Anglers break more laws than hunters

In the 8-year period 2007 – 2015, Maine game wardens gave more citations to anglers than to hunters. Anglers received a total of 4,192 citations while hunters received 2,869.

More than half of the citations given to anglers were for fishing without a license. Here is how the citations broke out:
2,338 Fishing without a valid license
786 Fishing violation – number, amount, weight or size
573 Use of bait in artificial lure only water
255 Unattended lines (ice fishing)
240 Possessing fish in violation

It is particularly alarming to learn that so many anglers are using live bait in waters where that is illegal. That is just how so many of our native fisheries have been damaged by competing species.

Hunting citations broke out this way:
687 Loaded firearms or crossbow in motor vehicle
358 Placing bait to entice deer
346 Hunting from stand or blind over deer bait
244 Night hunting
218 Hunting with firearms or crossbow without hunter orange
208 Using artificial light to illuminate wild animals
184 Illegal placing of bear bait
162 Hunting without a valid license
158 Fraudulently obtaining a hunting license or permit
153 Driving deer
151 Discharging firearm or crossbow near dwelling

I hope all hunters are aware of the controversial change in the baiting law, which now takes your hunting license for life for a second baiting conviction.

In addition to these hunting and fishing citations and the ones handed out to ATV riders, snowmobilers, and boaters, reported in my last outdoor news column, the only other violations that got 150 or more citations in this 8-year period were these:
528 Possession of marijuana
431 Littering
425 Possession of marijuana
203 Sale and use of drug paraphernalia

Yes, game wardens are often involved in law enforcement issues well beyond our favorite outdoor pursuits (assuming one of your favorite outdoor pursuits is not smoking marijuana).

And I do want to especially thank our game wardens who are out there writing up road slobs who trash our woodlots and roadsides.

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.