The hunting season in Maine is heating up. This weekend, bird season starts throughout the state.
Another hunting season starts Saturday. September 25 marks the start of Maine's upland bird and small game seasons. Some migratory bird seasons also begin Saturday, like woodcock. Waterfowl Northern Zones will open to regular duck hunting on September 27, and Southern Zones on October 1. Huntable upland birds include ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail, and pheasant. Small game species include gray squirrel and snowshoe hare.
Hunters need to possess a valid Maine hunting license or small game license. If hunting duck or other migratory birds, a State Migratory Waterfowl Permit, and Federal Migratory Waterfowl Permit is required. Federal Migratory Waterfowl Permits can be purchase at a local post office.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reminds hunters "it is imperative that the hunter be certain of his/her target before discharging a firearm." Ruffed grouse and spruce grouse can look very similar, however, there is no open season on spruce grouse. More information on identifying differences between the two birds can be found here.
Last season, the crew from MeatEater stopped in Maine for a grouse and woodcock hunt. Ryan Callaghan joined Brent West of the High Peaks Alliance to discuss the complex issue of public recreational land use in Maine. The non-profit organization is comprised of local hunters, hikers, loggers, fishermen, snowmobile and ATV riders, registered guides, cross-country skiers, mountain bikers, among others, that work to ensure continuing public access to western Maine’s High Peaks Region.
Maine hunters harvest nearly half a million ruffed grouse a year.