Migratory Game Birds

0
148

On this page:

  • Migratory Game Bird Regulations
  • Summary of Federal Regulations
  • Maine Waterfowl Hunting Zones Map
  • 2024-2024 Migratory Game Birds Seasons & Bag Limits
  • 2024-2024 Migratory Bird Hunter’s Legal Hunting Hours
  • Pursuit of Crippled Waterfowl Under Power
  • Definition of North and South Zone Line
  • Definition of Coastal Zone Line
  • Nontoxic Shot – Statewide
  • Haley Pond
  • Wildfowl Decoys
  • Laws Specific to Merrymeeting Bay
  • Laws Specific to Merrymeeting Bay Game Sanctuary
  • Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.)
  • Stamp Requirements
  • Duck Stamp Art Contest
  • Field Possession Limit
  • Importation
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye
  • Band Recovery Reports

Migratory Game Bird Regulations

For the purpose of this section, migratory game birds include and are limited to species in the following families:

  1. Anatidae (wild ducks, geese, and brant);
  2. Rallidae (rails, coots, moorhens and gallinules); and
  3. Scolopacidae (woodcock and snipe).

Except as expressly provided in the regulations, it is unlawful to hunt, capture, kill, take, possess, transport, buy or sell any migratory game bird or part thereof.

1. Hunting Methods

Aids and Equipment: It is lawful to hunt migratory game birds with dogs, artificial decoys, manually or mouth-operated bird calls, hand-held bow and arrow, crossbow, the practice of falconry, or with a shotgun not larger than No.10 gauge and incapable of holding more than three shells, fired from the shoulder. Every other method is unlawful.

Watercraft: It is lawful to hunt migratory game birds from floating craft (except a sinkbox), including those capable of being propelled by motor, sail and wind, or both, only when

  1. the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sails furled, as the case may be, and
  2. the progress or motion of the craft in the water has ceased and the craft is drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor, or is being propelled solely by paddle, oars, or pole. It is lawful to use a motor or sail on a craft as a means of retrieving or picking up dead or injured birds.

The shooting of crippled waterfowl from a motorboat under power is permitted on those coastal waters and all waters of rivers and streams lying seaward from the firs upstream bridge.

2. Transportation

Any person, without a permit, may transport lawfully killed and possessed migratory game birds into, within, or out of any State, or export such birds to a foreign country during and after the open seasons in the State where taken, subject to the following conditions and restrictions:

Identifiable condition: If such birds are dressed, one fully-feathered wing must remain attached to each bird so as to permit species identification while being transported between the place where taken and the personal abode of the possessor or a commercial preservation facility.

Properly marked package: The package or container in which such birds are transported shall have the name and address of both the shipper and the consignee and an accurate statement of the numbers and kinds of birds contained therein clearly and conspicuously marked on the outside thereof.

3. Possession for the Purpose of Processing, Transportation, or Storage

Tagging Requirement: A hunter who legally takes and possesses migratory game birds and wishes to place or leave any such birds in the custody of any other person for picking, cleaning, processing, shipping, transportation, or storage (including temporary storage) must sign and attach a tag to the birds stating the hunter’s address, the total number and kinds of birds, and the date such birds were killed. No person may receive or have in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are tagged as provided above.

Untagged Birds: If birds are not tagged as provided above, the only legal place of storage is the personal abode of the hunter who legally took and possesses the birds.

Vehicles: Legally possessed migratory game birds being transported in any vehicle as the personal baggage of the possessor are not deemed to be in storage or temporary storage.

Record Keeping: Any commercial picking establishment or cold-storage or locker plant receiving, possessing, or having in custody any migratory game birds must maintain accurate records showing the numbers and kinds of such birds, the dates received and disposed of, and the names and addresses of the persons from whom such birds were received and to whom they were delivered. These records shall be retained for a period of 1 year from the close of the open season on migratory game birds in the state where the picking establishment or cold-storage or locker plant is located.

4. Termination of Possession

For the purposes of this part, the possession of birds legally taken and properly tagged by any hunter shall be deemed to have ceased when such birds have been delivered by the hunter:

  1. to another person as a gift
  2. to a post office
  3. to a common carrier
  4. to a commercial cold-storage or locker plant for subsequent transportation by the postal service or a common carrier to someone other than the hunter

5. Wounded Live Migratory Game Birds

Every migratory game bird wounded by hunting and reduced to possession by the hunter shall be immediately killed and become a part of the daily bag limit.

6. Possession of Plumage

Any person, without a permit, may possess and transport for his own use the plumage and skins of lawfully taken migratory game birds.

7. Wanton Waste of Migratory Game Birds

No person shall kill or cripple any migratory game bird pursuant to this regulation without any visible means to retrieve and without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird and include it in their daily bag limit.

The shooting of crippled waterfowl from a motorboat under power is permitted on those coastal waters and all waters of rivers and streams lying seaward from the first upstream bridge.

Additionally, Maine state law states that a person may not waste a wild bird that has been wounded or killed by that person while hunting, or intentionally leave any wounded or killed animal in the field or forest without making a reasonable effort to retrieve and render it for consumption or use.

8. Open Seasons, Limits, and Other Provisions

Migratory game birds may be taken only in accordance with open seasons, legal shooting hours, and daily bag and possession limits.

See also  The 5 Best Bass Boats for the Money: Top Picks and Reviews

Bag Limit: No person may take in any one day more than the daily bag limit or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies.

Possession Limit: No person may possess more birds lawfully taken than the possession limit or the aggregate possession limit, whichever applies.

Opening Day: On the opening day of the season, no person shall possess any freshly killed migratory game birds in excess of the daily bag limit, or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies.

Closed Season: No person may possess any freshly killed migratory game birds during the closed season.

Back to top

Summary of Federal Regulations

Notice: The material below is only a summary of Federal rules. Each hunter should also consult the actual Federal regulations, which may be found in Title 50, code of Federal Regulations, Part 20.

Restrictions: No person shall take migratory game birds:

A. While possessing shot (either in shot shells or as loose shot for muzzleloading) other than steel shot or such shot approved as nontoxic while taking Anatidae (ducks, geese, and brant), coots and any species that make up aggregate bag limits during concurrent seasons.

B. With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10-guage, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance.

C. With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler that cannot be removed without disassembling the gun.

D. From a sink box (a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water).

E. From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven land conveyance, or any aircraft, except that paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance. “Paraplegic” means an individual afflicted with paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement of both legs, usually due to disease of or injury to the spinal cord.

F. By the use or aid of live decoys. All live, tame or captive ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting, and confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl.

G. Using records or tapes of migratory bird calls or sounds, or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls.

H. By means or aid of any motor driven land, water, or air conveyance, or any sailboat used for the purpose of or resulting in the concentrating, driving, rallying, or stirring up of any migratory bird.

I. By the aid of baiting or on or over any baited area, where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. However, nothing in this paragraph prohibits the taking of migratory game birds on or over the following lands or areas that are not otherwise baited areas: a) standing crops or flooded standing crops; standing, flooded, or manipulated natural vegetation; flooded harvested croplands; or lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered safely as a result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation or normal soil stabilization practice; b) from a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation; c) from a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, as long as such camouflaging does not result in the exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of grain or other feed.

J. A person must also retain the bird in their actual custody, at the place where taken or between that place and either (a) their automobile or principle means of land transportation; or (b) their personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging.

Back to top

Maine Waterfowl Hunting Zones

  • Printable Maine Waterfowl Hunting Zone Map (PDF)

Definition for North and South Zone Line

Maine-New Brunswick border in Baileyville, Maine west along Stony Brook to Route 9 in Baileyville. West along Route 9 to Route 15 in Bangor. West along Route 15 to I-95 in Bangor. Southwest along I-95 to Route 202 (Exit 109A) in Augusta. Southwest along Route 202 to Route 11 in Auburn. Southwest along Route 11 to Route 110 in Newfield. West along Route 110 to Maine-New Hampshire border.

Definition for South/Coastal Zone Line

Maine-New Brunswick border in Calais at the Route 1 bridge. South along Route 1 to the Maine-New Hampshire border in Kittery.

Back to top

2024-2024 Migratory Game Birds Seasons and Bag Limits

Species and Area Seasons Limits First Day Last Day Daily Bag Possession Crows* Wildlife Management Districts 1-6 August 1, 2024 September 23, 2024 No Limit February 5, 2024 April 15, 2024 August 1, 2024 September 21, 2024 Crows* Wildlife Management Districts 7-29 August 1, 2024 September 23, 2024 January 22, 2024 March 30, 2024 August 1, 2024 September 21, 2024 Common Snipe** September 1, 2024 January 3, 2024 8 24 Woodcock** September 30, 2024 November 21, 2024 3 9 Rails (Sora and Virginia)*** September 1, 2024 November 21, 2024 25 Single or in aggregate Canada Goose (Early) North Zone September 1, 2024 September 25, 2024 8 24 South Zone September 1, 2024 September 25, 2024 10 30 Coastal Zone September 1, 2024 September 25, 2024 10 30 Canada Goose Regular, White-Fronted Geese North Zone October 2, 2024 December 9, 2024 2 6 South Zone October 2, 2024 October 14, 2024 November 1, 2024 December 25, 2024 Coastal Zone October 2, 2024 October 7, 2024 3 9 October 27, 2024 January 9, 2024 Snow Geese Including Blue Geese October 2, 2024 January 31, 2024 25 DucksIncluding Black Ducks, American Coot, American Wigeon, Common Goldeneye, Scaup, Sea Ducks, Teal, Mergansers, Pintails, Ring-Necked Duck North Zone September 25, 2024 December 2, 2024 6 Species-specific bag limits may be found below. All duck species not listed under exceptions below have a daily bag limit of 4 and possession limit of 12. 18 Species-specific bag limits may be found below. All duck species not listed under exceptions below have a daily bag limit of 4 and possession limit of 12. South Zone September 30, 2024 October 14, 2024 November 1, 2024 December 25, 2024 Coastal Zone September 30, 2024 October 7, 2024 November 9, 2024 January 9, 2024 Brant North Zone September 25, 2024 October 28, 2024 1 3 South Zone October 2, 2024 October 14, 2024 October 31, 2024 November 20, 2024 Coastal Zone October 2, 2024 October 7, 2024 December 13, 2024 January 9, 2024 Special Falconry Season In addition to the regular migratory bird season (on Ducks, Geese, Mergansers, American Coots.) North Zone December 18, 2024 February 7, 2024 3 Respectively, singly or in aggregate Species Restrictions Apply 9 Respectively, singly or in aggregate Species Restrictions Apply South Zone January 10, 2024 March 1, 2024 Coastal Zone January 10, 2024 March 1, 2024 Special Youth Waterfowl Hunts All duck species except Harlequins, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and Moorhens and Gallinules – may be hunted on these days, including geese. For the Sept 23, Oct 21, Oct 28 and Dec 9 youth days, the goose limit is under the Regular Season limit. On youth waterfowl hunting days, scoters, eiders, and long-tailed ducks may be taken as part of the 6 bird daily limit on regular ducks. Also on these dates, 2 Black Ducks may be taken. North Zone September 16, 2024 & December 9, 2024 Special regulations apply to youth and accompanying adult. Please see Junior Hunters section. South Zone September 23, 2024 & October 21, 2024 Coastal Zone September 23, 2024 & October 28, 2024

See also  Do PCP Air Rifles Need Special Scopes?

All dates are inclusive except that hunting is prohibited on Sunday. * Crows are neither migratory waterfowl or migratory game birds. The use of lead shot and the use of a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells is permitted. A migratory waterfowl stamp is not required. Use of electronic calls is permitted.

** Woodcock & Snipe are considered migratory game birds, not migratory waterfowl. The use of lead shot is permitted. The use of a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells is prohibited. A migratory waterfowl stamp is not required.

*** Rails are considered migratory game birds not migratory waterfowl. The use of lead shot and a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells is prohibited. A migratory waterfowl stamp is not required.

Exceptions

Species Limit Harlequin Ducks, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Moorhens & Gallinules Closed Season American Coots In addition to the 6 duck daily bag limit, hunters may take 5 coots. It is unlawful to possess more than 15 coots at any time. Northern Pintails, Mottled Ducks, Fulvous Whistling Ducks, and Scaup The daily limit on these species is 1 bird; possession limit is 3. Black Duck, Redhead, Hen Mallards and Canvasback The daily limit on these species is 2 birds; possession limit is 6. Mallards The daily limit is 4 (2 hen mallards); possession limit is 12 (6 hen mallards). Mergansers (Common, Red-breasted and Hooded) In addition to the 6 duck daily bag limit, hunters may take 5 mergansers in the aggregate, with a species specific limit of 5. It is unlawful to possess more than 15 mergansers at any time. Sea Ducks (Scoter, Eider, and Long-Tailed Duck) The daily limit is 3 by species (4 total sea ducks), not exceeding 1 hen eider; possession limit is 9 by species (12 total sea ducks), not exceeding 3 hen eiders. Teal No more than 4 of any one Teal species (American green-winged teal, blue winged teal, or cinnamon teal) can be taken in a day; possession limit is 12. Wood Ducks The daily limit is 3 birds, possession limit is 9.

Back to top

Hunting Hours

Hunting hours on migratory game birds are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset daily.

Back to top

Pursuit of Crippled Waterfowl Under Power

The shooting of crippled waterfowl from a motorboat under power is permit ted on those coastal waters and all waters of rivers and streams lying seaward from the first upstream bridge.

Back to top

Definition of North and South Zone Line

Maine-New Brunswick border in Baileyville, Maine west along Stony Brook to Route 9 in Baileyville. West along Route 9 to Route 15 in Bangor. West along Route 15 to I-95 in Bangor. Southwest along I-95 to Route 202 (Exit 109A) in Augusta. Southwest along Route 202 to Route 11 in Auburn. Southwest along Route 11 to Route 110 in Newfield. West along Route 110 to Maine-New Hampshire border.

Back to top

Definition of Coastal Zone Line

Includes areas south of a line beginning at the Maine- New Brunswick border in Calais at the Route 1 bridge, South along Route 1 to the Maine- New Hampshire border in Kittery.

Back to top

Nontoxic Shot – Statewide

The use or possession of ammunition loaded with other than nontoxic shot while hunting wild ducks, geese, brant, rails, or coots is prohibited. Nontoxic shot means any shot type that does not cause sickness and death when ingested by these birds and is approved for use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director. Steel, bismuth-tin, iron-tungsten, iron-tung sten- nickel, copper-clad-iron, corro sion- inhibited copper, tungsten-bronze, tungsten-iron-copper-nickel, tungsten-ma trix, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-tin-iron, tungsten-tin-bismuth, tungsten-tin-iron nickel, and tungsten-iron-polymer shot have been approved nontoxic by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. See the USFWS website on nontoxic shot for more detail: fws.gov.

On National Wildlife Refuges that permit hunting of upland game, persons hunting upland species other than deer and turkey with a shotgun shall possess and use only nontoxic shot while in the field

Back to top

Haley Pond – Closed to Hunting

It is unlawful to hunt waterfowl on Haley Pond in the Town of Rangeley and Dallas Plt. in Franklin County.

Back to top

Wildfowl Decoys

It is unlawful to shoot,or shoot at, or near, any wildfowl decoy of another person, with a firearm, bow and arrow or crossbow. “Near” means the area encompassed by the set of decoys and including the area 50 yards away from the outer perimeter of the set of decoys.

See also  The Lure and Lore of Mountain Whitefish - Dennis Dauble Books

Back to top

Laws Specific to Merrymeeting Bay

Laws outlined below apply to the waters of the Kennebec River, known as Merrymeeting Bay, bounded as follows: From the high tension wires at Chop’s Point to the first dam on the Androscoggin River, to the first road bridge on the Muddy, Cathance, Abbagadassett, and Eastern rivers and the Richmond-Dresden bridge on the Kennebec River, being in the counties of Cumberland, Sagadahoc, and Lincoln.

  • No artificial cover which is termed stationary blind, or parts thereof, used for hunting purposes shall be left or allowed to remain in the waters of Merrymeeting Bay between one hour after legal shooting time and one hour before legal shooting time.
  • No duck decoys shall be allowed to remain in the waters of Merrymeeting Bay at any time during the period from one hour after legal shooting time until one hour before legal shooting time.
  • No power boat may be operated in Merrymeeting Bay at a speed in excess of 10 miles per hour except within the confines of the buoyed channels.

Back to top

Laws Specific to Merrymeeting Bay Game Sanctuary

Hunting is not allowed within this sanctuary. The corners of the sanctuary are marked by orange buoys. A map of the sanctuary can be found at mefishwildlife.com or by calling MDIFW at 287-8000.

Merrymeeting Bay sanctuary is an area easterly of the confluence of the Abagadasset River and Merrymeeting Bay, south of Browns point (formerly Kelley’s point) in Bowdoinham and the high tension powerlines crossing the Kennebec River, and west of the shoreline of Chopps point in Woolwich.

Waypoints for the sanctuary are as follows (Datum WGS84):

Northwest corner: 44° 00.148′ 69° 50.645′ Northeast corner: 43° 00.035 69° 49.169′ Southeast corner: 43° 59.531′ 69° 49.533′ Southwest corner: 43° 59.894′ 69° 50.752′

Using motorboat within Merrymeeting Bay Game Sanctuary: A person may not use a motorboat within Merrymeeting Bay Game Sanctuary, except that motorboats may be used between the Woolwich shore on the east and a line on the west designated by a series of orange markers adjacent to the edge of the grassy marsh area from Kelly’s Point to the southern boundary of the Merrymeeting Bay Game Sanctuary.

Back to top

Harvest Information Program

If you plan to hunt woodcock, ducks, geese, snipe, rails, or coots, you are required to indicate on your license your intention of doing so at the time you purchase your license. The information will be used by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (H.I.P). For more information, see Maine’s Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program.

Back to top

Stamp Requirements

The State Migratory Waterfowl Permit is required of anyone 16 years of age or older if they are hunting on an adult license, but is not required if continuing to hunt on a junior license for the remainder of the calender year. Anyone who turns 16, whether hunting on an adult license or a junior license, must purchase a Federal Stamp The Federal Stamp must be validated by the holders signature written across the face of the stamp in ink.

The state permit may be purchased for $7.50 from local license agents or from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 350 Water St., SHS #41, Augusta, ME 04333. The Federal stamp can be purchased by visiting your local Post Office or USPS.com.

The Migratory Waterfowl Stamp is not required to hunt woodcock, snipe, rails or crows. For more details, contact the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife at 287-8000. Note: All revenue from the sale of state waterfowl permits must be used exclusively for acquisition of waterfowl habitat and waterfowl management activities.

Back to top

Duck Stamp Art Contest

Click here to learn more about the annual duck stamp art contest.

Back to top

Field Possession Limit

No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit while in the field or while returning from the field to one’s car, hunting camp, home, etc.

Back to top

Importation

For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country, hunters should consult 50 CFR 20.61 through 20.66. One fully-feathered wing must remain attached to all migratory game birds being transported between the port of entry and one’s home or to a migratory bird preservation facility. No person shall import migratory game birds killed in any foreign country, except Canada, unless such birds are dressed (except as required in 20.63), drawn, and the head and feet are removed. No person shall import migratory game birds belonging to another person.

Dual Violation

Violation of State migratory bird regulations is also a violation of Federal regulations.

Caution

More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For additional information on Federal refuge regulations, see National Wildlife Refuges.

Back to top

Barrow’s Goldeneye

Can you tell the difference between a Common and a Barrow’s Goldeneye?

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wishes to continue the lawful hunting of Common Goldeneyes while ensuring adequate protection of the Barrow’s Goldeneye, a Threatened Species under the Maine Endangered Species Act.

Barrow’s and Common Goldeneyes look very similar. Our goal is to reduce the unintentional take of Barrow’s in Maine by improving duck hunters’ abilities to distinguish them from Common Goldeneyes.

Barrow’s are known to congregate in certain areas.

Despite our efforts, we suspect that a few Barrow’s Goldeneyes may be unintentionally shot. In these cases, hunters are required to report to your local game warden, and surrender to MDIFW, any that are taken during legal waterfowl hunting activities. There is no penalty for reporting this.

Back to top

Band Recovery Reports

Anyone finding a band or recovering one while hunting should log on to: reportband.gov

Results will provide better estimates of survival and harvest rates and will reduce high costs associated with banding studies.

Back to top

Previous articleEverything you need to know about fat & sausages?
Next articleHoyt Ventum Pro 30 HBX Pro 70lb (RH) Kuiu Verde
Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>