When most people think of Maine, they think of lobsters. The second most common thought is either snow or native son Stephen King, who lives in Bangor.
Maine is surrounded on the west, north, and east by Canada and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. It is sparsely populated. In addition to hunting, the state offers winter sports like skiing and snowshoe hiking. The principal Maine airport is in Bangor.
A few people know Maine as a prime hunting location. The state offers some excellent big game and bird hunting. The state is divided into wildlife management districts. Each district can have different bag limits by species.
Your odds of bringing home big game are better in some areas of the state than others, depending on what you are after. Southern Maine is best for deer. Northern Main is best for moose.
Maine is No. 2 on the list of locations for moose hunters. Alaska leads the list. Maine’s subspecies, the Eastern moose, is not as big as the Alaskan moose. Bulls on this east coast state can weigh 1,000 pounds, compared to the 1,800 for a trophy Alaskan. “The bulls can … have a spread from 38 to 50 inches, although trophies with spreads up to 57 inches have been recorded. The success rate of Maine hunters is also encouraging; while the overall rate is about 70 percent, an experienced guide can push that to 95 percent,” says Hunting in the USA. Given the cost to hunt moose, $10,000 or more is possible, using Maine hunting guides and outfitters just makes sense.
What makes the difference for moose hunters is the cost. Getting in and out of Alaska is expensive. You either get there by plane, which means clearing your gun through the airport, or drive through Canada, which means clearing a gun through customs. Shipping your trophy back runs into additional expenses and even customs if you go through Canada. A trip to Maine avoids crossing the international border and for most of the eastern US, it is a drivable trip.
Moose hunts are draws. The application process opens in late January and runs through mid-May. The state reports as many as 50,000 people apply for a permit and less than 3,000 permits are issued. The Bangor Daily News has some good advice for prepping for the hunt. All About Moose offers more tips on how to make you hunt a success.
Maine is also a prime destination for bear hunts. Joey Thiel, a South Georgia hunter, makes regular trips to Maine and says hunts with a guide have a near 100 percent shot opportunity. Bagging the bear is, of course, up to the hunter. Bear licenses are over-the-counter for hunting and trapping. Bear hunting over bait is allowed.
Bear and moose can be hunted with bow, rifle, crossbow, handguns, and muzzleloaders. Be realistic about this too. You need a weapon with enough punch to take down North America’s largest mammal and one of the biggest land carnivores in the US. Shotgun slugs, big game rifles, and big-bore handguns are recommended. While the Maine law says the bow must have at least 35 pounds of draw, experts recommend 60 pounds or more.
Maine has a general deer bag limit of one per season. The bag limit can be greater if the hunter has one of the special permits. The usual rules for deer hunting apply here. Watch the wind. Learn where feeding and bedding areas are and try to set up on trails between the two areas. Above all, be quiet and still when in the stand.
Wild turkeys are a very popular game bird in The Pine Tree State. Add a turkey stamp to a big game or a small game license for these birds. Maine allows electronic calls to hunt longbeards.
The state has a spring and fall turkey season. Fall is open for any turkey and spring is for bearded birds only. The fall season allows hunters to kill five birds per season with management districts 15-17 and 20-25 allowing all five from the same area. Other districts have lower season limits. The usual rules for turkey hunting apply. Get on as much camouflage as you can. Be as still as possible and learn to use a variety of calls. Shotguns with magnum turkey loads are the preferred weapon. Archery is permitted.
Maine has migratory birds: ducks, geese, brant, rails, coots, moorhen, gallinules, woodcock, and snipe. Maine is on the Atlantic flyway and shooting birds over the ocean is possible when the flight is on. A good spread of decoys and judicious use of calls is recommended for waterfowl. Maine hunting guides and outfitters can maximize your duck hunting trip experience because they will set monitor feeding areas, set dekes the day before the hunt, and have the boat and blinds you need to ambush the birds when they come in. Just be sure you have patterned your shotgun for the loads you will use.
Maine Hunting Trips
If bear or moose are on your bucket list, Maine is the place to hunt. HuntAnywhere.com has the Maine hunting guides and outfitters who can make your dream a reality. When it is time to hunt, let us connect you to the pros.