July 23, 2019

Opinions Are Like……….Well, Never Mind

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Readers should ALWAYS be reminded that letters to the editor of newspapers are only opinions no matter how inaccurate a writers claims might be. It is quite astounding that some people can present seemingly continuous claims about Maine bear hunting while providing absolutely nothing of value to substantiate those claims. As a reader you are left with total disregard for what is contained in the opinion piece. It should be also noted that providing links to other’s opinions does not make for credible information to back claims.

This happened recently in the Bangor Daily News when a woman, passing herself off as someone who, “hunted as hard as any man for 30 years when I was younger,” states that people should support the upcoming bear hunting referendum to ban hunting bears with bait, hounds and trapping with snares.

I’ve addressed most all of these issues in the past. However, there is one issue that this author brought up that needs some attention as well; that of sportsmanship and hunting ethics.

The author says that Maine has a “time-honored principle of fair chase” and that game should have a “reasonable” chance to escape a hunter. I wonder if the 30-years of hunting “as hard as any man” can remember some of those “time-honored” principles when bears were slaughtered due to unregulated hunting? That the bear population had diminished to near unsustainable levels due to that “time-honored” tradition of fair chase? That heritage of “fair chase” might be more myth than reality.

The problem with discussing ethics in hunting is complex and too much of what is considered sportsmanlike and ethical is left to the individual beliefs and governed by laws crafted by fish and game authorities to provide a degree of public safety along with what becomes necessary to control populations of game species. The author makes the claim the Maine doesn’t “bait” for other species like moose and deer because “it’s not fair chase.” Maine has a very limited deer and moose population and so that while providing opportunities for all hunters to fill their freezers there must be limits on tools used in the “fair chase” to also limit harvest. If Maine was overrun with deer, it can be expected that laws would be changed to find ways to increase the harvest of deer and moose. If it then is an individual’s choice and belief system of what is and is not “fair chase” and decides to opt out of baiting, then more power to the individual. Perhaps to resort back to hunting with an atlatl would be ethical and fair chase enough. Then again there are those extremists who think any form of hunting at all is unethical. Who gets to decide what you believe? Legislating ethics and fair chase is something that should never happen.

When anyone inserts the word “reasonable” as a means of describing fair chase, then any definition is completely lost, as it should be. So, then, what is fair chase? Is hunting with a GPS fair chase? Using a rifle scope? Scent locked clothing? Buck lures and doe scents? Calling by mouth, with a hand-held device or electronic call? Every individual can draw their own line of ethics. Claiming bear hunting by hounds or baiting for hunting or trapping is not fair chase obviously in not to this writer but to many others, within the law, it is fair chase and they should have that right. I shouldn’t dictate to this writer what she should maintain for fair chase ethics and I expect the same in return.

Massing words together in a rant about other people’s perceptions of fair chase and ethics involving hunting does nothing to convince anyone that ending the current means of available hunting and trapping methods for black bears is a worthy goal.

Old Hunter says:

Language

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