Maine DIFW Reminds Hunters Of Transport Law

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Are you hunting out of state? Maine hunters should know the regulations surrounding bringing harvested deer, elk, moose or caribou back into the state of Maine.

Currently it is illegal to bring the whole carcass of a deer, moose, elk or caribou into Maine (except if it comes from New Hampshire, Quebec, Newfoundland, Labrador or New Brunswick).

Already this fall Maine has had hunters bring in whole carcasses from Virginia and New York, both states that have identified Chronic Wasting Disease in their borders. These deer were confiscated and destroyed.

Since the fall of 2006, it has been illegal for hunters who harvest any cervid (members of the deer family) including deer, moose, caribou or elk, in any state, province or country to bring whole carcasses back into the state of Maine (except NH, QC, NL or NB). This means hunters must have their animal processed outside of the state and can only bring back boned-out meat, hardened antlers, skull caps that have been cleaned free of brain and other tissues, capes and hides with no skull attached, and finished taxidermy mounts.

Why has Maine enacted this law?

The threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) being introduced into our deer and moose population is serious. Chronic Wasting Disease is a lethal disease that affects the nervous system of cervids and always leads to the death of the animal. An infected cervid can pass on the disease to other cervids. Deer are most likely to contract the disease because they are social, group together, and travel widely to feed, to mate, or to wintering areas. Therefore the potential to transmit the disease over large areas is great.

Deer with CWD that die will also infect the area where the carcass decays since the infected proteins (prions) that cause the disease may persist in the soil. Maine and its neighboring states have been testing their free-ranging deer herds for CWD for many years, and have found no evidence of the disease to date. Thus, it is critically important that we do not introduce the disease by importing an infected carcass.

For hunters:

  • If you hunt out of state the Department recommends planning ahead of time to have your animal processed in the state where it was harvested.

  • If hunting in any state west of New Hampshire, or hunting in Nova Scotia or a Canadian province west of Quebec you can only bring back boned-out meat, hardened antlers, skull caps that have been cleaned free of brain and other tissues, capes and hides with no skull attached, teeth, and finished taxidermy mounts.

  • If you bring a harvested deer, moose, elk or caribou back from out of state, and you were not aware of the importation rule, you must contact your local Inland Fisheries and Wildlife District Warden to report the importation of the carcass.

You can call the IFW information line at 207-287-8000 for your District Warden’s phone number.

The Department asks hunters to help protect Maine’s deer and moose population by being aware of and complying with the transportation rule. The rule was created to ensure the health of our native deer and moose populations.

For more information on deer hunting in Maine, or to view a complete summary of laws and regulations regarding hunting, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.