September 23, 2019

Progress On Maine Bear Bill LD1118

WildWatchMaine (WWM), an obviously dishonest “animal advocate” organization that opposes any hunting, trapping, and fishing legislation, is once again appealing for your MONEY to fight LD1118, a proposed bill that would give the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) commissioner authority to manipulate bear hunting/trapping seasons as those adjustments become necessary (in the opinion of the commissioner) to meet management goals.

This is how WWM worded their appeal for money: “This is the bill we OPPOSE for many reasons, not the least of which is that it would EXTEND THE BEAR TRAPPING SEASON…to nearly 20 weeks.”

This is NOT what LD1118 would do if it should pass the Maine Legislature. LD1118 says, “The commissioner shall by rule establish a bear trapping season beginning no earlier than August 1st and ending no later than December 15th annually.”

Conveniently, and dishonestly in my opinion, left out of the WWM’s appeal for MONEY is the Part A and Part B of the bill proposal: “A. The commissioner may shorten the open season on bear trapping in any part of the State as long as: (1) The demarcation of the areas with a shortened season follows recognizable physical boundaries such as rivers and railroad rights-of-way; and
(2) The decision is made and published prior to February 1st of any year.
B. The commissioner may terminate the open season on bear trapping at any time in any part of the State if, in the commissioner’s opinion, an immediate emergency action is necessary due to adverse weather conditions or severe hunting or trapping pressure.”

Don’t be fooled by dishonest anti-hunting groups who are, first and foremost, after your MONEY, and secondly, whose only intention is to stop hunting and trapping. This bill DOES NOT lengthen the season on bear for hunting or trapping. What it does do is give authority to the MDIFW Commissioner to adjust the length of those seasons pursuant to the needs of established management goals.

Also don’t be fooled by this bill proposal in that this bill gives the authority to the commissioner to shut down all bear hunting, baiting, trapping, etc. at the discretion of that commissioner. Hmmmm!

It is vitally important to understand who and how we are being screwed over by Environmental groups and government. Support or oppose this bill as you wish but understand the truth before you do.

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Maine IFW Posturing for an “ATTA BOY?”

Could it be? With several years now of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) telling people that the state’s black bear population is getting too big and that bear hunting and trapping harvests have been inadequate to keep populations in check, is the Department actually considering doing something about it?

According to an article in the Bangor Daily News, the MDIFW has emailed out questionnaires asking licensed bear hunters, “If the law allowed you to harvest two bears while hunting, would you attempt to harvest two bears?”

It has been suggested that upping the harvest limit and/or adding a Spring bear hunt might assist the MDIFW in establishing the goals of the department. The Spring bear hunt has been under the control of the Guides and Outfitters for some time dictating to the MDIFW what, when, where and how. Perhaps these two groups have suggested upping the bear harvest limit?

I’ve grown tired over the years listening to the drivel over what to do about the growing number of bears, while at the same time never seeing anything done about it.

If finally, the department is going to do something about it and actually increase the bag limit to two bears while hunting, let’s all give the MDIFW a big ATTA BOY!

The author of the piece that I linked to, suggested, “Perhaps a two bear limit by any method or combined methods would be a feasible alternative.” I agree, however, if things go as they have in the past, the guides and outfitters will dictate to the MDIFW how things will run.

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Maine Supreme Court Decision Against HSUS Not Necessarily a Victory for Sportsmen

Maine sportsmen shouldn’t go off half cocked and with swelled chests believing that the decision by the Maine Supreme Court to uphold Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler’s ruling that a lawsuit, filed by Katie Hansberry and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), declared “moot,” was some kind of major victory for sportsmen.

The Sportsmen’s Alliance put out a presser extolling the victory: “Today’s ruling just reaffirms our position and is a clear and decisive victory for sportsmen in Maine,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation. “The people of Maine deserve to hear from the experts when it comes to these issues, and today’s ruling rightfully upheld that position.”

A writer for the Bangor Daily News reports: “In March 2015, Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler dismissed the lawsuit, saying it was moot because the election had been decided. She also declared the department’s campaign activities were legal because restricting speech on a contested issue was not in the public’s interest.”

I think it’s imperative that readers examine the written ruling of the Maine Supreme Court on the issue, compare it with comments being made and determine that this ruling is not a huge victory for sportsmen. As well, it’s important to understand what was and what wasn’t written in the decision.

As I understand it, Katie Hansberry and HSUS filed a lawsuit to stop representatives from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) from speaking out in opposition to Question One on the Maine ballot – an initiative that would have effectively ended bear hunting and trapping in the state. From the perspective of MDIFW such a referendum, if passed, would have seriously impeded the department’s ability to responsibly manage black bears.

Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler, at the time of review of the lawsuit, ruled the case “moot” because the referendum voting had already taken place. However, HSUS and Hansberry decided to appeal that ruling and sought from the Maine Supreme Court a clear ruling that would, in the future, prohibit state departments, and in this case MDIFW, from using what they deemed public resources against public referendum issues.

While the Maine Supreme Court upheld Wheeler’s moot ruling, in response to the appeal the justices attempted to explain why the moot decision was upheld and why the same Court could not make a blanket ruling about future campaigns that involve state departments.

The Court writes: “An issue is moot when there remains no “real and substantial controversy, admitting of specific relief through a judgment of conclusive character.”  A controversy that declares rights “upon a state of facts that may or may not arise in the future” is not justiciable.” 

HSUS was seeking a ruling that they could perhaps use that would prohibit any department from speaking out, for or against, in future referendum campaigns. The Court was not going to give them that ruling because there is no way to determine future issues and the context in which such campaign issues may arise.

The lawsuit against the MDIFW claims that employees/representatives of that department, continuing to be allowed to speak out against HSUS’ efforts “harms ongoing efforts” of HSUS. The Court thought otherwise: “This alleged harm does not present a “real and substantial controversy” that could be addressed through “specific relief.” Any relief that MFBH will obtain is theoretical, depending on whether it becomes involved in a future ballot initiative.”

The Court also explains, in depth, certain exceptions to “mootness.” (1) sufficient collateral consequences will result from the determination of the questions presented so as to justify relief; (2) the appeal contains questions of great public concern that, in the interest of providing future guidance to the bar and public we may address; or (3) the issues are capable of repetition but evade review because of their fleeting or determinate nature.

Perhaps of most importance is the following statement found in the ruling as it pertains to why “mootness” exceptions do not exist: “However, the core question at issue in this case is not a generic question; rather, the question presented is the specific agency’s authority in the context of the facts at issue. Each State agency’s authority turns on its individual enabling statute. Although the question may recur, the extent of an agency’s statutory authority, the actions taken by the agency, and the context of those actions will vary and are not predictable. An interpretation of the Department’s enabling statute in the context of this now-concluded action may have little authoritative value in future litigation.” 

Hansberry and the Humane Society of the United States did not get what they wanted but it should be understood that they also were not shut out in their efforts. What they got was a better understanding of how to go about filing the next lawsuit in order to better satisfy the demands of the Maine Court. The ruling does not declare that all of Maine’s governmental departments are free to campaign for or against public issues. Each department is different and the context of the lawsuits – circumstances involved – can and will determine the viability of a lawsuit against the state.

In this particular case, because the lawsuit never reached the Courts before the referendum voting, the case was declared moot and considerations as to future lawsuits could not be evaluated “generically.”

A victory? Perhaps. A huge victory? No. And even the so-perceived victory is in the eye of the beholder. Is it a victory to know that in the right context, the state can be sued to prevent the public from gaining knowledge about a department’s ability to do their jobs? Is it a victory that in the same or different context, that state can not be sued?

Doors always swing in two directions. What we should learn is that in this one particular case, HSUS was not able to get the Court to give them what they wanted to make their future lawsuits easier by censorship. However, they gained understanding for the next time.

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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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Bear-hunting guides wary of another referendum challenge

*Editor’s Note* – Don’t bet on the statement below!

WELD — A year after Maine voters defeated a second bear-hunting referendum, hunting guides are wary they might have to fight off another challenge in the future.However, the Humane Society of the United States, which funded last year’s campaign to ban the use of bait, hounds and traps in bear hunting in Maine, says it has no plans to return.Nicole Paquette, the Humane Society vice president for wildlife protection, said Thursday that while ending Maine’s “cruel bear hunting practices” remains a priority for the international animal-welfare group, there are no plans to pursue another referendum.

Source: Bear-hunting guides wary of another referendum challenge – The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

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Here’s a Bear Hug for You

Check out that bear trap. It reminds me of a joke about pain and a bear trap but I guess this is not the forum to share such a story.

PetersonBearNews
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The Truth About Bear Trapping

“Maine’s nationally famous Bear Study has monitored thousands of bears since it started in 1975. During that time, using the foot snare, it has trapped and released, unharmed, more than 2,700 bears. Many bears have been caught repeatedly, and have shown no physical or behavioral trauma from the experience.

“Trapped bears don’t struggle much, and are found sitting quietly at the trap site, often sleeping. Their physical condition is closely studied by biologists, and trap injuries have been statistically non-existent. The bears have to be released completely unharmed for the studies to be effective; foot snares would never be used if they damaged the animals even slightly.”<<<Read More>>>

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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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