It’s been my experience that most people who hunt and fish don’t find out about new hunting and fishing laws until they, or someone they know, gets caught — often unwittingly — stepping across the line.

V. Paul Reynolds, Outdoors Columnist

It is the nature of the beast. Too darn many laws, most too complex, and too many other distractions in the hectic pace of daily life to pay much attention to Augusta lawmaking.

State lawmakers are always well-intentioned, but for me legislative adjournment in June is always a welcome occurrence, almost as sigh-worthy as the end of the Mills mask mandate.

When the State Legislature adjourns shortly, it leaves in its wake almost a dozen new laws that affect Maine outdoor folks.

Here are a few that have been signed by the governor and will become the law of the land 90 days following legislative adjournment.

LD 280 is designed to generate more funding for snowmobile trail enhancement. Yes, you pay the bill when you register your sled. The increase is an additional 10 bucks for Maine residents and a $20 hit for non-resident sledders.

LD 309 requires non-resident big game hunters to hire a Maine guide if their state requires the same, Canadian provinces included.

LD 361 increases the Fish and Wildlife Advisory council membership from 10 to 11. The added member must be a member of the Wabanaki Nation.

LD 569 prohibits bow hunting within 100 yards of a building or dwelling. Practice shooting on your own property or hunting the expanded archery zones are exempted.

LD 635 allows hunters to use noise suppression devices (silencers) without a Departmental permit.

LD 943 requires the Department to establish an electronic tagging option for turkey hunters.

LD 1031, which is a tad tainted with bureaucratic mumbo jumbo, seems to be a loophole that allows the commissioner of IF&W to take your hunting license even if you have not been found guilty of civil trespass in court!

LD 1244, I believe, gives ATVers, snowsledders and boaters the option of using electronic devices to show proof of registration to law enforcement.

Sad to say at press time, with legislative adjournment nigh, the landmark deer-yard protection bill pushed hard by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and a most significant and needed measure, was bogged down with the outcome uncertain.

Isn’t that always the way? The silly, sometimes frivolous pieces of legislation manage to survive the legislative procedural gauntlet while the measure with truly far-reaching, meaningful potential never gets the nod.

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, a Maine guide and host of a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” heard at 7 p.m. Sundays on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He has authored three books; online purchase information is available at www.maineoutdoorpublications.net. Contact him at [email protected]


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