Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Maine [Yes, But Why]

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You might find pigeons living on your property annoying. But from a pigeon’s point of view, it is a perfect place with plenty of food and shelter. So, eliminating sky rodents will be more complicated than you think. But is it illegal to kill pigeons in Maine? 

Yes. It is illegal to kill pigeons in Maine. The federal authorities forbid the killing and hunting of Migratory pigeons. It is unlawful to kill Mourning or White-winged doves. But hunters can take down the unprotected pigeon species, including Rock pigeons, at any time of the year.  

Dove hunting is legal in 41 states except for Maine and also six other states. So, continue reading to learn about more pigeon hunting rules in the state. 

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Maine? 

In Maine, it is illegal to hunt Migratory pigeons. The Migratory pigeon species in the state are the Mourning dove and White-winged dove. So, the state authorities prohibit the forced removal, killing, or hunting of these doves.  

Mourning doves are tan or greyish brown with black spots on their wings. They have long, slender tails and small heads. The mourning dove’s pointed tail has a white border. You can also clearly see a dark dot under the eye.  

You can identify the White-winged doves with a white strip on their folded wing. It becomes visible on a flight. White-winged doves are overall brown with a black line on the cheek. Their tail is tipped in white and has black stripes. But, in comparison to Mourning doves, they are large and bulky.  

Hunters can take down Eurasian collared doves and Feral pigeons in Maine. It is legal to eat pigeon and dove meat. But, many disapprove of the idea of eating unprotected pigeon meat as it can contain many lethal organisms. 

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Maine? 

It is illegal to hunt Migratory birds in Maine. According to USA law, it is illegal to kill, harm, hunt, trade, or sell any migratory bird without a state permit. This law is part of the MBTA or Migratory bird treaty act, which was signed in 1918.  

This treaty doesn’t include any native birds or pigeons. So, it only counts the pigeon, which moves according to the season. Mourning doves and White-winged doves are also part of these birds. So, you can’t hunt them without a state permit. So, next time on a hunt, you must know all the features of these doves to avoid taking them down.  

It is legal to eat pigeon meat. But you can eat doves only if you find them dead. So, hunting migratory pigeons for food is forbidden. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Maine State 

There are pigeon shooting laws in Maine. Some rules are general and are implemented across all US, while others are certain to each state. For example, the age and hunting of migratory pigeons.  

The law ensures safe pigeon shooting in the state. Following are some essential laws in Maine. These laws are also basic guidelines for beginners. 

Hunting Safety Course  

You must be at least ten years old to take a Hunting safety course. The course is a ten-hour program usually held over two or three days. You have the option to take classes online or in the classroom. The online or in-room lessons are three hours long. But for the practice, you will have to visit the site. The practice hours can be four hours or more.  

The classes teach hunting ethics and laws. Students learn the use of firearms in practical lessons. In the end, participants will have to take the test. So, hunters must pass the test with eighty percent marks to get the certificate. 

Hunting License   

In Maine, you must obtain a hunting license to take down pigeons. You can purchase a hunting license online or via an agent. It is essential to carry it on the field along with you. So, you can have it on any device or in print.  

The state offers several hunting licenses depending on your age, residency, and background. The state also has hunting licenses for young people ages ten to sixteen. As per the law, it is not essential for youth to carry a hunting license on the field. But, they must be under the direct supervision of an adult hunter age 21 or above. 


It is not legal to shoot pigeons with a machine gun. So, you can use a shotgun, air rifle, and pistol. Also, avoid using poisonous bullets or arrows. The poison causes slow death. It might be legal, but it is inhumane. 

Hunting Migratory Pigeons  

It is unlawful to hunt Migratory pigeons in Maine. The migratory pigeons in the state are protected under MBTA (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), 1918. Therefore, you cannot take down Mourning doves and White-winged doves in Maine. 

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Maine State? 

Pigeons are not harmless. Their infestation can cause a lot of destruction. For centuries people have been shooting down pigeons to get rid of them. They also take down pigeons simply for pleasure and to enjoy the meat. To shoot and hunt pigeons in the state, follow the steps below.   

  • Purchase a hunting license after completing the hunting course.   
  • Carry a hunting license on the field. It can be on your e-device or print.  
  • People below the age of 16 must possess a junior hunter license. 
  • Junior or youth hunters must be under the supervision of an adult licensed hunter above 21.  
  • You can only use air rifles and shotguns to take down pigeons.  
  • Hunters must have an archery permit to hunt pigeons with bow and arrows.  
  • Landowners possessing a large area can shoot pigeons on their property without a license. 
  • To hunt on private property, you need to get permission from the landowner.   
  • You can also use pigeon decoys, food, and electronic calling to attract the pigeons to the hunting area.   
  • Hunting time begins a half hour before sunrise and ends half-hour after sunset.   
  • Wear safety gloves and goggles on the field, and also carry a first aid box.   
  • After harvesting, separate pigeons in each bag according to the species. 

Summing Up

It is legal to take down pigeons in Maine. But you cannot hunt protected species, which are migratory doves. The protected doves in the state are Mourning doves and White-winged doves.  

According to the law, it is illegal to harm, kill, or shoot migratory pigeons without permission from the state authorities. Migratory dove hunting is legal in many USA states except for Maine. But, many hunters participate in dove hunting illegally, which is a crime and can cause a hefty fine.  

However, the unprotected species are Rock pigeons and Eurasian collared doves. You can take them down with air rifles, shotguns, and bows and arrows. There is no restriction on hunting these species except hunting license.