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Bear Hunting In Maine

Hunting Methods - Hounding - Trapping - Baiting

Bears were considered pests by early settlers and were killed indiscriminately for bounties for nearly 200 years. In the late 1950s, the bounty hunting of bears was outlawed due to the declining population. In 1969, Maine changed the status of bears to a Game Species, which allowed a hunting season to be put into place.

When Did Bear Hunting Start In Maine?

A bear hunting season was established in 1969.


Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear management units)?

Maine is broken down into 29 Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs), all of which are open to bear hunting.


When Is Bear Hunting Season?

  • Youth Day: August 29th

  • Baiting: Aug.31 -Sep. 26

  • General Hunting: Aug. 31-Nov. 28

  • Hunting with dogs: Sep. 14-Oct. 30

  • Trapping: Sep. 1-Oct. 31

Note: Bait can be laid out 30 days prior to the (baiting) hunt start day. Baited areas must be cleared of all materials by November 10th. Dogs may not be released within 50 yards of the bait. Baiting on State Parks and Historic Sites is illegal. Traps cannot be set within 50 yards of the bait. Only one trap is allowed at a time per hunter, harvesting one bear a year with that method.


What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Crossbows with a draw weight minimum of 100 pounds. Bow and Arrow with a draw weight minimum of 35 pounds.

Firearms: Muzzleloaders, Rifles, and Handguns, and Shotguns with a 10 gauge slug only.
Traps: Cage-type live traps and cable trap (foot snare)

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

There are no boundaries enforced on the age limit of which a bear can be killed. This includes lactating mothers as well. 


Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

Yes. Baiting Season lasts just under a month, and bait can be placed out up to 30 days before the Baiting Season begins.


Is Dog Hunting Permitted In Maine?

Yes. Hunting with dogs is permitted in all of Maine. The Season which you can hunt with dogs lasts roughly a month and a half.


What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

All bears killed must be tagged with the hunter's name, address, and license number. A game warden must be notified of the kill within 18 hours. Any persons on a hunting trip or staying at a temporary lodging place have seven days to register the animal. The tag must remain on the animal until it has been registered at the closest open Registration Station where the bear was killed, all of which can be found here-


The bear must be presented at the Registration Station tagged and in a way that the sex of the animal can be determined, along with a premolar tooth extracted from the bear. 


What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women

What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW)


When Does The Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Hold Their Meetings?

The agenda for The MDIFW will be posted here -


Are The Meeting Open To The Public?

All meetings, special and regular, are open to the public and held at convenient and public places. Times, places, and dates will be posted here -


Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and Maine’s elected General Assembly Members have the authority to introduce and vote on proposed law changes. 

Judy A. Camuso, MDIFW Commissioner

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

Blue's Wilderness Hunts -
Oxbow Outfitters -
Eagle Mountain Guide Service -

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