June 8, 2020 at 12:47 pm
This summer is a great opportunity to explore all Maine has to offer and try something new. But sometimes it can be intimidating to go to an area you aren’t familiar with or learn something you have never done. That’s why Registered Maine Guides have been bringing people on adventures for nearly 125 years! Guides bring beginners and outdoor enthusiasts alike on adventures throughout the state, whether it be camping, hiking, kayaking, ATVing, canoeing, wildlife watching, fishing, or hunting. Guides are following specific guidelines all to keep you and themselves safe during the pandemic.
Last week MDIFW Commissioner Judy Camuso met with a panel of Registered Maine Guides to answer some frequently asked questions to help fellow Mainers plan an unforgettable staycation this summer:
Why should I hire a guide?
When you hire a guide, you are hiring someone with a lifetime of experience! They show you step by step what to do, bring you places you most likely have never been, help ensure your safety, and most of all make the experience one you will remember forever. Although they can’t guarantee you will catch a fish, see a moose, or see the Little Dipper while roasting a s’more, your chances are much higher when you hire a guide. Guides also often provide all necessary equipment and ensure you are following the law.
Is it safe to hire a guide during the pandemic?
Yes, there is a state specific guiding protocol which Registered Maine Guides are following to keep themselves and their guests/sports safe. For most of the trips you are outside the majority (or all) of the time which helps reduce concerns. Even in an open-air environment physical distancing is required, and equipment is sanitized.
What activities do Registered Maine Guides offer?
When people think of a Registered Maine Guide they often think of hunting and fishing, but guides offer so much more! Go camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, ATVing, wildlife watching, whitewater rafting, and more.
Who can hire a guide?
Anyone and everyone can hire a guide! Guides are happy to work with individuals of all ages and experience levels. Families, couples, friends, and individuals can enjoy a Maine adventure with a Registered Maine Guide. Even seasoned outdoor enthusiasts and Registered Maine Guides hire guides to try something new or visit a new area.
Where can I learn more about guides or find a guide to hire?
For fishing, camping, hiking, hunting, paddling, and wildlife trips, check out the Maine Professional Guides Association or Maine Guides Online.
Can you be a beginner and hire a guide?
Yes, Registered Maine Guides LOVE introducing people to a new sport or activity and sharing their passion and knowledge.
What sort of equipment do guides provide?
Registered Maine Guides often provide all of the gear, with the exception of firearms for hunting trips. They will also provide recommendations on what you will need to buy if you want to continue participating in the hobby on your own, and how to use it. This is a great benefit of a guide as one of the obstacles of trying or learning a new outdoor hobby is the access to gear. It can be challenging to know what you actually need and some items can be expensive if you don’t know if you will enjoy it.
What is the history of Registered Maine Guides?
Guides have been licensed in Maine for almost 125 years. The first Registered Maine Guide was Cornelia Thurza Crosby, or "Fly Rod" Crosby, a female from Phillips, Maine. Maine Guides are not State of Maine employees and they are not game wardens. Registered Maine Guides are small business owners just like a mom and pop store who are licensed and permitted to accept any form of remuneration for their services in accompanying or assisting any person in the fields, forests or on the waters or ice within the jurisdiction of the State while hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, snowmobiling, using and all-terrain vehicle or camping at a primitive camping area.
What is the history of Maine Sporting Camps?
Sporting camps started in the mid-1800s as a place for wealthy people from the Boston area to come to Maine for a fishing experience, often for several months at a time. Over time Maine Sporting Camps have switched from seeing large groups of males for a week at a time to a lot more families and couples, and people staying for a weekend or half a week rather than traditional seven-day weeks. Sporting Camps are for beginners and seasoned outdoors people alike! Sporting Camps have guides on staff, and often have family-style dinners with fellow guests for an inviting experience!
What should someone ask before hiring a guide?
Have a conversation before you hire a guide and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask them to tell you what the day or trip will entail, if food and transportation is included, if you or others are physically capable of the trip (they can often make adjustments), the cost, if licenses are required, and what the weather may be like.
Are guides just for hunting and fishing?
No! Guides offer canoeing, camping, bird and wildlife watching, hiking, and more in addition to hunting and camping.
What part of the states are guides in?
No need to travel far, Registered Maine Guides span our entire state and offer a variety of guided opportunities.
Is hiring a guide a good option for a family outing?
Yes, guides and Maine Sporting Camps are starting to see more and more families! Guides have your safety as their number one priority, ensure you are following the law, bring you to places you have never been, and strive to make the experience fun for everyone!
How does someone know if a guide is right for them?
Just like any interaction with someone in a business or educational environment you want to find a good fit from a personality standpoint. If you are someone who likes to have someone who coaches you and encourages you and gives feedback, tell the guide that is what you are looking for. If you are looking to just enjoy the outdoors and get a little education on the region, flora, or history, tell them! Be clear about what type of communication and experience you are looking for.
How long are trips with guides?
Trips can be a half-day, full day, multiple days, a week, or longer, it is up to you! Except for big game hunts which are typically a full week.
We hope you enjoy your time outside safely! Be sure to share your photos with us on social media by using #allinforthemaineoutdoors or #keeperofme