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The Ultimate 2024 Maine Hunting Guide: Explore the Beautiful Hidden Hunting Gem of America!

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Maine Hunting is by far one of the most gorgeous and underrated hunting locations of the United States,

Lighthouse in northern Maine

and maybe even the world. With over 17 million acres of forested land and a rich history of hunting and trapping, Maine hunting offers endless opportunities for both novice and experienced stalker.

From the majestic moose to the elusive black bear, Maine’s game species are highly sought after and respected. Whether you’re a big game hunter, waterfowl enthusiast, or small game hunter, we promise you that Maine hunting has something to offer.

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about Maine hunting, including the most popular game species, hunting regulations, licenses, seasons and Maine’s recent conservation efforts to help attract more hunters to the state (spoiler: it’s going really well).

Roe deer buck running through a meadow wet from morning dew in summer Maine hunting

When is the Maine Hunting Season?

Or, as I know many of you are wondering, when is the moose hunting season in Maine? Maine offers hunting seasons for various game species throughout the year, check out the list below for each game’s hunting season!

Moose: September 27 – November 28

Black Bear: August 30 – November 27

White-tailed Deer: October 30 – December 11 (firearms season); September 11 – October 30(archery season)

Wild Turkey: April 30 – June 5 (spring season); October 2 – October 29 (fall season)

Snowshoe Hare: October 2 – March 31

Fox on the summer forest

Ruffed Grouse: October 2 – December 31

Woodcock: October 1 – November 6

Red and Gray Fox: Open year-round, except during the firearms deer season (November 1-30)

Bobcat: December 1 – February 21

Coyote: Open year-round, except during the firearms deer season (November 1-30)

Crow: September 1 – November 30; January 15 – April 15

For more specific information regarding the different hunting seasons, you can head on over to the official Maine government pages here.

Maine Hunting Licenses and Regulations

There is no hiding away from the fact that some of the most complicated parts of hunting can be the extensive process of getting a hunting license, the correct tags, and being 100% aware of all the different regulations and rules of each state.

Rest assured, this is also by far the most important part of hunting. Remember, the number 1 rule is to always respect the wildlife, nature, and conservation efforts in the states that we decide to hunt!

Maine is truly wonderful in the sense that obtaining a license is incredibly easy and convenient, and in Maine’s recent efforts to encourage more hunting in the state – the process is simpler than ever! We have collected all the necessary information you need to be aware of before setting out to obtain your license below.

Regulations book. Law, rules and regulations concept.

Who needs a Maine hunting license?

All hunters, regardless of age or experience, must obtain a hunting license before hunting in Maine. If you have questions regarding exceptions or have a valid hunting license from another state, you might qualify for a waiver. Call the official IFW licensing department at (207) 287-8000 to check if you are eligible!

How much does a Maine Hunting License Cost?

Maine Hunting licenses have different prices depending on your age, residence status, and what you are hunting. We have collected all the main licenses below. If you’re looking for more specifics, including all the different permit and tag fees, check out the official Maine IFW website here.

Maine Hunter Spotting Game


Resident Hunting License: $25

Resident Junior Hunting License: $7

Resident Senior Hunting License (age 65 and over): $7


Non-Resident Hunting License: $115

Non-Resident Junior Hunting License: $15

Non-Resident 3-Day Small Game Hunting License: $50

Non-Resident 7-Day Small Game Hunting License: $78

Non-Resident Big Game Hunting License: $279


Landowner Hunting License: $25

Military Personnel Hunting License: $25

Disabled Veteran Hunting License: Free

If you belong to any form of Native American tribe, you may also be eligible for a complimentary special hunting license. If you think this might apply to you, look for more information here.

How do I purchase a Maine Hunting License?

There are three main ways to buy a Maine Hunting license, purely based on your preference. They will all cost and work the same regardless of where you decide to purchase.


Hunting licenses in Maine can be purchased online through the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s website. This is a convenient option for those who want to purchase a license from the comfort of their own home


Licenses can also be purchased by phone by calling the IFW licensing department during regular business hours at (207) 287-8000.


You can purchase a Maine hunting license in person by visiting any of the authorized license agents throughout the state. These agents include sporting goods stores, bait shops, and other retail locations. To find an authorized license agent near you, you can visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s website and use their online search tool.

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How do I complete a Maine Hunting Safety Course?

Before obtaining a hunting license, hunters must complete a hunter education course. The course covers topics such as firearm safety, hunting ethics, and wildlife management. You can choose whether you’d like to attend online or in person.

The classes cost $25 and take about 3 hours. You can sign up for the online or in-person course here.

What does the Maine Wildlife Look Like?

Maine offers a diverse range of game for hunting enthusiasts, including the famous moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, upland birds, waterfowl, and small game.

Moose hunting is one of the most popular activities in Maine, with the state having one of the largest moose populations in the country, but keep in mind that you’ll have to enter a lottery to have a chance at a moose tag. If you can ahold of one then.. oh boy, I envy you!

A black bear sitting in the grass.

Black bear hunting is also a sought-after activity, with over 10,000 black bears in the state! Considering how small the state is geographic, you’d think they’d taken over Portland by now.

Maine also has a healthy population of white-tailed deer, which are hunted in both the northern and southern parts of the state.

Wild turkey hunting is becoming increasingly popular in Maine as well, with the state offering a both a spring and fall season. Upland bird hunting includes species such as grouse, woodcock, and pheasant, while waterfowl hunting includes ducks and geese.

Finally, small game hunting includes rabbits, squirrels, and other small animals. My uncle always said that no game was too small, and any successful hunt is one to be proud of.

… or maybe he just said that because the only kill I’d ever made at the time was an already injured grouse.

Maine Hunting is a hidden gem of the game world, offering a variety of diverse landscapes and game animals that make for an unforgettable hunting experience.

The North Maine Woods

The North Maine Woods is a vast area of wilderness that spans over 3.5 million acres in northern Maine. It is one of the best places in the state to hunt for moose, deer, bear, and grouse, with an abundance of wildlife and pristine wilderness.

The North Maine Woods is also home to several remote ponds and streams that offer excellent fishing opportunities for trout and other species. Most importantly, it’s just drop dead gorgeous.

Downeast Region

The Downeast Region of Maine is located along the coast and is known for its rugged terrain and abundant wildlife. This area is a popular destination for deer and bear hunting, as well as waterfowl and upland bird hunting.

The Downeast Region also offers some of the best saltwater fishing in the state, with opportunities to catch striped bass, bluefish, and mackerel. The scenic beauty of this region, with its rocky coastlines, dense forests, and stunning sunsets, make it a popular spot for backpacking nature lovers and hunters alike.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a remote area of northern Maine that is known for its pristine wilderness and exceptional fishing opportunities. This area is also home to some of the best moose hunting in the state, as well as opportunities to hunt for deer, bear, and grouse.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a true wilderness area, with no roads or permanent structures, making it a unique and unforgettable destination for hunters who want to experience the beauty and solitude of the Maine woods.

The Rangeley Lakes Region

Located in western Maine, the Rangeley Lakes region is known for its beautiful lakes, rivers, and mountains. This area is a popular destination for deer and moose hunting if you are lucky enough to win a tag, with a variety of different of other hunting experiences available as well.

As someone who enjoys hunting near water, this is most definitely one of the greatest locations in the state, with a healthy waterfowl and small game population as well. From hiking deep into the woods to set up camp and hunt for days to driving around in a truck or ATV to spot and stalk game, there are options for hunters of all levels of experience and physical ability.

The Katahdin Region

The Katahdin Region is located in northern Maine and is known for its rugged mountains and pristine wilderness. This area is a popular destination for hunting, with opportunities to hunt for moose, bear, and deer.

The Katahdin Region is also home to some of the best hiking and camping opportunities in the state, with trails ranging from easy walks to challenging climbs. If you’re looking to combine your love of hunting with a love of the great outdoors, this might be your perfect destination.

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Maines push to reintroduce hunting into the state

In recent years Maine has started recognizing the important role that hunting plays in supporting wildlife conservation and management efforts, as well as the positive impact it has on the state’s economy. After struggling for many years, Maine really pushed hard to ensure that hunting would continue to be a vital part of the wildlife conservation efforts in the state a few years ago.

One of the key initiatives undertaken by the state has been to streamline the hunting license purchasing process, making it easier for hunters to obtain the necessary licenses and permits online, by phone, or in person. This helped remove some of the barriers that previously prevented hunters from pursuing their passion in Maine.

Hunter aiming with weapon at the outdoor hunting

The state has also worked to expand hunting opportunities by opening up new areas for hunting and creating new seasons for different game species. For example, just in the last couple of years, Maine has opened up new areas for bear hunting, which has led to increased participation and success rates for hunters.

And what’s more, the state has also invested in high-end hunter education programs, which has helped ensure that new hunters are knowledgeable about safety and hunting regulations, as well as responsible and ethical hunting practices.

This has not only helped to improve safety in the field but also helped promote a positive image of hunting and ensure that the state’s wildlife resources are protected for many generations to come. We truly commend Maine for making this realization and doing what they can to take care of our beautiful earth and country, as well as the wildlife that inhabits it.

Why Maine Hunting?

In our opinion, Maine is truly one of the greatest hidden hunting gems of the country. Since states efforts to renew the sport of hunting have only been in effect for a few years, it is still not nearly as popular of a hunting destination as it should be.

Red deer (Cervus elaphus)

Maine hunting offers some of the most gorgeous fall scenery in the country, with colorful forests and lakes as far as the eye can see – inhabited with a wide variety of game and wildlife free for the taking.

With the government putting in as much effort as they have to make the journey easier, access to hunting has never been easier. The licenses are much easier and cheaper to obtain now than in years prior, and as a result, we see that wildlife conservation is quickly improving across the state.

More and more hunters are welcome to pursue their passion, and as the word gets out, hunters like us come from all over to partake in the state’s natural beauty.

We cannot recommend putting Maine hunting on your bucket list enough, no matter what game or style of hunting you prefer. The beauty of it is that you’re actively helping the state’s conservation efforts, and as a result, the conservation efforts of America.

Looking for information on hunting in other states? Check out our other state guides here.

Happy Hunting!

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