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Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife - NEWS

July 24, 2001

Summary of Enacted Legislation

Several pieces of legislation that affect the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife statutes were signed into law by Governor King during the First Regular Session of the 120th Legislature.This is a summary of enacted legislation.

New laws that were not enacted as "emergency" take effect on September 21, 2001. However, some of the fish and wildlife related changes were enacted as emergency legislation and have already gone into effect.

I'll first discuss emergency legislation that affects the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

A. (L.D. # 1812 - Public Law Chapter 434) AN ACT to Prevent Infestation of Invasive Aquatic Plants and to Control Other Invasive Species

This law was enacted to implement a program to prevent infestation and to control invasive aquatic plants. The law directs the commissioners of DEP and IF&W to implement a program to inspect watercraft, trailers and outboard motors at or near the border of the State and at boat launching sites for the presence of invasive aquatic plants and to provide educational materials to the public and to watercraft owners regarding invasive aquatic plants.

The law also requires that, beginning on January 1, 2002, DIF&W shall provide each agent authorized to register watercraft with lake and river protection stickers to be issued for motorboats and personal watercraft at a fee of $10 for residents and $20 for non-residents. Sixty percent of the revenue will be credited to the Invasive Aquatic Plant and Nuisance Species Fund in DEP and forty percent credited to the Lake and River Protection Fund in DIF&W. This legislation makes it unlawful to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft after January 1, 2002 which does not have a lake and river protection sticker affixed to it; the penalty for failure to display this sticker is a civil violation with a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $250. In addition, a person who places a watercraft that is contaminated with an invasive aquatic plant commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of not less than $500 and not more than $5,000 per violation may be adjudged. Operating a watercraft in a quarantined area as designated by DEP and DIF&W is subject to the same penalty. As part of this program, the DIF&W shall spend at least 5,000 person hours inspecting watercraft, trailers and motors at selected launching sites and at no fewer than 10 roadside locations at or near the state border and an extensive educational effort must take place involving a variety of methods to inform the public of the risks posed by these plants. In addition, a 17-member Interagency Task Force is created to advise the Land and Water Resources Council on matters pertaining to research, control and eradication of invasive aquatic plants and nuisance species. The task force must also recommend: an action plan to protect the State's inland waters from invasive aquatic plants and nuisance species such as identification of inland waters known to be infested; vulnerability assessments of the State's largest inland waters identified as being most at risk of infestation; a program to monitor inland waters for new introductions and methods to provide for the periodic inspection of inland waters; a response program to deal with new introductions, and development and distribution of training materials and public information materials for use by the public, lake monitors, and persons authorized to inspect boats. The commissioner's of DEP and DIF&W must report back to the legislature by January 15, 2002 on the education and inspection program conducted during the 2001 boating season and on plans for future boating seasons. (12 MRSA Sections 7791, 7794-B, 7794-C, 7801, 7806)

B. (L.D. #1294 - Public Law Chapter 254) AN ACT to Change the Snowmobile Registration Rates

This bill increases the registration fee for snowmobiles by $5 with that money being credited to the Off-Road Vehicle Division within the Department of Conservation. The funds must be used to assist any entity that has a snowmobile trail-grooming contract with the bureau in the purchase of trail-grooming equipment. New rates are as follows: Resident registration: $30; Nonresident registration: $65 for a seasonal registration, $55 for a 10-consecutive day and $40 dollars for a 3-consecutive date registration. (12 MRSA Section 7824)

C. (L.D. #166 - Public Law Chapter 49 An Act Concerning Commercial Shooting Areas

This bill amends the laws regarding commercial shooting areas by: 1) authorizing operators of commercial shooting areas to import Hungarian partridge; 2) repealing the leg banding requirement; 3) eliminating the licensing requirement for persons using the areas, unless the operator authorizes a person to hunt during a regular open season, in which case the hunter must possess a valid state hunting license; and 4) changes the fee structure for licensing the areas and places restrictions and guidelines for permit renewal in the law. (12 MRSA Section 7104, 7104-A, 7105, 7105-A, 7239, 7404, 7407)

D. (L.D. # 1787 - Public Law Chapter 241 & 471) AN ACT to Implement Municipal Recommendations Regarding Surface Water Use on Great Ponds.

This law enacts prohibitions on the use of personal watercraft (jet skis) on the following waters: Meetinghouse Pond, Big Pond, Wat Tuh Lake, Center Pond and Silver Lake, also known as Silver Pond, in the Town of Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County; South Branch Lake in the Plantation of Seboeis and the Township of T2R8 NWP in Penobscot County; Spring Lake in Spring Lake Township, Somerset County; Kennebago Lake and Kennebago River in Davis Township and Stetsontown Township in Franklin County, and Nicatous Lake in the Townships of T40MD, T41MD and T3ND in Hancock County. (Public Law Chapter 471 added an Emergency Preamble to the restrictions so that they took effect this summer). (12 MRSA Section 7801)

E. (L.D. # 586 - Public Law Chapter 55) AN ACT to Clarify the Testing Process for the Licensing of Guides

This law adds a Marine Patrol Officer to the Advisory Board for the Licensing of Guides and authorizes the board to designate examiners for the purpose of conducting oral examinations who are active or retired members of Warden Service, current or former advisory board members, active or retired members of Marine Patrol or licensed Maine guides. Currently boards may only be conducted by a member of the Advisory Board and a member of Warden Service. This change will allow the use of other trained persons when board members or Warden Service personnel are not available. Hopefully, this will help with the current backlog of applicants waiting to be tested. (12 MRSA Sections 7313, 7320)

F. (L.D. #1732 -- Public Law Chapter 462) AN ACT to Establish for an Additional Two Years the Commission to Study the Needs and Opportunities Associated with the Production of Salmonid Sport Fish in Maine

The 119th Legislature created a 13 member commission to assess and evaluate salmonid fish culture facilities in Maine and associated production and distribution capabilities, opportunities and needs, including waste discharge licensing issues and recommendations designed to provide for the production and distribution of fish needed to meet future sport fish management program needs in the most cost effective manner. This commission is being extended for an additional two years to complete the original duties assigned to the commission and to provide ongoing legislative policy guidance on the expenditures of funds appropriated for the engineering design for the Embden Hatchery and a statewide assessment of all other hatchery facilities. This law establishes a Fish Hatchery Maintenance Fund to be used by the Commissioner to find or assist in funding engineering designs for the Embden Hatchery, a statewide assessment of all other hatchery facilities and maintenance, repair and capital improvements at fish hatcheries and feeding stations owned by the State and expenses for the Commission to meet 4 times per year over the next two years. The commissioner may accept and deposit into the fund any monetary gifts, donations or other contributions from public or private sources and use the money for the purposes stated above. (12 MRSA Section 7671-A)

G. (L.D. #1732 -- Public Law Chapter 462) AN ACT to Revise Certain Provisions of Maine's Fish and Wildlife Laws

Several changes were made to our statutes in this bill (mostly minor, technical changes not worth mentioning) as well as other changes as follows:

1) The administration of education programs for hunter safety and recreational vehicles has been placed within the Division of Public Information and Education. Warden Service will continue to assist with the programs. (12 MRSA Sections 7014, 7016) 2) The wording has been changed to allow for annual publication of fishing regulations rather than the biennial schedule that has been used in the past - regulations may not change annually; however, if necessary, changes or corrections can be made. (12 MRSA Section 7035) 3) The requirement that a person be over 10 years of age in order to apply for a hunting license has been repealed; a person under 10 years of age is still not allowed to hunt but for purposes of applying for permits, etc. a license may be obtained prior to turning 10 years of age. (12 MRSA Section 7101) 4) A change has been made to the junior license provision to clarify that a person who turns 16 years of age and continues to hunt with a junior hunting license must comply with all other permit requirements, i.e., waterfowl and pheasant stamps. (12 MRSA Sectios 7101) 5) Wording has been changed in the archery laws to require that bows must have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds rather than being able to shoot a distance of 150 yards. (12 MRSA Section 7102-A) 6) Lamprey eels may now be harvested in inland waters by use of a hand-held dip net or by hand under the "eel permit" issued by the Commissioner that currently allows fishing for alewives, eels, suckers and yellow perch. (12 MRSA Section 7153) 7) Licensed trappers with an eel permit may take, by eel pots or hook and line only, not more than 20 pounds of eels annually for use in baiting traps. This change adds restrictions on the method of take. (12 MRSA Section 7174) 8) The law the authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules allowing the importation of certain species of tropical fish and goldfish without a permit has been amended to include possession of those species as well. (12 MRSA Section 7202) 9) Hide dealers and taxidermists are no longer required to notarize their records prior to submitting them to the Department. (12 MRSA Sections 7352, 7352-A, 7354) 10) Technical changes have been made to the Whitewater Rafting Laws to allow non-commercial clubs to use fees and dues collected from club members to purchase insurance and to provide for staggered terms for Advisory Board members. (12 MRSA Sections 7365, 7365-A, 7366-A) 11) Once again, a change has been made to the "hunting from a motor vehicle" law to clarify that a person may shoot from a motorboat when the motor is shut off and the boat is drifting, beached, moored, resting at anchor or is being propelled solely by paddle, oars or pole. This provision was inadvertently omitted in the last amendment. (12 MRSA 7406) 12) Several technical changes have been made to the moose laws to clean up the language in regards to zones and districts; repealing the language that states that a list of alternates must be chosen. This is done automatically as part of the regular drawing. A provision is added to establish a $1.00 registration fee to be retained by agents, which is consistent with other registration requirements. (12 MRSA Section 7463-A) 13) The law now provides that if the open water season falls on a Saturday, the season is automatically extended one day to include the following Sunday without requiring the commissioner to issue a rule. (12 MRSA 7552) 14) The Department is now authorized to allow the stocking of fish raised by the Department into a private pond for fishing events held in conjunction with educational or special programs sanctioned by the Department (12 MRSA 7605) 15) Labeling requirements for baitfish traps or holding boxes now apply to drop nets as well. (12 MRSA 7606) 16) The requirement that the department solicit bids prior to issuing a permit to take fish for pond reclamation purposes has been repealed. Since that law was enacted, the Department has not received any bids in response to the notice. (12 MRSA 7701-C) 17) Changes have been made to the watercraft, snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle laws in regards to reporting requirements for accidents. Accidents involving property damage only to the estimated amount of $1,000 or more must be reported within 72 hours on forms provided by the department. Watercraft accidents resulting in the death of a person or injuries requiring medical treatment, etc. must still be reported in writing within 24 hours of the occurrence; snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle accidents involving death or injury must be reported by the quickest means of communication to a law enforcement officer. (12 MRSA Sections 7801, 7824, 7827) 18) Registration plates for all-terrain vehicles are required to be displayed on the rear of the machine only; registrants will only receive 1 plate. (12 MRSA 7854) 19) A law passed in the last session of the legislature that required warranty information had to be provided prior to registering snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles has been repealed. (12 MRSA Sections 7854, subsection 10, 7857, subsection 22) 20) The abuse of another person's property while hunting provision has been expanded to the all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile laws. If, while operating either of these recreational vehicles, a person tears down or destroys a fence or wall, leaves open a gate or bars or tramples or destroys crops on another person's land, that person is guilty of abuse of another person's property. (12 MRSA Sections 7827, 7857) 21) The law regarding operating an ATV on land owned by a parent of guardian has been changed to allow operation on law where permission for use has been granted to the parent or guardian of a person. (12 MRSA Section 7857) 22) Hunting bear during closed season has been added to the violation section of Title 12 as a Class D crime. (12 MRSA 7901) 23) Several violations involving watercraft and ATVs were not included in the decriminalization bill passed by the 119th legislature. These are addressed in this bill. (12 MRSA Section 7901)

All of the above listed changes were effective June 12, 2001.

H. (L.D. #30 -- Public Law Chapter 471) AN ACT to Correct Errors and Inconsistencies in the Laws of Maine

This bill is similar to our omnibus in that it makes technical corrections to the statutes. It contains several changes that affect Title 12 such as striking the Atlantic Salmon Authority from the law that requires a review by the Legislative committee having jurisdiction of fish and wildlife matters and scheduling the Atlantic Salmon Commission for that review in 2003. It also establishes an effective date of June 29, 2001 for personal watercraft prohibitions that were enacted in another bill; corrects the expanded period snowmobile registration fee implemented in another law, and as in our omnibus, it makes several technical corrections to the law in regards to decriminalization. (3 MRSA Section 959; 12 MRSA Section 7801, 7824, 7901)

I. (L.D. #1455 - Public Law Chapter 421) AN ACT to Implement The Recommendations of the Committee to Study Further Decriminalization of the Criminal Laws of Maine

Speaking of decriminalization....this bill completes the decriminalization review of Title 12, unlike the previously mentioned decriminalization law that dealt only with recreational vehicles. The changes in this bill do not take effect until January 1, 2002 and will be printed in the updated biennial. There are too many changes to the statute to try to list in this document but generally, most technical and non-resource related violations have been decriminalized; resource related violations remain criminal offenses. This bill establishes a new habitual violator section that deals with multiple civil violations. If anyone would like a copy of this bill, please call me and I can send a copy. (12 MRSA Sections 7001, 7002, 7061, 7077, 7077-B, 7077-C, 7077-D, 7078, 7079, 7365 7368-A, 7370-A, 7406, 7456-B, 7541, 7801, 7827, 7856, 7857, 7901, 7901-A)

The following are law changes that were NOT emergency legislation and therefore do not become effective until 90 days after the Legislature has adjourned. These will take effect September 21, 2001.

A. (L.D. #1579 - Public Law Chapter 289) AN ACT to Clarify the Unlawful Use of Snowmobile Trails

This law clarifies that any 4-wheel drive vehicle, dune buggy, ATV, motorcycle or any other motor vehicle, other than a snowmobile and appurtenant equipment may not be operated at any time on snowmobile trails that are financed in whole or in part with funds from the Snowmobile Trail Fund, unless authorized by the landowner. (12 MRSA 7857)

B. (L.D. # 1418 - Public Law Chapter 296) AN ACT to Authorize the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to Extend the Deer Hunting Season

This bill repealed the current section of law regarding deer hunting season dates and replaced it with the following: Except as otherwise provided in this section, sections 7102-A and 7107-A or by rule adopted by the commissioner, there is an open season for deer between September 15th and December 15th annually. In any year that the regular season extends beyond November 30th, the regular season must start no later than the 4th Monday preceding Thanksgiving. (12 MRSA 7457)

C. (L.D. # 736 - Public Law Chapter 227) AN ACT to Require State Approval Prior to Introducing Wolves into Maine

The title of this bill pretty much describes the law. A person may not release a wolf (Gray Wolf) in the State for the purpose of reintroducing that species into the State without the prior approval of both Houses of the Legislature and the Commissioner. (12 MRSA Section 7001, 7760)

D. (L.D. # 440 - Public Law Chapter 191) AN ACT to Exempt from the Definition of "Watercraft" Permanently Affixed Boats

The definition for watercraft has been amended to read as follows: Watercraft means any type of vessel, boat, canoe, or craft capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, other than a seaplane, including motors, electronic and mechanical equipment, and other machinery whether permanently or temporarily attached, and which are customarily used in the operations of the watercraft. Watercraft does not include a vessel, boat, canoe or craft located and intended to be permanently docked in one location and not used as a means of transportation on water. (12 MRSA 7791)

E. (L.D. # 992 - Public Law Chapter 204) AN ACT to Permit the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to Accept Gifts for the Benefit of Wildlife Protection and Conservation.

This bill was enacted primarily as a means for the department to be able to convert items donated to the department into money for fish and wildlife conservation projects. This legislation authorizes any state agency to conduct or operate a raffle for a donated item to benefit fish and wildlife conservation projects with a limit of 2 raffles per year. (17 MRSA Section 331)

F. (L.D. #1213 -- Public Law Chapter 202) AN ACT to Amend the Hunting Laws Relating to Blaze Orange

This bill authorizes the use of a jacket, vest, coat or poncho which is a minimum of 50% hunter orange in color (camouflage) in addition to a solid-colored hunter orange hat for hunting. (12 MRSA Section 7406)

G. (L.D. #347 -- Public Law Chapter 56) AN ACT to Amend Certain Provisions of Maine's Wild Turkey Hunting Season

This piece of legislation repeals the framework for the turkey season that was in statute since the commissioner establishes the season dates by rule, states that the commissioner may designate zones that are open to hunting and issue permits within those zones. These changes were done to provide for consistent language in the statute for setting seasons, zones, etc., for big game hunting seasons. The bill also changes the eligibility requirement so that a person who will be eligible to obtain a license by the opening day of the turkey hunting season may apply for a permit. It also repeals the requirement that "alternates" be chosen as part of the drawing. These changes, once again, were done to provide consistency. A new provision for a landowner turkey permit drawing has been added to the commissioner's authority and will be done by rule in September. (12 MRSA Section 7468)

H. (L.D. #54 -- Public Law Chapter 6) AN ACT to Allow the Transfer of a Valid Turkey Permit to a Juvenile or Senior Citizen

This bill allow an adult who holds a valid turkey permit to transfer the permit to a junior hunting or person 65 years of age or older, similar to the antlerless-deer permit transfer. (12 MRSA Section 7468)

I. (L.D. #655 -- Public Law Chapter 198) AN ACT to Clarify the Rights of Residents Within Wildlife Sanctuaries

This bill repeals the provision of law that made it unlawful for a person to possess hunting implements in a wildlife sanctuary. As a result of this repeal, the section of law allowing target practice to take place within the Megunticook Lake and Vicinity Sanctuary is no longer necessary and has been repealed as well. (12 MRSA Section 7654)

J. (L.D. #348 -- Public Law Chapter 270) AN ACT to Clarify the Laws Pertaining to Licensing Requirements for Landowners

This law clarifies that if a person's license to hunt, fish or trap is under revocation or suspension, that person may not hunt, fish or trap on their own land without a license as provided for in the law. (12 MRSA Section 7377)

K. (L.D. #69 -- Public Law Chapter 37) AN ACT to Expand the Lifetime Hunting License

This bill expands the lifetime hunting license options by adding an infant, junior, and senior lifetime archery license and amends the law so that a combination of any 2 or any 3 of the licenses offered may be purchased. This bill also requires that, when the department reports back to the committee in the year 2005 on recommendations on the fees for lifetime licenses for residents from 16 to 64 years of age that we must include recommendations for an option of an addition to the lifetime licenses permitting the license holder to hunt with a bow and muzzleloader opportunities as well as fees for an optional adult supersport lifetime hunting and fishing license for each recommended age group. (12 MRSA Section 7161)

L. (L.D. #734 -- Public Law Chapter 351) AN ACT Concerning Lifetime Licenses and Complimentary Licenses for Residents over 70 Years of Age

This legislation creates a lifetime license for residents over the age of 70 which will have all of the privileges of the Over-70 Complimentary License. The fee for this Over-70 Lifetime License is $8. The benefit to purchasing this new license is that the residency requirement that applies to the complimentary license does not apply to the lifetime license. Beginning January 1, 2006, the complimentary license for over-70's will no longer be available but licenses obtained prior to that date will continue to be valid as long as the person continues to satisfy residency requirements. People who have already purchased lifetime licenses, upon reaching the age of 70 will be able to obtain any of the privileges available to the complimentary license holders and over-70 lifetime license holders. (12 MRSA Section 7076, 7161)

M. (L.D. # 55 - Public Law Chapter 131) AN ACT to Provide an Extra Hunting Opportunity for Junior License Holders

The commissioner has been given the authority to establish, by rule, a youth deer hunting day. (12 MRSA Section 7457)

N. (L.D. # 107 - Public Law Chapter 30) AN ACT Regarding the Enforcement of Laws in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 12 by Passamaquoddy Wardens

Wardens of the Passsamaquoddy Tribe, with the Passamaquoddy Indian Territory, have been added to the list of officials with full powers of game wardens. (12 MRSA Section 7055)

O. (L.D. # 151 - Public Law Chapter 146) AN ACT to Ensure that Fishways on Inland Waters are Working

The commissioner shall, in cooperation with the Department of Marine Resources and the Atlantic Salmon Commission, establish a program to ensure fishways are functioning properly and remain sufficient or suitable for the passage of anadromous or migratory fish. The law also calls for an annual examination of fishways in dams or other artificial obstructions and dams as provided for in the law. (12 MRSA Section 7701-A)

P. (L.D. # 1078 - Public Law Chapter 2001) AN ACT to Restrict the Commercial Harvest of Snapping Turtles in Order to Ensure Sustainability of the Resource

The commissioner has been given the authority to adopt rules pertaining to harvest methods, confinement and disposal of snapping turtles. The rules may require reporting of commercial harvest activities; establish season dates and daily and season possession limits; size limits, and a fee schedule to implement a permit system under this law. (12 MRSA Section 7470)

Q. (L.D. # 774 - Public Law Chapter 348) AN ACT to Require the Destruction of Certain Confiscated and Forfeited Handguns

The law that allows the commissioner to sell property held or confiscated for violation of laws relating to the protection of fish and wildlife has been amended to require that a handgun that was confiscated or forfeited because it was used to commit a homicide must be destroyed unless the handgun was stolen and the rightful owner was not the person who committed the homicide. (12 MRSA Section 7035)

R. (L.D. # 1796 - Public Law Chapter 294) AN ACT to Facilitate the Implementation of Maine's On-Line Sportsman's Electronic System

A number of changes have been made to Title 12 in anticipation of MOSES. Most have to do with the issuance of licenses, i.e., repealing the requirement that duplicates may only be obtained from the issuer of the original; allowing agents to issue trapping licenses (currently issued only through the Augusta office); repealing the requirement that applications for licenses must be done in writing on forms furnished by the Department; establishing penalties for agents who are delinquent in forwarding funds collected for licenses and registration, and establishing a fee structure for expanded registration periods for snowmobiles, ATVs and watercraft. The law also authorizes the commissioner to designate persons other than municipal agents, to issue registrations. (12 MRSA Sections 7073, 7133, 7374 7468, 7792, 7794, 7824 7854)

S. (L.D. # 1726 - Public Law Chapter 269) AN ACT to Clarify Laws Pertaining to the Permit Process for Wildlife Possession

In an effort to clarify and simplify the permitting process for possessing wildlife in captivity, a number of changes have been made to the statutes. In summary, all of the separate permit sections have been repealed and one section to cover all of the permits enacted. The permits affected are: Propagation; commercial exhibition; personal use, professional or vocational husbandry, therapy or aid to disabled persons; and rehabilitation. All of these may now be found in one section of statute with a description of what each permit authorizes. We will now be going through the rulemaking process to further simplify and clarify the permitting process for each permit type. (12 MRSA Sections 7077, 7231, 7232, 7233, 7234, 7235-A, 7235-B, 7235-C, 7235-D, 7238, 7377, 7405, 7456-A, 7456-B, 7464, 7731, 7732, 7733, 7734, 7736, 7861, 7863, 7901, 7947)

T. (L.D. # 1464 - Public Law Chapter 331) AN ACT to Amend the Laws Governing the Suspension and Revocation of Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Title 12 Section 7077 (Mandatory fishing license revocation for certain violations) has been amended to clarify that taking or possessing sport fish in violation of bag, weight and size limits whenever the violation involves twice the bag and possession limit means the general law bag and possession limit rather than a specific body of water. This law also enacts a section authorizing the commissioner to waive or reduce any mandatory minimum suspension period if an inappropriate action contributed to or resulted in that revocation. In addition, a change occurred in the section on violation of Title 17-A while hunting or fishing so that if a person is convicted of violating any provision of Title 17-A while on a hunting or fishing trip, etc., the commissioner shall revoke that person's license or permit for a period of at least one year, except when the killing or wounding of a human being has occurred, in which case the commissioner shall revoke the license or permit for at least 5 years. This bill also repeals the sections of law in regards to caribou. The bill also repeals a redundant paragraph in regards to outdoor ethics classes. (12 MRSA Sections 7077, 7077-A, 7456-B, 7901)

U. (L.D. # 587 - Public Law Chapter 1991) AN ACT to Clarify Laws Pertaining to Nuisance Wildlife

Several changes have occurred in the "nuisance wildlife" laws. Within the "attacking domestic animals or destroying property" section, wild birds have been added into the provision that a person may kill any wild animal found in the act of attacking, wounding, etc., that persons domestic animals, wild birds, or destroying property. Such actions must be reported to the Maine Warden Service (rather than a game warden) - this change occurs in several other sections as well. In the "damage to crops or orchards" section, a specification is made that in order to kill wild animals doing damage, the wild animal(s) must be located within the orchard or crop where the damage is occurring. Under "employment of agents", when a person wishes to employ someone outside of that person's immediate family to assist them, they must contact a game warden. The warden may arrange for a Department agent to alleviate the damage or authorize a person who could perform the work in a safe and proficient manner. Permission cannot be granted to any person whose license to hunt has been revoked or suspended, who is an habitual violator or who has been convicted of night hunting in the past 5 years. In all cases of deer, bear or moose being taken or killed under these provisions, the carcass must be immediately and properly cared for to prevent waste. When a game warden has completed an investigation and is satisfied that the wild animal was taken as provided in this law, a certificate shall be issued that entitles the owner, cultivator, etc., to ownership of the carcass to be possessed and consumed only within the immediate family or, in accordance with the labeling requirements for possession of deer, bear or moose, to transfer possession to another person. Any excess carcasses after the first 2 of deer, bear or moose killed or taken under this provision must be distributed to recipients authorized through the Hunters for the Hungry Program or as otherwise authorized by the game warden. This law also established a penalty for failing to report the wounding, taking or killing of a wild animal to the Warden Service within 24 hours and for failure to care for the carcass and meat of a wild animal to prevent spoilage. The section of law that authorizes licensed beekeepers to protect beehives from damage by bear has been changed to add: or a person entrusted with the custody of the beehives of a licensed beekeeper. (12 MRSA Sections 7501, 7502, 7504, 7505)

V. (L.D. # 1810 - Public Law Chapter 466) AN ACT to Implement the Recommendations of the Committee to Study Access to Private and Public Lands in Maine

The section of law that gives the commissioner the authority to acquire real and personal property for the location, construction and convenient operation of a wildlife management area of public access site to inland or coastal waters has been amended to required that when such property is acquired, the commissioner shall examine options for obtaining public vehicular access rights to the land. If an acquisition is made that does not include guaranteed public vehicular access, the commissioner shall describe the acquisition in the annual report submitted to the Legislative Appropriations Committee and the Fish and Wildlife Committee with a justification for that acquisition. (12 MRSA Section 7652)

W. (L.D. # 1785 - Public Law Chapter 223) AN ACT Concerning Disabled Hunters, Trappers and Anglers

The commissioner has been directed to establish a disabled hunter, trapper and angler advisory committee composed of 4 disabled persons, a licensed physician, a representative of state agencies that work on disability issues, 2 statewide organizations representing hunters, trappers or anglers, and one interested person to provide advice on applications for special permits to accommodate permanent physical disabilities. The permit is intended to allow hunting, fishing or trapping at times or in a manner that is otherwise prohibited by law in order to enhance access to hunting, fishing and trapping opportunities. The committee will also provide recommendations to the commissioner on ways to promote and enhance access to hunting, fishing and trapping opportunities in this State for disabled persons. (12 MRSA Sections 7035, 7076 )

X. (L.D. # 1193 - Public Law Chapter 3071) AN ACT to Clarify Certain Laws Relating to the Harvesting of Wild Animals

Several changes have been made to the trapping laws as follows: 1) The definition "water set" has been repealed and replace with the following: "Drowning set" means a trap set for wild animals that is: set completely under water and rigged in such a way as to reasonably ensure the drowning of any species of trapped furbearer that would reasonably be expected to visit the set location and be held in the type of trap used at the set. 2) A new section of law has been enacted in regards to ADC agents and Animal Control Officers as follows: A person, except a full-time department employee, serving as an agent of the commissioner for purposes of animal damage control, including animal control officers appointed by the Dept. of Agriculture, must possess a trapping license in accordance with Section 7133 prior to trapping or attempting to trap any wild animal. 3) Resident disabled veterans are now eligible for a complimentary license to trap. 4) The trapping without consent law has been amended to read as follows: A person trapping for any wild animal is guilty of trapping without consent if that person traps without first obtaining the written consent of the owner or occupant on land in any organized or incorporated place or on the cultivate or pasture area of land that is used for agricultural purposes in any unorganized place and on which land there is an occupied dwelling except that this requirement does not apply to beaver trapping; when trapping with the use of drowning sets in navigable rivers and streams; when trapping with the use of drowning sets on state-owned land and public rights of way. 5) The section on trapping near an occupied dwelling without consent is changed is much the same way: A person trapping for any wild animal in guilty of trapping near an occupied dwelling without consent if that person traps within 200 yards of an occupied dwelling and fails to obtain the written consent of the owner or occupant of the land on which the trap is to be set, unless trapping for beaver or trapping with the use of drowning sets on state-owned land and public rights of way. 6) Swivel and pivot guns have been removed from the list of prohibited implements. (12 MRSA Sections 7001, 7036, 7076, 7432, )

The following resolves were enacted which are directives to the Department.

Resolve, Chapter 1 - directs the Department to review the existing license categories and fee structures for recreational licenses issued by the Department. The Department shall design a system that consolidates and simplifies license categories and fees and shall submit a proposal along with any necessary implementing legislation to the 2nd Regular Session of the 120th Legislature, no later than December 1, 2001.

Resolve, Chapter 40 - Authorizes final adoption of Chapter 21: Licensing & Registration Agents. This was a major substantive rule that was submitted to the Legislature for their review and approval.

Resolve, Chapter 8 - Directs the Department to undertake a review of its animal damage control program and associated policies as they relate to the deployment of trappers to snare coyotes from deer yards during the winter months and other related matters. Program accomplishments, shortfalls, concerns and opportunities must be identified in consultation with regional coyote snaring steering committees already established by the Department. A report must be submitted by October 1, 2001 along with specific plans describing the nature of the program that the department will implement during the winter of 2001-02 in areas where predation by coyotes is posing a threat to deer.

Resolve, Chapter 33 - This resolves requires that the Commissioner contract with outside experts to assess, evaluate and recommend improvements in all aspects of the inland fisheries management program. The Department shall establish a panel to assist in development of the scope of work and evaluation and selection of a proposal. The review must include planning and budgeting, staffing levels, personnel leadership and technical skills, applicable laws, rules and policies governing the program; decision-making processes, resource management and public involvement practices. The contractor will be required to identify members of the public who consider themselves as stakeholders and include their feedback in the assessment process. A report must be submitted by January 2, 2003 on the work conducted in response to the resolve and any findings and recommendations.

The sections numbers in bold following each summary are the sections of law that were affected by the law changes. There may be other pieces of legislation that have either not been received or were overlooked at the time this summary was prepared. I will make every attempt to notify you if that occurs and will be publishing an updated biennial revision of Title 12 in the very near future. If you have questions or interest in any of the items listed, please feel free to call me at 287-5201 or e-mail me at

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