Why It Matters: As it currently stands, having no closed season on hunting coyotes in Maine during the daylight allows sportsmen and women the opportunity to spend more days afield, teaching others about our nation’s hunting heritage, and further contributing to the American System of Conservation Funding. Should there be a need for an established season, it is imperative that the decision be brought forth by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Opportunities to clarify the season dates, such as what’s offered through LD 604, offer to remove confusion. However, slashing seasons, such as what’s proposed in LD 814, undermine the authority of the MDIFW and pose to eliminate opportunities for Maine’s coyote hunting community.
- This Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Maine will be convening for hearings related to, among several topics, the management of coyotes.
- Two bills pertaining to the coyote hunting seasons, LD 604 and LD 814, will be heard in Committee, and the differences are striking:
- LD 604 – This legislation provides clarity and consistency on the designated season for the night hunting of coyotes, having it begin on the Monday immediately following the close of the muzzle-loading-only deer season, thereby also potentially providing additional days in the field for sportsmen and women.
- LD 814 – This bill poses to significantly restrict both the daytime and nighttime hunting of coyotes.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has a history of engaging on coyote hunting policies in the Pine Tree State and will be providing testimony to the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife relative to these bills.
This upcoming Wednesday, April 12, coyotes will be a primary focal point for the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Maine. Two bills, LD 604 and LD 814, relate to coyote hunting seasons, but their approaches to the topic are radically different.
LD 604 would provide consistency on the hunting of coyotes at nighttime, setting the season from the “first Monday following the end of the muzzle-loading-only deer hunting season established under section 11404 in the respective wildlife management district to August 31st.” Currently, the hunting of coyotes at night begins on December 16, but if the season were to fall on a Sunday, or should the muzzle-loading-only season for deer end date fall earlier in the month, those wishing to pursue coyotes at night would have a waiting period. Additionally, more days spent in the field relates to more opportunities for sportsmen and women. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will be supporting this legislation in Committee.
LD 814 sets both daytime and nighttime seasons that would do the exact opposite of what LD 604 is seeking to accomplish. This legislation slashes the season for pursuing coyotes during the day by more than half, setting a season from October 1st to March 31st. Currently, there is no closed season for the hunting of coyotes during the daytime. Additionally, this bill would shave five months from the nighttime coyote hunting season by having it close after March 31st. Under current law in Maine, sportsmen and women may pursue coyotes during the night from December 16th until August 31st. Should there be a need for completely restructuring the established seasons, it is imperative that the decision be brought forth by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife after its own research and observations. The seasonal rearrangement that’s done through this legislation will usurp the management authority of the agency while eliminating opportunities for Maine’s hunting community. It is for these reasons that CSF will be opposing LD 814.
Maintaining predator hunting opportunities has long been at the forefront of policy priorities for Maine’s sporting community. CSF will continue to work tirelessly towards protecting these opportunities for existing and future sportsmen and women.