Hunting season is in full swing across Maine. Over the past two weeks, Boothbay Region Land Trust has been fielding a high volume of questions regarding hunting policy on its preserves. The land trust is committed to keeping its lands accessible to the public for traditional activities including hunting, where appropriate. The land trust also recognizes that at this time, with indoor activities limited due to the pandemic, many of the region’s public preserves are receiving higher than typical activity for this time of year. In an effort to ensure safe use the land trust’s preserves, BRLT is sharing the following guidelines and recommendations.
Land trusts across Maine are a resource for all types of outdoor recreation, including hunting. Hunting can help to maintain a healthy balance of game species, which contributes to ecological diversity and helps native plant and animal communities thrive. It also supports food security for individuals and families across the state. At BRLT preserves, hunting is permitted by permission. Interested hunters should contact the land trust to receive approval for hunting. BRLT requires all hunters to have a Maine state hunting license and to follow all state laws regarding hunting. In addition, on BRLT preserves, hunters are required to adhere to the same regulations required at Maine state parks. These include maintaining 300 feet, or 100 yards, of distance from trails and parking areas when discharging weapons. Hunters may not erect shelters, blinds, tree stands, game cameras, or other structures on BRLT-owned lands. Trapping is not permitted on BRLT preserves, as it could conflict with other recreational activities.
Hunters should know the location of trails on a preserve, patterns of use, property boundaries, and nearby residences prior to use for hunting. Hunters should also avoid crossing onto adjacent properties unless they have the landowner’s permission. Drinking alcohol is not permitted on BRLT property and all users of BRLT preserves are expected to follow “leave no trace” ethos.
Hikers utilizing land trust preserves during hunting season should wear blaze orange at all times. Even if hikers are utilizing preserves where hunting is not permitted or common, it is possible that adjacent private properties could be used for hunting. Blaze orange clothing is the best way to notify hunters of one’s presence and to stay safe while outdoors during this season. BRLT also recommends that hikers stick to the trails and keep dogs leashed. As a general reminder, the state of Maine does not allow hunting on Sundays. Those hikers who feel more comfortable at locations where hunting is prohibited and signs are posted may wish to consider recreating at Oak Point Farm or Saunders Preserve during hunting season.
Some BRLT preserves tend to be more conducive to hunting activities than others, such as Pine Tree Preserve, which generally receives fewer hikers and is one of the larger preserves in the area. Smaller, busier preserves such as Penny Lake, Porter Preserve, and Oak Point Farm can be good options for hikers during hunting season as the heavy traffic, in-town settings, and surrounding residences make them a less likely choice for hunting.
Boothbay Region Land Trust appreciates the community’s cooperation in following these guidelines and ensuring that the region’s preserves can remain available for a wide variety of activities. For questions or to request more information or permission for hunting, individuals may contact Boothbay Region Land Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office Monday-Friday.