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Big Bore Air Gun Hunting in Maine

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FredSG:
Hello Fellow Mainers,

I sent an Email to SAM regarding the Air Gun Hunting Laws in Maine, more specifically, the use of Big Bore Air Guns for hunting big game in Maine.  The current Maine air gun hunting laws are rather vague and seem to indicate that while "it is legal to hunt small game with a pellet gun or air gun in Maine," nothing is said about "big bore" air gun hunting in Maine for "big game" animals.

SAM's response to my Email was . . . Although our organization has not developed an official policy as this is new technology, my initial response would be that as long as the ballistics and capacity to effectively kill wildlife is comparable to traditional firearms, then we would likely have no problem with air, as it doesnít really matter whether itís gun powder or air that propels the bullet. Air could actually reduce conflicts with the non-hunting public by reducing the sound associated with a firearm discharge. So on initial review, I would say as long as the science and data confirm that air was comparable to gun powder, then we donít understand why there would be problem using air.
I am going to forward this email to my SAM Board of Directors and ask for their opinion and whether they would like to develop a policy.

Maybe a few more letters to SAM might cause them to get more involved in pushing for new and upgraded hunting laws that would take into consideration the use of Big Bore Air Guns for hunting big game animals in Maine.

FredSG

upthehill:
I thought I replied to this, but guess not.

Maine state Statues, Title 12 definitions section 21
http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/statutes/12/title12sec10001.html

21. Firearm.  "Firearm" means any instrument used in the propulsion of pellets, shot, shells or bullets by action of gunpowder, compressed air or gas exploded or released within it.

I've called DIF&W in augusta about this and talked with a warden,  all agree that you can hunt anything in Maine up to and including Moose and Bear with an airgun.  The only exceptions are Turkey which is Archery and shotgun (12ga to 28ga) and nighttime raccoon which is 22LR only.

Dave

FredSG:
Dave,

I read your reply on the GTA Hunting Forum, and now in the GTA Maine Forum.  There is no mention of air gun caliber or PSI, FPS, FPE, necessary for hunting Big Game in Maine . . . unless I missed something somewhere in the Regs.  The air gun regulations seem rather vague . . . so if a Warden caught me trying to take head shots on a Moose with my .22 or .30 caliber PCP, would that be OK with him?  Or would I face a fine?  Or be arrested?

Thanks for your input and appreciate your reply.

FredSG

upthehill:

--- Quote from: FredSG on January 24, 2016, 10:15:22 AM ---Dave,

I read your reply on the GTA Hunting Forum, and now in the GTA Maine Forum.  There is no mention of air gun caliber or PSI, FPS, FPE, necessary for hunting Big Game in Maine . . . unless I missed something somewhere in the Regs.  The air gun regulations seem rather vague . . . so if a Warden caught me trying to take head shots on a Moose with my .22 or .30 caliber PCP, would that be OK with him?  Or would I face a fine?  Or be arrested?

Thanks for your input and appreciate your reply.

FredSG

--- End quote ---

I'm guessing the warden would feel the same as if s/he were to see you do a head shot on a moose with a rim-fire PB.  probably wouldn't be happy, but if there's no rule, then they wouldn't be able to do much except harass you.

the 2 wardens I spoke with (a local one who lives a couple of towns over from me, and his Sgt in Augusta) Both said they'd have no problem if they saw me hunting with an airgun. The only grey area they had, was (this was back a couple of years ago when hunting with a suppressed firearm was illegal) was the factory supplied barrel shroud.  I showed them a Marauder in .25, and they said they wouldn't have a problem with it.  But the Career III 707 I have that has a threaded barrel. definitely would be a problem, since that one has an obvious LDC screwed onto it.

If you're uncomfortable hunting with an airgun, I would call DIFW and ask to have the local warden give you a call or come over to visit, to talk about it.  The ones I've met really are nice guys, who love to talk hunting / fishing / whatever outdoors.

Forget SAM, they still view airguns as red ryders for kids to play with, my opinion is that the hunting/fishing part of their mandate was reduced greatly when George Smith left.  They are now a political organization, fighting national and 2A issues which, though important, means the hunting/fishing part has suffered.

Jeff m:
I have contacted the state rep.  in my area to try & open up big bore air gun hunting in our state . It looks like all the rules pertaining to this need to be gone over. So that means it will need extensive time to do & they will not even start till next year at the soonest! I'm afraid it will be quite some time before any headway is made!

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