An Act To Change the Bag Limits on Wild Turkey
Sec. 1. 12 MRSA §11701, first ¶, as amended by PL 2017, c. 85, §3, is further amended to read:
The commissioner by rule may establish open seasons for hunting wild turkeys, designate areas that are open to the taking of wild turkeys in any part of the State, prescribe the form and regulate the number of permits to be issued, determine the number and sex of the birds to be harvested, establish bag limits in accordance with subsection 4, establish permit eligibility requirements, establish legal hunting times, specify the types of weapons to be used during any open wild turkey hunting season and make any other rules that the commissioner considers necessary for the protection of the wild turkey resource. The rules must permit the use of a crossbow during an open season for hunting wild turkey, except that a person may not hunt wild turkey with a crossbow from October 1st until the first day of the open season established by the commissioner in the following year.
Sec. 2. 12 MRSA §11701, sub-§4 is enacted to read:
By January 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, the commissioner shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over inland fisheries and wildlife matters on the health of the wild turkey population in the State. The report may include recommendations regarding bag limits on wild turkey and any recommendation to ensure the health of the wild turkey population. The joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over inland fisheries and wildlife matters may report out a bill to implement any recommendations contained in the report or to address any other issues identified in the report.
Sec. 3. Rules. The Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife shall amend the hunting rules of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as soon as practicable to be consistent with the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 12, section 11701, subsection 4.
This bill requires the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to double the bag limits on wild turkey in effect on January 1, 2018. It also requires the commissioner to submit a report by January 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, that includes recommendations regarding bag limits on wild turkey. It gives the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over inland fisheries and wildlife matters authority to report out a bill based on the report.