LePage Vetoes Two Important Hunting Bills

Governor Paul LePage has vetoed two important hunting bills, both of which were supported by his Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

I wrote about these two bills in earlier outdoor news columns. One would reduce the penalty for hunting deer over bait. Last year the legislature passed a bill that called for a one year suspension of the hunting license for hunting deer over bait, and a two year suspension for a second offense.

LePage refused to sign the bill unless the second offense resulted in the loss of the hunting license for life. And that was what the legislature finally enacted. Recognizing that that penalty was ridiculous, the IFW Committee endorsed a bill to take the penalty for a second offense back to a 2 year license suspension, and the House and Senate voted in favor of the bill.

But now, the legislature will have to over-ride the governor’s veto, or the lifetime ban will remain in effect.

The other bill vetoed by the governor would have allowed the current law to remain in effect which allows nonresidents to hunt on the opening day of the deer season if they own at least 25 acres and allow residents to hunt there. That law was enacted a few years ago but expires this year. The legislature enacted a bill allowing this to continue.

LePage said he does not agree with that and that the temporary exemption in place allowing nonresident landowners to join us on opening day should end this year as scheduled. And again, the legislature will have to override the governor’s veto for that new law to take effect.

I’ll let you know what happens when the House and Senate vote again on these two important issues.

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, georgesmithmaine.com, 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.