Maine Guides License Examination & Testing Process

Becoming a Maine Guide

Each year dozens of applicants test, with dreams of becoming a Registered Maine Guide

Maine has long been recognized as the most difficult State in the U.S. in which to obtain a guide’s license. Maine’s Guide License examination and testing process is very challenging and applicants must demonstrate knowledge in a wide range of topics.

Maine Guide License applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in map and compass skills, the ability to resolve incidents which result in life-threatening injuries, and an extensive knowledge of Maine’s hunting, fishing and recreational laws. Candidates must also have the ability to resolve weather emergencies, identify typical Maine species and demonstrate a variety of outdoor skills.

Maine Guide License Examination

To become a Registered Maine Guide, candidates must pass both an oral and written exam, for each classification being sought, with a 70% or better grade. Exams are typically conducted in Augusta at the IF&W facility or a nearby state office.

All new applicants must be currently certified by the American Red Cross in standard first-aid. There is a $100.00 testing fee for each classification requested. In the event the applicant fails the test, one re-examination is allowed before another application fee is assessed. The $100.00 fee is non-refundable and will not be credited toward the license fee.

First-time applicants and renewals are also required to complete a criminal history background check. This process includes fingerprinting and is administered through Identogo. The fee for this process is set by the State Bureau of Investigation and is approximately $55.

Oral Exam

The oral exam is three part process.

  • Map & Compass
  • Catastrophic Event/Lost Person Scenario
  • General Information & Skills – Laws, species identification, client care, weather, ethics, safety, demonstration of skills

At the beginning of the oral exam, candidates must demonstrate map and compass skills. Examiners will ask candidates to determine bearings and distances for several lines of travel on the provided map. Candidates must also be familiar with map features, symbology, terminology, scale, etc.

The second part of the oral exam is scenario-based, requiring candidates to properly describe how they would react in an emergency situation such as an injured or lost client. This part of the exam tests the candidate’s ability to prioritize treatment and make reasonable and timely decisions in an emergency.

The last part of the oral is what we refer to as “General Knowledge and Demonstration of Skills”. Candidates will be asked questions often specific to their licenses such as laws/regulations, fly/ammo identification, boating questions, first aid, client safety, weather, sanitation, clothing, and client care. In addition, candidates are asked to identify hazards and illegal practices and must demonstrate canoe paddle strokes, as well as identify mammals, fish, waterfowl, and plants. Applicants are also often asked to answer questions relating to ethics and business practices.

Written Exam

The written exam is a 100-question True/False, Multiple Choice exam. It covers a variety of topics specific to the test classification. Like the General Knowledge portion of the oral exam, the written exam covers a variety of topics ranging from bag limits, boating terms, safety, rules and regulations, camping, wildlife facts and habits, canoeing, hunting/fishing equipment, trapping, ATV/Snowmobile, and a variety of other pertinent topics.

Maine Guide License Renewal

A guide’s license is valid for 5 years. Like a first time applicant, a renewal applicant must also submit an updated criminal history background check, administered through Identogo.The background check and fingerprinting fee is approximately $55, in addition to the license renewal fee. The fee for a 5-year renewal application is $135.00.

A renewal applicant whose guiding authority has been expired for 3 years must apply as a new guide and be reexamined.

With the exception of Whitewater guides, renewal applicants are not required to show proof of current first aid.