AUGUSTA – A bill from Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash to honor and recognize the skill and rich history of Maine Guides received a public hearing before the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on Monday.
“People all across the country have long come to Maine to participate in the outdoor recreational opportunities our state has to offer, whether it’s hunting, snowmobiling, hiking or fishing. It only makes sense to do everything we can to ensure that this economic activity supports Maine jobs and small businesses,” said President Jackson. “This simple bill recognizes the skills of our Maine Guides and puts them on a level playing field with guides in other states, provinces, and countries.”
LD 309 “An Act To Require a Nonresident To Hire a Licensed Maine Guide To Hunt Big Game” would require non-resident hunters to hire a licensed Maine Guide when hunting big game in the state if their state, province or country of residence has a similar requirement. The majority of nonresidents who come to Maine to hunt big game reside in states that do not have this requirement and would therefore not be affected.
President Jackson introduced this measure after hearing from constituents who were frustrated with the discrepancy between Maine and Canadian big game hunting laws. In many Canadian provinces, including New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, nonresidents are required to hire a registered guide to hunt big game or hunt at all. In Maine, Canadians can hunt big game and return home without supporting the local economy whatsoever. This bill would rectify the inequity.
According to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, there are currently 6,300 Mainers registered as guides in our state. Guides are licensed in several specifications, including hunting, fishing, recreational (may guide boating, snowmobiling, and camping activities), sea-kayaking, and tide-water fishing.