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Remember to Wear Orange on the Trails!

 With November soon approaching, cool overnight temperatures aren’t the only change on the way. Firearms season begins on October 29th for Maine residents and continues until November 26th. Before you leave the house, remember to bring blaze orange if you are visiting a Land Trust trail where hunting is allowed and to leash your dog! There are blaze orange hats and bandanas available at the BTLT info booth at the Saturday Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm 10/19 and 11/5.

Hunting is allowed on the following properties with public trails – some properties allow bowhunting only, others allow firearms as well. See below for more information.

  • Bradley Pond Farm* – The easement landowners of this property hunt using firearms.
  • Chase Reserve* – The easement landowners of this property allow bowhunting as well as hunting with a firearm on this property. 
  • Crystal Spring Farm – Bowhunting only by permission only is allowed by the Land Trust.
  • Maquoit Bay Conservation Lands* – Hunting is allowed by the Town of Brunswick. Visit the Town of Brunswick website for more information.
  • Tarbox Preserve – Bowhunting only by permission only is allowed by the Land Trust. Waterfowl hunting is also permitted.
  • Woodward Cove – Bowhunting only by permission only is allowed by the Land Trust. Waterfowl hunting is also permitted.
  • Woodward Point – Owned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust and co-managed with the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, bowhunting only by permission only is allowed on this property. MCHT staff should be contacted to obtain hunting permission.

Prefer to not visit trails where hunting is allowed this fall? The following properties with public trails do not allow hunting.

  • Androscoggin Woods – Hunting is prohibited but note that waterfowl hunting along the Androscoggin River is common.
  • Cathance River Nature Preserve – Hunting is prohibited.
  • Head of Tide Park – Hunting is prohibited.
  • Neptune Woods – Hunting is prohibited.
  • Skolfield Preserve – Hunting is prohibited but note that waterfowl hunting in Middle Bay is common.
  • Smart/Town Landing Trail – Hunting is prohibited but note that waterfowl hunting in Middle Bay is common.

*A privately owned property where the Land Trust holds a conservation easement. The landowner of these properties can allow or prohibit hunting in consultation with the Land Trust to ensure that the public can still safely access trails where hunting is allowed.

Interested in hunting on Land Trust properties or learning more about hunting season? Visit btlt.org/itshuntingseason to view a list of the properties where hunting is allowed by permission and learn about our permission process. The hunting lottery for fall 2022 is closed, but permission request forms can be sent to hunting@btlt.org at any time to be considered for the upcoming hunting season.

Expanded bow archery season is just around the corner…

Hunting is an important cultural tradition that has provided sustenance for thousands of years to the people who call Maine home, and continues to provide food, play an important role in conservation, and connect people with nature. 
With 94% of the state privately owned with varying levels of public access, traditional hunting access to land in the greater Brunswick, Bowdoin, and Topsham area is disappearing as ownership changes hands and land is developed. The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust recognizes the many intersections that hunting, agriculture, and conservation share, and works to conserve lands where hunting by permission continues to remain available. The Land Trust allows hunting by permission on the following properties:
  • Crystal Spring Farm
  • Cow Island
  • Mill Forest
  • Tarbox Preserve
  • Perry
  • Woodard Cove
  • Woodward Cove – Degen

If you are interested in requesting permission to hunt on Land Trust properties this year, please visit https://www.btlt.org/itshuntingseason/ and submit your permission request form to hunting@btlt.org by Friday, September 2nd to be entered into the fall 2022 lottery.

Expanded bow archery season begins on September 10th and runs through December 10th, so next time you head out on the trails, remember to wear your blaze orange!

Below is some information for trail users to help ensure a safe visit to the few BTLT trails where bowhunting is allowed:

  • Bowhunting only is currently allowed at Crystal Spring Farm, Tarbox Preserve, and Woodward Cove. Blaze orange vests can be found at the parking area kiosks for visitors to wear while on the trails and return after using. 
  • Hikers should wear blaze orange and exercise caution during hunting season (click here to find hunting season dates).
  • Hunters who you encounter on trails will have their arrows in a quiver while traveling, making it impossible for an arrow to accidentally be fired.
  • Please stay on marked trails and keep your dogs on leash – it is required on all BTLT trails all year long, and is especially important during hunting season to keep deer from being disturbed. There are fines if your dog is off leash and chases deer, so leash your dog or leave them at home during hunting season!
  • Please note that hunting on Sundays is illegal in Maine.
  • Bowhunters are not allowed to discharge an arrow within 75 feet of a trail and are made aware of the location of all trails on the property they are hunting. 
If you are interested in learning more about the Land Trust’s hunting rules or requesting permission to hunt on Land Trust properties this year, please visit https://www.btlt.org/itshuntingseason/.
The permission window for the fall 2022 season closes Friday, September 2nd, but will be open again for spring turkey hunting!

2021 Hunting Season Policies & Commonly Asked Questions

Each year, BTLT staff and volunteers post distinctly orange temporary signage across properties that BTLT owns and easement properties with public trail access where hunting is allowed. While many locals are avid hunters, others are not, and that can leave trail users with many questions about what the dos and don’ts of trail use are during hunting season. Below we have compiled information that addresses commonly asked questions to help illuminate how hunting is managed on BTLT owned and managed properties, and what you can do to safely enjoy your visit to a local trail while helping support the long standing tradition of responsible hunting in Maine. 

Why does BTLT allow hunting? 

BTLT is dedicated to the protection of the land, water, and wildlife of the Brunswick-Topsham area. We are also committed to providing access to these public lands for low-impact and traditional recreation including hunting, where appropriate. 

Hunting is not only an important cultural tradition in Maine that allows for folks to provide sustenance for their families and communities, but is also an important management tool to help control overpopulation of deer. Overpopulation can lead to the outbreak of disease, spreading of ticks, and can also have serious impacts on the environment. In agricultural areas, deer can wipe out entire crops and destroy a farmer’s livelihood overnight. Having a balanced ecosystem is important for plants, animals, and humans. Hunting can help keep that in check when deer populations skyrocket. 

How do you determine where hunting is allowed? 

We assess whether or not to allow hunting on the properties that BTLT owns based on the nature of public access, grant funder restrictions, and the location of abutting residences. Hunting is not legally allowed within 300 feet of a residence and we ask that hunters maintain a good distance from any public trails, which leaves a number of BTLT properties with an extremely limited area where hunting can take place after applying that buffer, making them not suitable for hunting. Please visit our website to see a full list of the BTLT–owned properties where we currently allow hunting by permission. 

If I’m interested in hunting on BTLT owned land, how do I get permission?

All hunters must receive permission to hunt on Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) lands. To ensure fairness, observe the carrying capacity of each property, and consider the safety of hikers on public trails, the number of permitted hunters are limited per property. 

Due to high demand in the Brunswick-Topsham area for deer and turkey hunting, permission is given on a lottery system basis. The lottery has already taken place for the 2021 fall season and no additional permissions for deer or turkey hunting will be given for the duration of the hunting season unless a hunter with permission notifies the Land Trust that they will no longer be hunting, in which case an additional drawing will take place. Applications can be submitted at any time throughout the year and there will be a lottery drawing the Monday before spring turkey season begins.

To be entered into the next lottery, please fill out the Permission Request Form that can be found on our website and email it to hunting@btlt.org or mail it to the Land Trust office located at 179 Neptune Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011. 

WATERFOWL HUNTING:

Providing access to the water for traditional uses such as clamming, worming, fishing, and waterfowl hunting are important conservation values to the Land Trust. Blinds are allowed and require permission from the Land Trust by emailing hunting@btlt.org. Blinds must be labeled and firearms must be unloaded when hunters are traveling across land to the shoreline. Any canoe or kayak left on a Land Trust property should be labeled with the owners contact information.

Hunters are expected to follow all state laws and local ordinances when hunting on BTLT properties, as well as the following rules: 

  • Hunting is allowed with permission only
  • Tree stands must be removed daily, except at Crystal Spring Farm
  • Hunters must remove all parts of deer bagged on BTLT properties
  • Tree stands should be marked with the owner’s name as required by law
  • Hunters are expected to notify the BTLT office if they see anything we should know about
  • Hunters should know the location of trails, patterns of use, property boundaries, and nearby residences
  • Hunters should cross onto adjacent properties only if they have that landowner’s permission. 

What’s the difference when it comes to hunting on an easement property? 

A number of public trails that BTLT manages and maintains are located on privately owned, easement properties. The public is only allowed on the designated trails on these properties, and it is at the discretion of the landowner, or in some cases the easement itself, whether or not hunting is allowed. On these properties, BTLT cannot give hunters permission, but temporary signage will be posted at the trailhead indicating to visitors whether or not hunting is allowed on the property. The public access easement properties where hunting is currently allowed are: 

  • Chase Reserve (Privately owned) 
  • Bradley Pond Farm (Privately owned) 
  • Maquoit Bay Conservation Land (Town owned) 
  • Woodward Point (Partnership Project, owned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust) 

Please respect private landowners and do not approach their residences to ask for permission. 

Are all BTLT properties posted? 

No, currently only Crystal Spring Farm is posted along Pleasant Hill Road to alert hunters and trail users alike that hunting takes place on the property and is by permission only. Given BTLT’s limited staff and resources, we do not post our properties and to date have not had any incidents that pose a safety risk or negatively impact the conservation values of the property. However, should such incidents occur, we would work with the local game warden to post properties as needed.  

Is it safe to be out on the trails at a property where hunting is allowed? 

Yes, however preparation is key to help ensure accidents don’t happen. Come prepared wearing blaze orange, stay on the trail, and keep your dog on a leash.  

If you are on a public access property owned by BTLT, the only hunting taking place will be bow hunting, one of the oldest methods of hunting, practiced for thousands of years and into present day on these lands by the local Wabanaki people. This form of hunting uses archery rather than a firearm, and requires great skill, aim, and carefully placed delivery from a close distance. By requiring permission to hunt on any BTLT owned property, BTLT is able to limit the amount of hunters per property to ensure it is not only safe for users, but not overhunted and therefore worth the effort and time of hunters.  

I own a dog, should I keep my dog at home during hunting season? 

Dogs are required to be leashed at all times on all BTLT trails, and this is especially important during hunting season, because: 

  • You could be fined up to $500 if your dog is found chasing or pursuing a moose, deer, or wild turkey at any time (MRS §12404  PL 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF) 
  • A game warden can kill a dog outside the immediate care of its owner or keeper if your dog is found chasing, killing, wounding or pursuing a moose or deer at any time (MRS §12404  PL 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF); PL 2003, c. 655, Pt B §243 (AMD), PL 2003, c 655, Pt B, §422 (AFF) 

So remember to leash your dog, it’s required on all BTLT trails and it could have serious consequences during hunting season! 

If I’m out on a BTLT trail and see a hunter clearly not following the law, or an injured deer, or any other hunting related issue that is of concern, what should I do? 

If the concern is serious and requires immediate attention, please contact a Maine Game Warden, available 24 hours a day, at 1-800-452-4664. If it is an issue not requiring immediate assistance, please either call the BTLT office at 729-7694 or email margaret@btlt.org

Resources 

Still have questions about hunting on BTLT lands? Call 207-729-7694 or email margaret@btlt.org

It’s Hunting Season!

By Margaret Gerber, BTLT Director of Stewardship

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust recognizes the many intersections that hunting and conservation share, as both require keen observation, and understanding and respect of the natural world. Hunting is an important cultural tradition that has provided sustenance for thousands of years to the people who call Maine home, and continues to provide food, play an important role in conservation, and connect people with nature.

Present day Maine is 94% privately owned with varying levels of public access, and traditional hunting access to land in the greater Brunswick, Bowdoin, and Topsham area is disappearing as ownership changes hands and land is developed.

Hunting is not only an important tradition in Maine, but an important management tool to protect farmers’ livelihoods. Deer can ravage crops overnight and create a significant burden for farmers, straining their finances, endangering the health safety standards of their fields, and costing them valuable time and labor.

Expanded bow archery season begins on September 11th and runs through December 11th, so next time you head out on the trails, remember to wear your blaze orange!

Below is some information for trail users to help ensure a safe visit to the few BTLT trails where bowhunting is allowed:

  • Bowhunting only is currently allowed at Crystal Spring Farm, Tarbox Preserve, and Woodward Cove. Blaze orange vests can be found at the parking area kiosks for visitors to wear while on the trails and return after using. 
  • Hikers should wear blaze orange and exercise caution during hunting season (click here to find hunting season dates).
  • Hunters who you encounter on trails will have their arrows in a quiver while traveling, making it impossible for an arrow to accidentally be fired.
  • Please stay on marked trails and keep your dogs on leash – it is required on all BTLT trails all year long, and is especially important during hunting season to keep deer from being disturbed. There are fines if your dog is off leash and chases deer, so leash your dog or leave them at home during hunting season!
  • Please note that hunting on Sundays is illegal in Maine.
  • Bowhunters are not allowed to discharge an arrow within 75 feet of a trail and are made aware of the location of all trails on the property they are hunting. 
If you are interested in learning more about the Land Trust’s hunting rules or are interested in requesting permission to hunt on Land Trust properties next year, please visit https://www.btlt.org/itshuntingseason/.
The permission window for the current fall 2021 season has closed, but will be open again for spring turkey hunting!