February 7, 2023

An Editorial On Bears That Should Be Deemed Criminal

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The Times Record of Maine, carried an editorial (behind a pay wall) about bears. There was no name attached to the writing so I am to assume it was written by the editorial staff. If so, the Times Record should consider firing the person or persons responsible for such inaccurate, misleading and idealistic nonsense. The credibility of this media source has been seriously compromised.

What I decided to do was to simply make a list of the inaccurate statements this editorial contains and I’ve taken the time to not include opinions.

1. Black bears are Maine’s largest predators — at least until the polar bears arrive, owing to global warming. Does the editorial staff not understand that polar bears live in the arctic ice regions and that global warming will NOT force the polar bears to migrate south to Maine where it’s even warmer? If it were April 1st, I would consider this an April Fool’s joke.

2. Black bears are more docile than their bigger cousins, grizzly bears and polar bears Studies have proven otherwise. Grizzles and polar bears are generally bigger in size but the black bear tends to be the more aggressive.

3. When a bear is baited, if it doesn’t step into the trap the humans set, the bear becomes habituated to human food. WHAT?????? I would comment on this if I knew what it meant.

4. …terrified by packs of dogs, some of whom may not survive the “hunt” themselves, chased down until the dogs tear it apart. This writer obviously knows nothing about hounding for bear. Dogs do not “Tear it [bear] apart.” They send it up a tree. While it sometimes happens, hounds do not often get killed hounding bears.

5. …lured by those donuts, the bear stumbles into a trap, where it may remain in pain and suffering for days. Trappers are required by law to check on traps every 24 hours. Bears are caught in a snare that is NOT painful in anyway to a bear and the trapper has the option of harvesting the bear or releasing it from the snare, unharmed. At times trappers come upon their traps to find the caught bear sleeping.

6. Bears are too intelligent, and too important to the health of the ecosystem. This is unproven “romance” biology. It is only idealistic theology that bears are important to any ecosystem. Nature does not “balance itself.”

7. Bears are needed to keep the deer and wild boar population in check. While bears are a predator of white-tailed deer in Maine, bears are not “needed” to keep deer populations in check. Maine is on the northern fringe of the habitat range for white-tailed deer and the Pine Tree State has never had a problem with too many deer. As a matter of fact, too many black bears at this time are contributing to a very unhealthy and in some instances unsustainable deer population. And WILD BOAR POPULATIONS? There is help for people who see pink elephants and hear voices talking to them in their heads.

8. …bears will dispatch sick deer and excess feral pigs, keeping their herds healthy. Again this is romance biology crap. All predators are opportunistic hunters. Bear tend to target newly born deer fawns. Adult deer can be killed but usually is done in “ambush” but is difficult to do. Like all other misinformed romance biologists, predators do NOT selectively cull sick and lame prey species. To make such a claim is to suggest that a predator is intelligent enough to recognize a “sick” deer while disregarding that if they are that intelligent they are also intelligent enough to pick out the most desirable of the prey species, like pregnant animals. Fetuses are a delicacy you know. Note: Still not sure what part of Texas this writer came from but I suppose for this person’s benefit, I’ll say that so far the black bears in Maine have done a stellar job of keeping feral pig populations in check.

9. Bear populations are subject to the same pressures other animal species face, and their own young are often prey for bobcats, coyotes, and other male bears. Oh, my! Bears are NOT subject to the same pressures. All animals within a dynamic ecosystem are pressured by completely different variants. It is a known fact that some male bears will kill bear cubs, however, I would like to see this writer’s evidence that bobcats and coyotes regularly prey on bear cubs.

10. In other states that have restricted baiting and trapping, they have seen bear populations stabilize and fewer encounters in towns and cities. This simply is not the case. If you believe the media reports, spoon fed by the predator protectors, you are a fool. When you examine the actual data that is being collected, we discover that bear populations have NOT stabilized nor have human encounters gone down. Most often human/bear encounters happen more frequently for two reasons. One, there are too many bears competing for the same habitat, including food supply. Two, the amount of natural food available, due to environmental circumstances, is in short supply forcing bears to find food anywhere they can.

11. Bear baiting encourages bear forays into populated areas, This is another example of romance biology’s talking points and unfounded rhetoric. While it may be true that bears that frequent human settlements do so because they have discovered where the source is, bear baiters do not set up shop in town. The overwhelming majority of bear baiting takes place is remote and isolated areas. It is fact that during many years when natural food for bears is in abundance, bear hunters who use bait have a very difficult time in getting bears to come to bait. Perhaps the one item in the editorial that was correct was: “…bears are more likely to consume grubs, other insects, and vegetative matter, including berries and nuts, and fish.” Bears do NOT prefer stale, day-old donuts.

Old Hunter says: