Registered Maine Guides

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Maine Guides provide a unique perspective gained through experience!

Registered Maine Guides are outdoor professionals 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.

Licensing for Registered Maine Guides first began 1897. During that first year, 1700 individuals became licensed, primarily in the hunting and fishing disciplines. Over the years, canoe trips gained popularity as well.
For many years, a Maine Guide was not required to submit to any standardized testing. Interested parties simply had to pass muster with the local game warden. If the game warden considered them qualified and fit to guide in the outdoors, they were licensed as a Registered Maine Guide. In 1975, a standardized test and procedure was established for licensing.
There are currently approximately 6,300 licensed guides in Maine.

Guide Classifications

Guides can be licensed in one or more specialized classifications.

A. Specialized classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide one or more specific types of activities as follows:

  1. Specialized Hunting classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide hunting and trapping activities, including overnight camping trips in conjunction with those hunting and trapping activities.
  2. Specialized Fishing classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide fishing activities, including overnight camping trips in conjunction with those fishing activities on inland waters.
  3. Specialized Recreational classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide watercraft, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiling and camping activities. This classification also qualifies a person to guide watercraft including paddlesports on inland waters as defined in DIFW Rule 24.02 E.
  4. Specialized Sea-Kayaking classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide sea-kayaking activities to include paddlesports on the State's territorial seas and tributaries of the State up to the head of tide and out to the three-mile limit. This classification includes overnight camping trips in conjunction with those sea-kayaking and paddlesports. A person wishing to guide paddlesports on the ocean as defined within this section must have a current Specialized Sea-Kayaking classification.
  5. Specialized Tide-Water Fishing classification means that a person has met the qualifications to guide sport fishing activities on the State's territorial seas and tributaries of the State up to the head of tide out to the three-mile limit, including overnight camping trips in conjunction with those tide-water fishing activities. This license shall apply to any person engaged in guiding fishing activity for any species of fish, except those species harvested under the authority of a Department of Marine Resources license. This rule does not apply to activity occurring on board a vessel holding a valid and current certificate of inspection issued by the United States Coast Guard.

Note: Any person operating a motorboat on the State's territorial seas and tributaries for the purpose of guiding hunting and fishing activities must obtain U.S. Coast Guard license authorizing the carriage of passengers for hire.

B. Master certification means that a person has acquired experience in a Specialized classification that exceeds the minimum requirements necessary to be licensed as a guide in that classification.

  1. Persons licensed in one or more specialized classifications may apply for certification as a Master Guide in such classification(s) by filing an affidavit with the Department showing that the applicant has met the necessary qualifications and experience requirements outlined in DIFW Rule Chapter 24.05(B)(1)(a) and (b) below. The necessary qualifications and experience requirements are as follows:

    a. The applicant must have been licensed as a Maine guide in the specialized classification(s) for which Master Guide certification is sought each year during the ten-year period preceding the submission of the affidavit for certification; and

    b. A minimum of five years' professional experience in the specialized classification(s) must be documented within that ten-year period. One year of professional experience shall be credited for every 240 hours worked in a calendar year. There must be a minimum of eighty hours of time spent guiding in a calendar year for that time to be creditable towards professional experience. Only actual time guiding will be credited. A description of guide's specific duties and responsibilities and amount of the time spent guiding must be included with the affidavit. The applicant may estimate the amount of time devoted specifically to guiding activity. Experience shall be credited on an hour-for-hour basis.

  2. Upon receipt of an affidavit showing that the applicant has met the necessary qualifications and experience requirements outlined in Chapter 24.05(B)(1)(a) and (b) above, the Department will validate the applicant's license with the certification that the applicant is eligible to work as a Master Guide. The applicant may not work as a Master Guide until the license certification has been validated by the Department.

    a. The certification will remain in effect as long as the guide's license is renewed within one year of expiration.

    b. A determination, at any time, that any of the information contained in the affidavit is false shall be grounds for revocation of the Master Guide certification.

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Legendary Maine Guide Award

Download the Legendary Maine Guide Award Nomination Form (PDF)

Nomination Criteria

  • Must meet 20 year anniversary as a Registered Maine Guide. Active guide for 10 years
  • Passes a criminal background check. Law abiding citizen with no arrests for committing a crime related to: Human injury, gun laws or major hunting or fishing violations for 20 years.
  • Volunteer community service. Providing education about safety and survival in the Maine woods. Introducing and educating youth about the importance of the ecosystem found in the State of Maine.
  • Active on boards or committees that enhances and promotes the importance of Maine's outdoor resources, ie: youth programs, scout leader, conservation education, safety instructor, search and rescue volunteer, active in Fish and Game club(s), guide license examiner, etc.

Nomination Deadline

All nominations must be received by January 10 of the calendar year.

Review Panel

All nominations will be reviewed by a seven (7) member review panel from the MDIFW.

  • Deputy Commissioner, MDIFW, Chair
  • Previous year's Wiggie Robinson Award winner
  • 4 Maine Guides (2-MPGA; 2-non-members MPGA)
  • Bill Swan, MDIFW, Licensing

The Award will be presented to the winner at the Annual Maine Professional Guides Banquet each year.

Award Recipients

  • Wilmot "Wiggie" Robinson (posthumously) 2009
  • Gil Gilpatrick 2010
  • Gary Corson 2011
  • Gardner Defoe 2012
  • Matthew P. Libby 2013
  • Don Dudley 2014
  • Danny Legere 2015
  • Richard Scribner 2016
  • Donald E. Helstrom, Jr 2017

Watch the video below to learn more about the Wiggie Robinson Legendary Maine Guide Award

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