October 27, 2014
Re: Letter to James Cote
It seems “Mainers” for Fair Bear Bear Hunting will stop at no lengths to silence actual Mainers.
You have failed to convince a judge to muzzle the state’s bear experts from telling the truth about the impact of Question 1. So now, you attempt to twist words, take comments out of context and to convince the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council to remove our advertising from the public airwaves.
Why don’t you tell real Maine citizens that the organization you work for, the Humane Society of the United States, opposed ALL bear hunting in New Jersey and Maryland? Why don’t you tell them that you oppose any effort to hunt Florida black bears even though they have far exceeded the population goals that indicate a healthy and growing bear population?
Why don’t you explain why the organization that pays you to run the Question 1 campaign removed the following quote from its website during the campaign here in Maine?
“As a matter of principle, The HSUS opposes the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy, or sport because of the animal trauma, suffering, and death that result. A humane society should not condone the killing of any sentient creature in the name of sport.”
Why don’t you explain how this statement is in line with the statements that HSUS makes that it is only opposed to “certain” hunting practices?
The truth is that you don’t think you can win if you tell Maine voters that you could not even raise 5% of your campaign funds inside Maine. That you had to get almost all of the funding for Question 1 from your Washington DC- based employer. That without these outside dollars, there wasn’t even enough public support to qualify Question 1 for the ballot?
Now, to address the allegations in your letter:
The woman in the ad is not “purportedly” screaming in response to a bear attack, as you claim. That is indeed her voice screaming during her son’s actual 911 call as she is being attacked in front of her children. The attack did indeed take place in Florida, a state that your organization worked to prevent from actually controlling its bear population.
Maine voters need to know that the public safety methods allowable if Question 1 were to pass, would only take place after a problem, such as a bear attack or a home entry has already happened. After the bear attacked the woman in Florida, authorities killed the bear.
Maine’s hunting seasons currently in place help prevent the over population of bears that have been an issue in Central Florida, New Jersey and elsewhere. Maine voters should not have to wait for something bad to happen before we control bear numbers. Your definition of “preserving public safety” is not one that I would trust for my own family.
Your use of Maine bear biologist Randy Cross’s emails is completely disingenuous. The email was written in 2012, and was related to someone’s question about encountering bears under Maine’s current program of controlling bears. Mr. Cross, Judy Camuso, Jen Vashon, and others have all been open that they are very concerned about their ability to control Maine’s bear population without the methods Question 1 would prohibit.
The truth is that bear attacks and conflicts are increasing all across the country. Your contention that attacks like the ones we reference are somehow not relevant to Maine’s Question 1 is based on one fact. Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have done a wonderful job of controlling bear numbers for decades. That gives you the luxury of claiming that attacks that have occurred in New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, California and elsewhere aren’t a real fear in Maine.
Maine has 30,000 bears. And they have increasingly been seen close and within human population centers as both the number of bears and humans continue to increase. Just this last year we’ve seen them in Kennebunk, Topsham, and just last week a nuisance bear had to be killed in Lebanon.
Under your plan, Mainers would have the ability to contact the authorities only after something bad has happened. Our ads make sure that actual Mainers know what that looks and sounds like. We believe that makes those ads very relevant.
James Cote, Campaign Manager- Save Maine’s Bear Hunt/NO on 1!
Katie Hansberry’s letter asking the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council to take down recent ads can be found by CLICKING HERE.
I find it really extremely funny as I read through some of the opinion pieces that some in Maine and outside the state have offered to news media in support or opposition to next Tuesday’s bear hunting referendum. It is laughable and in some cases really phoney as a three dollar bill.
But I’ll not go down that road because, well, to be honest, I think people are sick and tired of reading how somebody doesn’t have facts because they disagree or there is no proof and claims of false advertisements. Yes, and now we have lawsuits. We are in a campaign and campaigns provide multiple platforms in which all sides can lie, cheat and steal, make promises and get away with it like thieves in the night. Puke!
But in this one instance, I really feel badly for the bears. They don’t get no respect! A letter to the editor writer, in an attempt to paint his opposition as a bunch of fear-mongering liars, actually paints a picture of bears as being nothing but a bunch of sissified panty-waists.
In rational discourse we might learn about where certain predators fall in the hierarchy of who’s on top and who’s on bottom. In Maine, not including man, I think a black bear is probably considered top dog….or in this case top bear, the apex predator, the one animal that others don’t want to mess with very often, if at all. (Note: I put man as top predator because there are some who have enough sense to get in out of the rain.)
I guess for the ignorant, the question should be, how did a bear obtain the distinction of top killer? After all, that’s what predators are notorious for. Does “hungry as a bear” have any meaning for you? Does the idea that a hungry bear kills deer fawns and moose calves, help in gaining that distinction? A well-fed bear is of little concern to humans; a damned hungry one and you best get the hell out of the way! I/we have no control over food supplies for bears. Talk to Mother Nature about that.
In this opinion piece, linked to above, the author describes bears as: gentle, elusive, intelligent, timid and peaceful. If this is true then the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of previous scientists, who labeled the black bear a top predator, much have been wrong. Can that be?
The poor bear.
In perceiving bears in the manner of them being gentle, elusive, timid and peaceful, one has to wonder….no, not really. I wonder – I doubt all that many others do actually wonder – if this is what is often described as “new understanding” or “new knowledge” and “shifting the paradigm” and how we discuss wildlife issues.
The poor bear. What a wuss!
Readers should be aware as well that according to this information provided by the Portland Press Herald, the same poll shows that as more and more people “educate” themselves about the bear hunt, they oppose the referendum.
This should be considered normal, if we were only dealing with facts. Instead we are dealing with a lot of propaganda. It is my opinion the majority of information being given by those in opposition to the referendum is factual or strongly based on facts. The other side? Not so much. It is, therefore, relatively easy to conclude that those opposed to the referendum are doing a better job of swinging voters.
“In the end, the executive committee agreed that, without a chapter wildlife expert, we just didn’t have the resources or expertise to take a responsible position as an organization on this difficult issue,” says Chapter Co-Chair Becky Bartovics.<<<Read More>>>
From a person who hunts bears and uses bait, he writes that he thinks the 7 million pounds of bear bait used in a season in Maine is an exaggeration. He also claims that while 7 million pounds seems like a lot of bait, in the grand scheme of things it’s not.
However, the claim being made by the Humane Society of the United States that baiting these bears is causing higher birth rates and conditioning bears to human food, this man’s personal experience tells a bit of a different story.
With “thousands of photos and videos” over his bait piles, he contends that bears don’t come that often and when they do are only there for short periods of time. But his bait isn’t being consumed by bears.
Lastly, who eats most of the bear bait? Those furry bandits called raccoons. Every night, I have seen as many as 10 raccoons on the bait. They clean it out nightly. So in all the “7 million” pounds is reduced greatly and is not at all what the anti-bear hunters make it seem.
A former New Hampshire conservation officer recently said:
Bear populations are very hard to manage with just casual take by hunters on foot. In fact it can’t be done. Truth be known, trapping (often with live traps to allow release of females with cubs), allowing hunters to use bait and using hounds to tree the bears are the most efficient and actually more humane ways to keep bear populations within the carrying capacities of their environment.
And here is a typical statement made by those who actually hunt bears in the woods and not fall in love with them from their Washington, D.C. air conditioned offices:
A friend of mine has spent 5 decades hunting in Maine. He bow hunts. He hunts with guns. He hunts before work and after work. He hunts weekends. He takes his vacations during hunting seasons. He gets deer every year. He hunts rabbits with his beagle. He bird hunts. He’s hunted moose many times. He hunts all over the State. Some would say he is obsessed with hunting. He shot 2 turkey just this morning…..He told me in all those years, only 2 times has he a legit chance to shoot a bear. This “fair chase” bear stuff wont cut it.
In Maryland, a four-day bear hunting season just closed with harvest numbers disappointingly lower than was hoped for. 1,061 bear hunters checked 69 bears; about a 7% success rate. (Bear populations are hard to manage.)
One the first day of the bear hunting season, law enforcement handed out 6 hunting violations – all for hunting with bait. I wonder why they needed bait?
Press Release from Save Maine’s Bear Hunt:
Augusta, Maine- In a shocking move, Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting has decided to appeal a recent decision to deny a temporary restraining order that sought to muzzle the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife from informing the public about the risks behind Question 1.
“Justice Wheeler’s decision could not have been more definitive, noting that statutory language explicitly directs the Department to advocate its positions regarding bear management,” said James Cote, Campaign Manager for the Save Maine’s Bear Hunt/NO on 1 Campaign. “This is nothing more than frivolous court filing to generate headlines. They didn’t get their way last Friday in court, so they’ve decided to drag our incredibly experienced professionals at MEDIFW through the mud. I think Maine people will see right through that type of Beltway political strategy.”
The irony is that while the Washington DC -financed Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting objects to the use of any taxpayer dollars connected with Question 1, the endless lawsuits and motions and requests for information have cost the department tens of thousands of dollars and countless labor hours.
“The information that the proponents have requested consists of tens of thousands of files that is taking the Department well over 500 hours to sort through,” explained Cote. “And all of this is nothing more than a fishing expedition in a fading hope they will find useful information to attack Maine’s bear experts.”
If the public is concerned about the money being spent on this campaign, all eyes should be on Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting. More than 98 percent of their money is coming from the Humane Society of the United States in Washington DC, the organization that is trying to buy this election based on emotion, not facts, to further their national anti-hunting agenda.
“The money being spent by HSUS to buy this election is unprecedented and insulting. They are spending millions to eliminate the most effective methods of controlling our bear population and threatening hundreds of jobs and small businesses— almost $53 million in economic impact,” said Cote. “We don’t think Maine voters will let a Washington DC special interest group buy this election. Vote No on Question 1.”