Quebec. Map
  • Conditions: The region offers dense forest cover and can be challenging with wet terrain. However, its vastness prevents over-crowding, providing a unique hunting experience.

Baxter State Park

Overview: With a giant moose, black bear, and white-tailed deer population, it’s a hunting paradise.

  • Size: A vast land of about 209,644 acres.
  • Location: Located in Northeast Piscataquis, Maine, in the heart of the state. Map
  • Conditions: The park is primarily wild and presents dense woodlands. The rugged ground has various small ponds, making the task challenging and exciting.

Bigelow Preserve

Overview: Bigelow Preserve is a treasured location amongst deer and moose hunters.

  • Size: Approximately 36,000 acres of magnificent land of rolling hills and mountains.
  • Location: Western Maine, encompassing parts of Franklin County. Map
  • Conditions: The preserve.
Deer Hunt in Maine

Overview of Maine Hunting Seasons for Various Game

When you look at Maine’s gorgeous wildlife, you can immediately appreciate the multifaceted diversity of the state’s ecology. Maine is a paradise for those who live for the adventure of the great outdoors and the thrill of the hunt.


Is the stealthy pursuit of your victim through the woodland something you really care about? If so, you could enjoy going deer hunting. Deer hunting is legal in Maine with the help of either-sex permits and deer without antlers permits. Hunters must wear orange clothes for visibility, and the hunting season runs from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after dusk. During Maine hunting seasons, rifle permit holders are limited to one buck per permit; special permits are required for any extra deer. Hunters must have a Big Game Hunting License and proof of completing a hunter education course.


Those needing a more formidable test should go on a moose hunt. Winners of the moose lottery get the necessary permits. Rules for the regular bull season include only hunting during daylight hours and only moose with antlers wider than 50 inches or with three tines on one side. Depending on the type of permission, the annual bag limit for moose is often one. A large game license and the moose lottery draw are required to legally hunt the animal.

Black Bear

Hunting for black bears is a beautiful, adrenaline-filled experience. A big game pursuing license grants permission to hunt bears. Please be aware that it is against the law to kill a bear cub or an adult bear with a cub in its possession. There is a yearly bag restriction of one bear during the bear season. You’ll need a big-game hunting license for this.

Wild Turkey

If you’re looking for a more quick and cunning prey, try hunting wild turkeys. Spring and fall Wild Turkey permits are required, and shotguns and bows are the only legal methods of taking down these birds. There is a daily bag restriction of one wild turkey of either gender and a spring bag limit of two bearded wild turkeys. Small game hunting licenses and turkey permits are required for this activity.

Strategies for Success in Maine Hunting Seasons

Deer, moose, bear, and upland bird hunting opportunities abound in Maine throughout the year. If you want to increase your chances of success while hunting in Maine over the several seasons, this information is for you. Become an expert tracker and stalker, understand animal behavior, adapt your strategy to the seasons, and persevere through lousy weather by reading these recommendations. 

Acquiring Skills for a Variety of Games

Tips for Tracking and Stalking

Learn from the pros how to decipher animal footprints, patterns, and signs to find them. Master the art of silently pursuing your target.

The Behavior of Animals

When shooting deer or moose, it’s helpful to have insider information about their behaviors to anticipate their whereabouts, what they eat, and the best spots to see them.

Early Season vs. Rut Hunting Tactics

Instead of focusing on finding feeding spots in the early fall, change our strategy for the rut to rattling, calling, and targeting scrapes.

Strategies for Challenging Weather Conditions

Stay out in the elements and enjoy your quest. Weathering the elements requires particular equipment and tactics. 

Ending Notes

In sum, hunters can choose from a wide variety of game in Maine. Participating in any of these activities is a great way to go outside, learn about conservation, and connect meaningfully with others. Before setting out on a hunting trip, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the laws, bag restrictions, and license prerequisites. Keep in mind that the excitement of hunting comes not just from winning the race but also from ensuring the species’ survival. Hunting in Maine is about respecting the environment, the wildlife, and the longstanding customs that have shaped the sport for generations. Have fun, and may your quests always lead you to exciting new places.