July 21, 2019

Maine’s chance to reconsider bear hounding, trapping without referendum – Or I’ll Get My Way One Way or Another

*Editor’s Note* – The Bangor Daily News, a mouthpiece of the Left and a hater of anything Maine tradition, is at it once again trying to convince Maine people that hunting bears with hounds and trapping are methods that simply don’t fit into what they deem and demand should be everyone’s lifestyle. This time they are suggesting that when Maine is devising their new bear management plan, that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) should manipulate that plan to get the Legislature the necessary bias to enact laws that would ban the bear hunting methods.

If this isn’t the classic, “I told you so,” I don’t know what is. Hunters and others supportive of bear hunting have, for years, stated that anti human groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), will never stop their campaign until they have succeeded in eliminating all forms of hunting, fishing and trapping. The Bangor News is a wonderful “useful idiot” for groups like the HSUS.

In examining the editorial staff’s perspective on this issue, we see that they think the company hired to conduct surveys of public opinions “might” this time show that a majority of people will support a ban on bear hounding and trapping. Even though two referendums in 10 years proved otherwise, BDN, in their insanity, think this time that “third time’s a charm.”

And they may be right – not because a majority of people think that way but because it appears, from what I have read about this effort, everyone is placing all their bets on that company who will be conducting the survey. What fools who do.

All surveys are bias. Let me repeat that. All surveys(polls) are biased. The company that will be conducting the survey for Maine will say they are not and that all questions and approaches are scientific, blah, blah, blah. The reality is a question can be asked in several ways in order to achieve a desired outcome. Sorry, but that is the truth.

So, just as easily, the survey questions can be presented in any way they want and the results will be neither accurate nor unbiased. In short, Maine is to become at the mercy of a company out of Virginia that everyone thinks may be the answer to all things bear in Maine.

Regardless of the outcome, regardless of what MDIFW does, regardless of what the Maine Legislature does, regardless of what any sane person or group of persons does, the Bangor Daily News and all other anti human groups will NOT stop their attacks until they get what they want.

With bears specifically, this round of management planning is the agency’s opportunity to reach a consensus, which could be key to preventing another referendum battle over bear hunting methods that have gone before voters twice in the past 11 years.

Source: Maine’s chance to reconsider bear hounding, trapping without referendum — Opinion — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

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Big Bank Account and Little Knowledge: Why HSUS Can’t Be Trusted with Decisions for Maine’s Bears

Press Release from Save Maine’s Bear Hunt:

Augusta, Maine- Three recent pieces of evidence make it extremely clear why the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting can’t be trusted to make healthy decisions for Maine’s wildlife.

Exhibits 1 & 2- Lack of understanding of bear species in Maine

Below you will find exhibits 1 & 2. Exhibit 1 was posted recently on Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting Facebook page. Exhibit 2 was the cover of a recent mailer that was sent by Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting to Maine voters. In each of these, pictures of grizzly bears are shown. The species was confirmed by Nate Webb a biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. (Nate Webb, Ph.D., received his doctorate degree at the University of Alberta, and was the large carnivore biologist overseeing grizzly and black bear management in the province of Alberta for over five years. One of Webb’s duties was teaching bear identification and bear safety to the general public. Webb currently is the IFW special projects biologist.) The problem with this, of course, is that Maine is not home to any native population of grizzly bears. In fact, grizzlies are only found in Alaska, south through Western Canada and into the northwestern U.S. The closest grizzly population is likely to be in Wyoming or Manitoba- nearly 2,000+miles away. Maine has one of the largest populations of black bears anywhere in the country.

1.

GrizzlyBears

2.
BaitingStinks

Exhibit 3- Lack of understanding of Maine bear hunting laws

In this screen shot of a 15 second ad paid for by Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting titled “hounds”, taken on October 27 from the Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting website (www.fairbearhunt.com/video), seven bear dogs are seen hunting a bear. An eighth dog eventually comes into the shot. Under Maine law, only 6 dogs may be used to hunt bears (see: Maine Statutes, Title 12: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/12/title12sec11302.html) This hunt likely took place in another state, not in Maine.

3.

TVAdHounds

“These three pieces of evidence clearly demonstrate why HSUS and Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting should not be trusted with decisions regarding Maine’s bears,” said James Cote, Campaign Manager for the Save Maine’s Bear Hunt/NO on 1! Campaign. “Maine voters deserve better than this level of deception and misunderstanding- our bears, our safety, our economy and our outdoor heritage are too important be left to outsiders with big bank accounts and little knowledge of bears and bear hunting here in Maine.”

According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine is home to a population of 30,000 black bears. Question 1 would eliminate the three most effective methods of controlling the bear population. Hunting over bait, trapping, and hunting with dogs accounts for approximately 93% of Maine’s annual bear harvest.

“If these groups can’t even take the time to talk about the correct species of bear, or show images that are truly reflective of a bear hunt under Maine law, how can we possibly trust them with decisions about managing our healthy bear population?” said Cote. “This is a no-brainer. Let’s trust our experienced bear biologists and game wardens, not the outsiders. Vote NO on 1.”
HSUSGetRight

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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>>>

HSUSliars

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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.

MaineBearFacts

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

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Washington County Board Of Commissioners Officially Opposes Question 1

Source: Save Maine’s Bear Hunt

Posted on October 13, 2014

Proclamation

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

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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.

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Irony or Fakery?

IronyFakery

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A Reasonable Understanding of Black Bear Management

From the Boston Globe:

“Cross and his employer, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, argue that, without these extra aids in hunting, this overpopulation would worsen. Hunters already struggle to find the secretive creatures in Maine’s thick forests, Cross explains. Only three in 10 hunters actually shoot a bear.

“Fairness comes down to challenge,” he adds. “I would debate with anyone that, with 70 percent of hunters being unsuccessful, that is challenge enough.”” <<<Read More>>>

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11-Year-Old takes 500 Pound Bear Near Bethel, Maine

An 11-year-old boy from New Jersey shot and killed a 502-pound black bear in Bethel on Monday, one of the largest bears bagged in Maine in two years.

Steven Myers Jr., a sixth-grader from Steelmantown, New Jersey, was hunting early in the morning with his father, brother, grandfather and others when the family’s team of hounds treed the gigantic male bear off Rabbit Road.<<<Read More>>>

11YearOldBear

RabbitRoad

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