Buying a muzzleloading permit isn’t easy!

muzzleloaderMaine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife doesn’t make it easy to enjoy the muzzleloading deer season which starts today. This opportunity is not included in the big game hunting license, so yesterday morning, I endured the lengthy process of purchasing my permit online.

On the first page of DIFW’s website, after I selected Hunting and Fishing Licenses, I got a long page with a list of licenses, permits and fees. I selected “Muzzleloading 16 years and older $13” and got another long page that included a one sentence explanation of who is required to buy the permit. And I noticed, at the very bottom of the page, a note that said that said, “Exceptions – see muzzleloading permit.” I clicked on that, and got… nothing. The same page kept coming up.

Not getting a chance to buy the permit, I started over, returning to the first page and trying the more general selection of hunting and fishing licenses. Hooray! That got me started.

But first, I had to enter five identifiers including my MOSES number and birthdate. That got me to a page that showed my “Current Holdings” as a resident hunting/fishing license and a resident turkey hunting permit.

Then it asked for my residency! And I had to check, again, that I was seeking a hunting license or permit and was not an active duty serviceperson.

Then it asked all kinds of questions that I had answered in purchasing my regular license and turkey permit, including if I am a felon. It wanted to know if I took the hunter safety course, and asked for my hunting license number for 2014. If it knew I had a hunting license and turkey permit, seems like it would know my license number.

Finally, I got to a screen that allowed me to select the muzzleloading permit for $13.

But wait, they wanted more: my eye and hair color, gender, height and weight. I felt like saying, “Look it up dummy! You’ve already got all that information.”

Wouldn’t it be fun – and illuminating – if they allowed us to write comments as we navigated through the twists and turns of buying our licenses and permits?!

Next up were questions about my physical location, mailing and email addresses, and phone number. Some were filled in automatically once I started to write them. Finally!

I found it interesting that my email address is required. You can run, but you cannot hide from your Fish and Wildlife Department!

And of course, I still had a ways to go to get my permit. Next up was a chance to become an “express user” and have my information automatically filled in next time I order a license or permit. I have checked that in the past, to no avail. Or if this is what an express user gets for help, the term “express” might need to be changed.

Next I was offered a chance to review all the information, and finally, here was the check-out form, with a $1 agent fee that DIF&W charges for its online service, and a request for my credit card information. When the MOSES system started, the agency did not charge an agent fee, nor should it today.

It took about 20 minutes to get my muzzleloading permit. A few months ago, I had to add money to our Maine Turnpike easy pass. It took less than 2 minutes and two clicks. The only information I had to provide was the amount of money I wanted to add to our pass.

In addition to the easy pass, we need the easy hunting license.

The unpleasant and time-consuming task of adding the muzzleloading permit to my hunting license reinforces my determination to create a comprehensive hunting license that includes all hunting opportunities. More about that later!

It’s time to go muzzleloading!

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.