Frequently asked questions about Maine’s muzzleloader season

When is the muzzleloader season on deer?

Statewide: November 29 – December 4, 2021

WMDs 12, 13, 15-18, 20-26, 29: December 6 – December 11, 2021

Do I need a special muzzleloader permit?

A muzzleloader permit, in addition to a valid adult big game hunting license that allows the use of firearms, is required for hunters 16 years of age or older prior to hunting deer during the muzzleloader deer season. The muzzleloader permit is included in the junior hunting license and the senior (age 70+) lifetime license.

Permits may be purchased online at or at a local agent.

What is a muzzleloader?

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.

New technology: There are new types of muzzleloaders on the market that allow for a pre-measured amount of factory loaded gun powder that is encapsulated and is not loaded through the muzzle as a traditional muzzleloader would require. The bullet is still loaded through the muzzle. This still meets the definition of a muzzleloader and is legal for hunting during the muzzleloader hunting season. The Department is frequently asked if the Nitrofire by Traditions Firearms is legal to use, the answer is yes.

Can I dispatch a deer with a pistol after I shoot it with my muzzleloader?

No, you can only use a muzzleloader during the muzzleloader season to harvest a deer (see crossbow exception below).

Can I use a bow or crossbow during the muzzleloader season?

No, you cannot use a bow or crossbow during the muzzleloader season, unless you are age 65 and over or hold the special permanent disability permit to hunt with a crossbow. Exception: Those hunting under the expanded archery designation.

Can I fill my any-deer or bonus deer permit during the muzzleloader season?

Yes, as long as you are hunting in the wildlife management district (WMD) where your permit was assigned, and have a valid hunting license and muzzleloader permit.

Am I required to wear orange?

Anyone who hunts any species with a firearm, muzzleloader, or crossbow during any firearms or muzzleloader season on deer (also on Youth Deer Day) must wear two articles of hunter orange clothing. One article must be a solid- colored hunter orange hat; the other must cover a major portion of the torso, such as a jacket, vest, coat or poncho and must be a minimum of 50% hunter orange in color (camouflage).