July 12, 2020

“Bear Populations Are Very Hard To Manage”

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?


Maine Judge Says HSUS Can’t Restrict Free Speech

““Restricting speech on contested public issues is directly contrary to the public interest, which favors a robust and dynamic public discourse,” Wheeler said in her 15-page decision. “It is [for] the voters, not the plaintiffs or the courts, to assess the relative merits of conflicting speech.

“The public interest would be adversely affected if plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order were granted when DIF&W’s speech is on topics squarely within ‘its competence as governor’” of statutory directives from the Legislature.”<<<Read More>>>



Maine Bear Basics

*Editor’s Note* – This came to me by a longtime and loyal reader and supporter. Thank you!

TOM: SAM has put together a series of articles with the intent of educating folks on Black Bear in Maine. Superlative. I sent this to several of my family members and hunting buddies this morning. The new website is linked on the SAM website.

Need to learn a lot more or just refresh your memory about Black Bears in Maine here’s your chance. The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine has put together the best thing I have seen for help in voting on the Bear Referendum . Click the snip below and it will take you online to read 13 essays (at the top of the page) from Bear Groceries to a Maine Bear Attack. Set the greater part of an hour apart and read some well-written essays. It will likely do you good. It did me.



Maine AFL-CIO and Tourism Association Urge a NO Vote on Q 1


Take a minute to vote NO in this online poll!



Results as of 8:45 am October 16, 2014


MDIFW Commissioner Opposes Question One

“You are not going to hunt them like deer. If you think you are going to walk in the woods and follow them you are wrong,” Woodcock said, as additional measures mentioned in the referendum question are needed to have a chance at getting a bear. “Hunting over bait is probably one of the best and most ethical ways to hunt. You have a choice of what you want to do.”<<<Read More>>>


Washington County Board Of Commissioners Officially Opposes Question 1

Source: Save Maine’s Bear Hunt

Posted on October 13, 2014


Opposition to Maine Referendum Question #1

“Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?

WHEREAS, Maine has one of the highest black bear populations at over 30,000, without effective hunting methods, the population will continue to dramatically increase; and,

WHEREAS, hunters spend an average of 15 days harvesting their quarry, and only one in four hunters are successful in their endeavors; and,

WHEREAS, monies spend during the hunting season directly and indirectly impact both the local and statewide economies, providing jobs and business opportunities for many rural residents; and,

WHEREAS, the Washington County Board of Commissioners agree that Referendum Question #1 would cripple Maine’s ability to manage its bear population as evidenced by statistical data showing that the use of bait, hounds, and traps are the most effective hunting methods that best control the population. The Board of Commissioners believes that the passage of Referendum Question #1 would compromise the safety of citizens with a potential increase of human-bear interactions; and,

WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners strongly support the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists, and Maine Game Wardens IN THEIR EFFORTS TO DEFEAT QUESTION #1; and,

WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners views Referendum Question #1 as just the beginning of a more expansive effort to erode Maine’s rich hunting traditions;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Washington County Board of Commissioners, at its October 8, 2014 Regular Meeting, officially opposes Maine Referendum Question #1 that will ban the use of bait, dogs, or traps in bear hunting.

Christopher Gardner, Chairman
John Crowley, Sr. Commissioner
Vinton Cassidy, Commissioner


Maine IFW Talks With Other States That Have Banned Bear Baiting

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

October 9, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine – With Maine’s bear management program the subject of a statewide referendum, Mainers are hearing a lot about Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts, four states that have passed similar measures.

After similar referendums passed in these states, generally these states have has seen an increase in the bear population, an increase in the number of nuisance complaints, an increase in the number of nuisance bears killed and an increased cost to the public as a result of expanding bear populations. Voters in Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington and Oregon banned bear hunting with bait and hounds from 1992 to 1996.

In Massachusetts, the bear population has increased seven-fold and bear conflicts have increased by 500 percent. Wayne MacCallum, director of the state’s Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, described the situation in an August 24 article in the Portland Press Herald: “(The bear population) is expanding eastward,” he said. “Every year now there are an increasing number of juvenile bears in metropolitan Boston. I suspect if we can’t harvest significantly more, the population will continue to increase.”

He went on to state that “there are constant complaints about bear encounters. We are constantly moving bears. It’s kind of like shoveling sand against the tide. This is the largest bear population in the state for at least 200 years. The fact of the matter is, at some point you will just have so many bears that people won’t tolerate them.”

In Colorado, more than 350 bears are killed each year in response to conflicts. Many towns have passed ordinances that regulate how residents can store their garbage and when it can be placed for curbside pickup, with fines ranging up to $1,000. One Colorado county even banned levered door handles on new houses because home entries by bears are so common.

In some Colorado towns, bear complaints are the number-one call received by police departments. When asked what impact a similar ban would have on Maine’s bear management program, Colorado bear biologist Jerry Apker recently said, “I think it would tremendously complicate how the State has to approach managing bears in Maine.”

In Oregon and Washington, biologists have struggled to prevent property damage by bears since the referendum passed, and those states now allow private landowners and deputized agents to kill bears using bait, hounds and traps in unlimited numbers.

Despite this, bears cause an estimated $16 million in damage to the timber industry each year by stripping the bark from young trees. Donny Martorello, the Carnivore Section Manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, recently told 92.9 Radio Host Bob Duchesne that before the referendum, “we were able to use recreational hunters at a very low cost and through time (that) was working well.” While he respects the rights of voters to pass a citizen initiative, he went on to say that “having that full toolbox of ways to manage the resource is something we’d like to see.”

In Maine, bait, hounds, and traps account for 93 percent of our annual bear harvest. Maine is the most forested state in the country, and our woods have a thick understory, which makes still-hunting extremely difficult. The loss of bait, hounds and traps for bear hunting will have a much larger impact on Maine’s bear management program than it has in other states.

In addition, Maine has very few options to increase participation by bear hunters if the referendum passes. The state already has a 14-week hunting season that starts in late August and ends after bears have entered their dens. Bear hunting licenses are already available in unlimited numbers, and a spring hunting season is prohibited by legislation.

During the firearms season on deer, all Maine residents are already allowed to hunt bears without having to purchase a separate bear license. Since Maine won’t be able to offset a reduction in the bear harvest by increasing hunter numbers or season length, if the referendum passes we expect the bear harvest to decline dramatically. This will result in a rapidly increasing bear population that expands into the more populated areas of Maine, causing more conflicts with people.

Even though each of these states is very different from Maine in several ways, it is informative to understand how their bear management programs have evolved over time. Maine’s bear biologists discussed each state’s bear management programs and hunting methods with the biologists in these states. As a result, Maine’s biologists are more convinced than ever that a ban on bear hunting with bait, hounds and traps will be bad for Maine.

In all of these states that passed similar referendums, bait and hounds were responsible for a relatively small portion of the annual bear harvest because the open habitats make other hunting methods, like spot and stalk, more effective. Therefore, it was possible for the fish and wildlife agencies to partially offset the decline in the bear harvest that occurred after the referendums passed.

This was accomplished by lengthening fall hunting seasons, reducing the cost of bear hunting licenses, expanding spring hunting seasons, increasing annual bag limits or issuing more bear hunting permits.

In some states, bear tags were included in a package with other big game licenses, so that virtually all hunters could shoot a bear if they saw it. The rise in bear hunter numbers was due to changes in how hunting licenses were administered, rather than an actual increase in interest in bear hunting (e.g. all big game hunters receive a bear tag and then are counted as bear hunters whether they actually pursue bears or not). Even with these changes, each of the harvests in these states is less than half the number of bears that need to be taken in Maine each year to control the population.

Maine is fortunate to have one of the largest bear populations in the country. We have very few conflicts between people and bears, and those that do occur are generally not severe. Fewer than a dozen bears are killed each year to protect property or public safety. Our bear management program is based on 40 years of research and is highly regarded by biologists across the country.

Leaving bear management in the capable hands of Maine’s biologists and game wardens will ensure that bears retain their stature as one of our state’s most treasured resources.


Irony or Fakery?



Why Animals Eat Their Young

They are out there. There’s little we can do about it. We not only protect them but it appears we are proliferating their very being.

My next statement will appear extremely cruel to 99.999% of Americans. If you don’t want to be offended get off this page and don’t leave stupid comments in the comment section….thank you.

The other day I went to Home Depot to buy some spray paint in order to paint an antique iron bed frame. I picked out two cans and headed for the Self Check-out up front. I scanned the first can and that act set off a bunch of bells, whistles and sirens. On the screen it read, “Please show your driver’s license to the cashier now!”

WHAT????? Even with all the noise and commotion, there was no customer service representative making any attempt to come to my rescue. So, I did what any red-blooded asshole – that is anyone who is getting so fed up with government orchestrating every damned move I make – would do and shouted very loudly, “Why do I have to show somebody my driver’s license?”

With that a young man said, “I’ll help you with that sir,” and he walked over to his computer screen and cleared the mess on mine. He said, “There you go, sir. You can continue now.”

But nobody has answered my question: “Why do I need to show someone my driver’s license?”

To the customer service representative the answer was simple. To me it was mind blowing. He said, “You have to be 18 to buy this kind of paint.”

“WHAT????? Why?”

“Because kids are buying it to ‘sniff’ and get high,” was his reply.

Without thinking I said, “Let them buy the stuff. Why do we continue to protect these kinds of people?”

I shocked the hell out of this guy.

So, what happens is these paint-sniffing kids, probably offspring of dope-taking adults, become adults and write letters to the editors of newspapers comparing bear hunting to slavery. Yup!

In a letter to the editor of a Maine newspaper, a woman writes, “I have no sympathy for anyone whose business plan is based on cruelty, any more than I feel sorry for the plantation owners who had to give up their slaves…”

You see this person also thinks bears are “sentient” beings, that is, “able to perceive or feel things,” like humans. I used to think that people who thought this way just wanted to make animals become like humans so they could have at least one friend. Over the years I’ve come to learn what is really going on is that some humans want to become like bears (animals) so that they can actually “perceive” something.

But on a somewhat related note, many of the same people who think bears are smarter than they are, and are more perceptive, have continued to perpetuate a pulled-out-of-the-hat concoction that Maine bear hunters litter the forests with “7-million pounds” of junk food.

First it’s not really littering because all the animals clean it up. Second, 7-million pounds?

In another letter to the editor I was reading this morning, a guy wanted to know how much of an outcry there would be if someone proposed a landfill into which just the 7-million pounds of “jelly donuts” could be dumped. This got me to thinking.

I know a little bit about bear baiting, but I’m not an outfitter, nor have I ever personally baited bear or sat over a bait pile. I did stay at a Holiday Inn once and while there I talked with some bear hunters. Not all bear hunters spend thousands of dollars to buy their bait at full retail value. Some get it at reduced prices, while others get it free.

If bear hunters didn’t use this 7-million pounds of junk food, what would become of it? Would it feed the hungry? I don’t think so. Magically disappear? Doubt it. Be shipped down to the governor of New Jersey’s house? Wrong again. I guess it would end up in the same place all other wasted stuff goes….the landfill.

Just suppose that there was 7-million pounds of bait put out each year from about one month of baiting, times 12 months = 84-million pounds a year. Just to be clear, that’s 168 tons of waste in landfills. Over a ten-year period of time, Maine’s landfills are sneaking up on 2000 tons of food waste.

What about New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and every other state in the Union. What happens to their wasted junk food. If each state had the equivalent amount of wasted junk food as Maine, why golly, there would be 10,000 tons (20 million pounds) of wasted potential bear bait a year.

We can look at this one of two ways: Either there’s an awful lot of wasted food in landfills in this country or maybe there really isn’t quite 7 million pounds of junk food dumped in Maine forests over a one month period of time.

Now, before you go getting your undies in a wad, I’m almost as “sentient” as that bear, and I realize that probably some, I don’t know how much, of the junk food used for bear bait is produced specifically for the bear baiting business. If that is true, then that’s great because somebody has a job that will pay for all the entitlements those protected, paint-sniffing kids will be needing.

We know from 40 years of Maine black bear studies, that any bait used by bear hunters has absolutely none of the side effects claimed by the paint sniffers. Therefore, people have jobs, and that includes manufacturing a bit of “stuff” for bear bait. The bear hunting event keeps a lot of people working, AND it provides for a very healthy black bear population.

And I now all of this because I DON’T SNIFF PAINT!