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 26. 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 2022 muzzleloader season runs statewide from November 28 through December 3. An additional week of hunting is permitted from December 5 through 10, 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 antlerless permits can fill their tags during the muzzleloader season.

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For more information about the Maine muzzleloader season, visit MDIFW website.

15 Must-Have Items For Ice Fishing Season In Maine

Ice fishing is an excellent way to embrace the cold winter months in Maine. It will get you outdoors for some fresh air, it's family friendly, and a successful day could yield a tasty dinner. If you're new to the sport, we put together a list of gear you'll need for a fun, comfortable, and successful day on the ice. Some of these items are more essential than others. Some gear may not be essential at all, depending on how you plan to fish. Again, the items we listed are geared towards those who are new to ice fishing.

Before we get to the list, remember to dress appropriately for the cold weather. We didn't put warm outerwear on the list, but it's definitely a must-have. Dressing in layers is important to ensure you're warm enough throughout the day on the ice. If you start getting too warm, you can simply take a layer off. Hand warmers are also worth packing.


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