Testing Process

Testing Process and Associated Fees

New Applicants

Background Check: First-time applicants are required to complete their criminal history background check through Identogo before submitting their application. Individuals who pass the criminal history background check will receive a letter from the Maine Warden Service stating that they are “cleared to apply” for a guide's license. A copy of that letter must be included with the completed application.

The background check is done through Identogo and this information is sent directly to Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. You will have to schedule your appointment for fingerprinting: https://www.identogo.com/locations/maine

More questions on the criminal background can be obtained here.

Link: https://www.maine.gov/ifw/programs-resources/registered-maine-guides/new-applicants.html

APPLICATION Process: Once you've been fingerprinted, wait 30 days and mail in your application. After the 30 days you are ready to Apply for Testing by sending in the application. Once received by IF&W, they will notify you by mail of a test date and time.

IF&W’s Testing Application: Complete entire form, front and back and mail it to the address on the form. 

Send in with your Application:

  • Photo copy of your current First-Aid Card (On-line classes are NOT acceptable)

o NOTE: if you are taking Maine Guide First-Aid Training with Maine’s Outdoor Learning Center. You can bring the card with you to your testing date.

  •  Associated Fees. Make checks Payable to: Treasurer State of Maine


Each new guide applicant must pay a $100.00 fee in each classification to be examined.

(Example: $100.00 Recreation; $200.00 Recreation & Fishing) 

For Testing purposes; only apply for 2 classifications at one testing time. The third classification will require another test date. 

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. Application, copies of both sides of current First Aid and $100.00 fee must be sent to: Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Guide License Application, 284 State Street, Augusta, ME 04333. 

All new applicants must be currently certified by the American Red Cross in standard first-aid or completion of any standard first-aid course that meets the criteria established by rule of the commissioner. On-line First-Aid Training is not acceptable.

In 1997 MOLC’s First-Aid curriculum, was established by rule of the commissioner in Maine and in NH.


Once you’ve passed both the oral and written exams, you obtain your Guide license.

All regular guide licenses are issued for a five-year period.

5-year guide license = $135.
5-year res. disabled Vet = No Fee
5 year over 70 residents = No Fee 

First-aid is not required to renew. Background Check and Fingerprinting is.

Background Check: NO FEE

Finger Print: $55.00

In order to hunt or fish, a guide is also required to purchase the proper hunting or fishing license in addition to their guide's license.

To Reiterate: Once you have been fingerprinted, wait 30 days before mailing in your testing application. If you currently have a first-aid card, please send in photo copy of it with your application and fee. If you are taking First-Aid with MOLC and have a test date in place - You may bring your first-aid card with you to your testing date.

You will be required to sit for an oral exam showing proficiency as a Maine Guide. You will then sit for a written test. Both are done on the same day.

Once Licensed as a Registered Maine Guide your license is good for 5 years. You must renew on your expiration date to keep your license active. The testing process can be bear, and paying attention to details in class through listening, taking notes, and asking questions, along with the experience you come to the table with, you will become masters of Maine woods and waters; A Registered Maine Guide.  

 Renewal Applicant: Download the application form directly from IF&W’s website. Read carefully and complete the entire application, signing where indicated. Submit completed application and license fee to address on application. Current first aid is not required to renew a guide license with the following exception for Whitewater guides. Please note that we do not accept online courses. Background check is required to reapply.

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


Oral and Written Exam

Oral Examination

The oral exam is overseen by a panel of State of Maine Game Wardens and experienced Maine Guides. The oral exam includes: map and compass, lost person scenarios, navigation, survival, as well as questions to ensure the professional knowledge in the Guide's area of specialization. 

The oral exam will cover General client care issues, weather related questions, first aid, safety, ethics, legal business practices, behavior of clients, aquatic vegetation, clothing, sanitation, watercraft, snowmobile and ATV laws and regulations, map & compass, GPS, ammunition identification, fishing fly identification, mammal identification, fish identification,  personal floatation device and waterfowl identification.

The oral exam process will start with the examiners testing your map and compass skills. You will be required to provide bearings and distances derived from a map which will be provided for the exam, and to demonstrate your ability to work with a map and compass and to explain to the Board what steps you might take in the event that a person becomes lost while in your care as a Guide.

In the Catastrophic event portion of the exam you will be asked to explain to the board what steps you should take to keep your guests comfortable and safe. You may also be asked to explain to the board the steps you would take if you were to have a lost client or clients on any given trip for the classification in which you are being tested.

You should be ready to identify various animals, birds and fish. Questions will be asked in reference to safety, outdoor cooking, personal flotation devices, all watercraft regulations, handling of canoes and canoe propulsion, watercraft terminology, rescue techniques, aids to navigation and navigation rules.

We strongly feel that you owe it to the State, yourself, and to whomever you guide, to be as knowledgeable as possible in the field you have chosen to guide in.

NOTE: Please bring your Driver’s License with you to the Oral Exam

A. Except as otherwise provided, applicants who satisfactorily complete the application form and pass the oral examination may then be scheduled to take a written examination in the specific classification they desire.

B. Applicants must pass the map and compass and lost person scenario portions of the oral examination as a prerequisite to taking the written examination for specialized classification in hunting, fishing or recreation.

C. Applicants must pass the navigation and survival scenario portions of the oral examination as a prerequisite to taking the written examination for specialized classification in tidewater fishing.

D. Applicants must pass the navigation and lost sea kayaker portions of the oral examination as a prerequisite to taking the written examination for specialized classification in sea kayaking.

F. Applicants who fail to appear for a scheduled oral examination without notifying the board of examiners in writing or telecommunication 24 hours prior to the scheduled examination will be ineligible for rescheduling for at least one year. 

G. Applicants who fail the oral examination will be notified at the time of testing and are eligible for re-testing in 30 days.

Written Examination

After successful completion of the oral exam, you will sit for the written exam in the following categories based on the type of guiding you intend to do. 

· A minimum score of 70 is required to pass each classification. 

· A candidate must take a written exam for each classification desired. 

· Keeping in mind this is only an overview of potential questions.

Recreation:  Safety, Map & Compass, GPS, Canoeing, Recreation, Watercraft, Snowmobile and ATV Laws & Regulations, Related equipment, Wildlife facts & Camping.

Fishing: Safety, Map & Compass, GPS, Fishing regulations, Bag limits, Watercraft, Snowmobile and ATV Laws & Regulations, Fishing Equipment, Fish habitat and Aquatic vegetation, Wildlife facts & Camping.

Hunting: Safety, Map & Compass, GPS, Mammal habitat, Firearms, Hunting regulations, Hunting equipment, Trapping regulations, Watercraft, Snowmobile and ATV Laws & Regulations, bag limits, Wildlife facts and Camping

Specialized Tidewater Fishing: Navigation, Statutes, Rules and Regulations 

Specialized Sea Kayaking: Safety, Marine Environment (Islands), Boat Handling, Nautical/Charts and Coastal Navigation 

Questions and or demonstrations will be asked in reference to safety, outdoor cooking, handling of canoes, watercraft terminology, rescue techniques, aids to navigation and navigation law, snowmobile, ATV, personal watercraft rules and regulations.

Applicants who fail the written examination will be notified at the time of testing and are eligible for re-testing in 30 days.