A new anti-hunting organization has announced its intent to qualify a ballot initiative before voters to ban the most successful methods of controlling bear numbers in Maine. Called Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, the organization is actually backed by the nation’s largest anti-hunting organization; the Washington DC based Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
The goal of the organization and their ballot initiative is to ban bear hunting using hounds, bait and trapping. The group must gather nearly 57,277 valid signatures by February 3, 2014 to place the issue before voters in the November 2014 election.
Maine voters shot down an identical measure financed by HSUS nearly ten years ago. In 2004, Question 2 was defeated 53 percent to 47 percent. Earlier this year, HSUS backed legislation to ban bear trapping and bear hunting with hounds. The bill, LD 1474, was unanimously voted down by a joint committee of the state legislature.
“The citizens of Maine and their elected representatives have already spoken on this issue,” said Evan Heusinkveld, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance director of government affairs. “They have rejected the false claims of outside groups because they understand that using hounds, bait, and trapping methods to hunt bears in the state are humane and important tools for controlling the bear population, for public safety and for protecting agriculture.”
Maine has the largest bear population in the continental U.S. As the bear population has continued to grow, so has the number of nuisance bear complaints. HSUS’s bear hunting ban would politicize wildlife management and take this important tool out of the hands of the state’s bear biologists who have done an excellent job managing the bear population for the state.