Is It Illegal to Shoot A Deer Eating From Your Garden in Maine?
My Mom has been dealing with some unwelcome guests in her yard lately. She's got the cutest little groundhogs but they've been her deck furniture. Furthermore, my in-laws have deer that have taken a liking to their garden.
A thought crossed my mind: Would it be legal for Mainers to take matters into their own hands and shoot these wild intruders themselves? While I know my compassionate mother would never consider such an extreme measure, I wondered if others in Maine might think about it. So, let's explore the legal side of this.
When it comes to dealing with wildlife taking over your garden or deck furniture, it's important to understand Maine Law.
So, is it illegal or not...
According to Maine Statute, “the cultivator, owner, mortgagee or keeper of any orchard or growing crop, except all types of grasses, clover and grain fields, may take or kill wild animals or wild turkeys night or day when the wild animals or wild turkeys are located within the orchard or crop where substantial damage caused by the wild animal or wild turkey to the orchard or crop is occurring."
I am trying to understand this correctly. It reads like it is legal but it is very hard for me to believe you can shoot a deer at your home, in a residential neighborhood. What I understand when I read this is that if you have a crop on your yard, you are permitted to kill a wild animal that is causing substantial damage to this crop. I am assuming that means, it is sort of legal to kill a deer eating your garden?
Let's take note that it's important to know that taking matters into your own hands and shooting deer without proper authorization or outside of hunting seasons can result in legal trouble.
I'll probably need your help with this finite answer.
Maine also encourages it's residents to find alternative ways of managing wildlife that are non-lethal. Because these little furry guys are just trying to seek food and shelter.
Killing is not always the best course of action but it is a course that some may choose. Make sure to read up on Maine law or calling your local game warden for more information.