You better pay attention to these new hunting and fishing laws!

DIF&W LogoWhile you may think the legislature didn’t accomplish much this year, the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee churned out a whole lot of work, resulting in dozens of law changes that govern our favorite outdoor pursuits. Thankfully, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has provided us with a summary of all those law changes.

They range from the transfer of any-deer permits to junior hunters and moose permits to family members, to increases in fees for hunting licenses and snowmobile registrations. There’s a good explanation of how the elimination of the concealed weapon permit requirement impacts those who are hunting. There are a lot of changes in licensing and registration laws.

And then there are the major changes, such as eliminating the minimum age for hunting and a complete rewrite of the laws governing possession of exotic animals. I have written extensively about both of those issues in previous outdoor columns.

You can access DIF&W’s summary of law changes here. But before you click on this link to check out all the law changes, brace yourself. Its 12 pages long!

The department notes that, “This is a summary ONLY of the major changes to fish and wildlife laws that were enacted in the 2015 Legislative Session. New laws that were not enacted as “emergency” take effect October 15, 2015 unless there is an effective date specified in the law. Some of the fish and wildlife related changes were enacted as emergency legislation and have already gone into effect.”

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.