October 1, 2022

Maine Has Too Many Bears – Problems Forthcoming

A “cute” story is found in the Bangor Daily News of a “picturesque” and a “beautiful” bear’s den just 80 yards from a home and a residential neighborhood in the Bangor, Maine area. The “picturesque” and “beautiful” den had a mother bear and two yearling cubs living in it…BUT WHY?

We don’t often get wildlife managers even hinting at management issues, but in this article we read a very large hint as to why these bears decided to den-up in humans backyard. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) bear biologist, Randy Cross, told reporters, “…with the range expansion that we’ve seen over the past 20 or 30 years, there are not a lot of places that you could say, in the whole state of Maine, ‘I don’t have to worry about bears here.’ A lot of places are low-risk, but they still have risk.””

We are repeatedly told that bears are more scared of us than we are of them. Evidently there is little fear in bears that choose to crawl under a stump for the winter adjacent to a house and subdivision. Cross told readers that his investigation showed the bears had not been eating human-resourced food – their scat was full of remains of apples. So, the bears didn’t opt to camp out in the backyard because they knew food was in somebody’s garbage or bird feeder.

There is usually a good reason bears get this close to human-settled landscapes. Both reasons are mentioned in this article but presented in ways that don’t really drive home the importance. One reason is habituation to human-sourced foods and the other because there are too many bears with not enough room to roam. These conditions, coupled with a year with a shortage of natural food, and Maine residents will be in store for a record-breaking year of bear/human encounters. Let’s hope nobody gets injured.

MDIFW must find better ways to control the bear numbers. It would seem intelligent (yeah I know) to add another season, and/or up the bag limits. Bears prey on deer and moose fawns in the Spring and both of those species have growth and sustainability issues. Isn’t it about time?

Or, maybe MDIFW is scared that killing more bears will convince the perverts another lawsuit or referendum is in order. They haven’t figured out yet that lawsuits and referendums are in order no matter what MDIFW does in their management schemes. Get over it and get on with it!