July 17, 2019

Maine Bill Proposal Would Provide Authority to Commissioner to Manipulate Bear Hunting/Trapping Seasons and Bag Limits

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Maine bill proposal LD 1118 is a provision that grants authority to the commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife power to set and manipulate bear hunting and trapping seasons according to the management needs Wildlife Management Districts (WMD). Contrary to the misleading information being spread around by some anti-hunting groups, LD 1118 is NOT a bill that necessarily lengthens a bear season nor does it necessarily increase the seasonal bag limit.

According to the WildWatch Maine FARCEbook page, they are misleading their readers by presenting information contained in this bill proposal that simply is not necessarily true. The information is being presented as though this bill establishes a bear hunting season that begins August 1st and ends December 31st. The actual bill proposal amendment reads: “The commissioner shall by rule establish a bear hunting season beginning no earlier than August 1st and ending no later than December 15th annually.” Nothing more…nothing less. This simply authorizes the MDIFW commissioner flexibility to be able to adjust seasons according to management needs established under the reigning commissioner’s administration – whatever those needs might be perceived as.

Absent from the hunting haters’ misrepresentation is that this new authority given the commissioner also hands over the power to control how, if, and when bait can be used for bear hunting. This authority provides the commissioner the means to end bear baiting. Think about that for a moment.

About the only thing the group relayed that was completely accurate is that the license fees for bear hunting would be reduced.

Some might automatically assume that hunters would be eager to support this bill proposal. Not necessarily. I personally think that the MDIFW should make changes to all hunting, trapping, and fishing rules and regulations as they become necessary for the proper scientific management and control of all game species. I am not keen on handing over a blank, signed check of authority to any commissioner. This may be giving this unelected official too much power and control over the legislative mandate to provide a harvestable resource.

It has always been my bone of contention that use of the term “opportunity” when it comes to hunting, trapping, and fishing is not much for giving anyone any sort of real assurance that there will ever be sufficient game to hunt or fish. It merely provides “opportunity.”

With power given to the MDIFW commissioner, in the wrong hands harvest may become a thing of the past with emphasis put more on opportunity.

Before you support or reject LD 1118, please take 10 minutes out of your life to read the proposal and try to think beyond the moment and consider possibilities and potential abuses that might happen. Remember also, you and I did NOT vote for the commissioner. Do you want that position to have that much power?

Maybe, or maybe not!

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