Legislature tackles moose permit and comprehensive license issues

The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee will work on three pieces of legislation on January 4. The work session starts at 1 PM in room 206 of the Cross Building.

LD 768, An Act to Establish Comprehensive Hunting and Hunting/Fishing Licenses, was sponsored by Representative Gary Hilliard at my request. At the end of this column I’ll give you the testimony that I presented when a public hearing on the bill was held last year.

LD 630, An Act to Expand Opportunities for Most Permit Winners to Swap Their Permits, also sponsored by Rep. Hilliard, got a lot of discussion last year but the committee couldn’t come to agreement on the issue. The bill repeals the prohibition on including money in the swap of most moose permits. It also requires DIF W to establish an online transfer system for most permits through which transfers of designated hunting areas, zones or seasons may be accomplished.

Both DIF&W and the Maine Professional Guides Association opposed the bill. After a lot of discussion an amendment was proposed that allowed money to be included in the transfer of moose permits and also prohibited any person other than the holders of moose permits who are exchanging hunting zones area or seasons from being involved in the exchange for any consideration.

A week later another amendment was considered which included the allowance of money with the transfer of most permits and the establishment of an online transfer system for permit. But the amendment removed the requirement that the department establish an online transfer system for permits. The amendment also clarified that the state bore no responsibility for enforcing the terms of the exchange between the permit holders.

I expect the committee will need to start over on its discussion of this rather complicated issue and it will be interesting to see if they can reach agreement on an amended version of the bill.

The committee will also work on LD 1451, An Act to Promote Biosecurity and Better Regulate the Importation, Possession and Use of Aquatic Species, sponsored by Sen. Amy Volk of Cumberland.

I plan to attend the work session and will let you know what happened.

LD 768 An Act to Establish Comprehensive Hunting and Hunting/Fishing Licenses

Sponsored by Representative Gary Hilliard

Submitted by George Smith, 207-293-2661

This bill would create two new comprehensive licenses: One for those who hunt, and another for those who hunt and fish. This is similar to LD 1226, a bill from the last legislative session.

The comprehensive hunting license would be available to both resident and nonresident hunters and would include all hunting licenses and permits except the junior hunting license, apprentice hunting license, moose permit, pheasant permit, waterfowl permit, falconry permit, and migratory bird permit, archery license, expanded archery permit, and expanded archery either-sex permit.

The fee for the comprehensive license would be $38 for residents and $143 for nonresidents.

The fee for those who want to add a fishing license to the comprehensive hunting license would be $55 for residents and $178 for nonresidents.

All lifetime licenses would remain valid and unchanged.

All current licenses and permits would remain available for those who wish to purchase them instead of the comprehensive license.

DIF&W would be authorized to ask, as part of the licensing process, what animals the hunter wishes to hunt, and the license could only be used to hunt the animals selected.

Alien licenses would be eliminated, and all aliens would be able to purchase the nonresident licenses. The term alien would be eliminated throughout DIF&W’s statutes.

The effective date for these new licenses would be January 1, 2018.

This bill would also allow all licensing agents to sell lifetime licenses.



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.