Legislature acts on crossbows, spring bear hunts, and more

The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee has acted on several interesting bills.

A bill (LD 337) to allow a spring bear hunt went down to a quick and unanimous defeat.

A bill (LD 27) to allow the use of crossbows in the bowhunting deer season was unanimously approved – after an extensive discussion during which DIFW Commissioner Judy Camuso expressed support, including the possibility of crossbows in expanded archery seasons. Judy also suggested allowing crossbows for turkey hunting, but the committee did not include that. There are a bunch of turkey bills coming later, so there’s still a chance this will be approved. The use of crossbows was approved for just 3 years (2020, 2021, 2022), and if that is to continue, the legislature will have to act again sometime before the end of 2022.

A bill (LD 79) to protect shooting ranges won the unanimous support of the committee. A relatively new law prohibits shooting ranges within 100 yards of any building. LD 79 would protect the shooting range if it was there before a structure was built within 100 yards of the range.  The Committee unanimously supported this bill.

A bill (LD 490) to allow DIFW to expand the trapping season up to 21 days due to bad weather also won the unanimous support of the committee.

And a bill (LD 525) to increase the snowmobile registration fee from $45 to $55 was unanimously opposed.

All of these bills will now go to the full legislature for action.

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.