Rifle season closed over the weekend. Now "last-ditch deer season" gives hunters a shot at extending their hunt with a muzzleloader.
The "gun season" has ended. In Maine, Deer may be harvested with a firearm until November 27. After that, hunters can take to the woods to fill an empty tag or tags with a muzzleloader for an additional two weeks in certain wildlife management districts. A muzzleloader permit is required, as well as a valid big game hunting license. Muzzleloader permits are included in junior hunting licenses and senior lifetime licenses.
Muzzleloaders are defined by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife as:
"Muzzleloader means a firearm that is capable of being loaded only through the muzzle; is ignited by a matchlock, wheel lock, flintlock, or caplock, including an in-line caplock or shotgun or rifle primer mechanism; has a rifled or smooth-bored barrel capable of firing only a single charge; propels a ball, bullet, or charge of shot; and may have any type of sights, including scopes."
Newer muzzleloaders that allow for a pre-measured amount of factory-loaded encapsulated gun powder that is not loaded through the muzzle, but the bullet is, meet the definition of a muzzleloader.
The 2021 muzzleloader season runs statewide from November 29 through December 4. An additional week of hunting is permitted from December 6 through 11, in WMD: 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 29.
Hunters who have yet to harvest a buck can do so during this season. Hunters with any-deer or bonus any-deer permits can fill their tags during the muzzleloader season.
For more information about the Maine muzzleloader season, visit MDIFW website.