(Aug. 6, 2013) – Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting declared August ‘End Bear Baiting Month’ and called on more than 130 food suppliers in Maine to go ‘bait free’ by not providing leftover food waste for the purpose of baiting bears for trophy hunting.
Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, a coalition of state and national groups including the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, animal shelters, responsible hunters and The Humane Society of the United States, is inviting food suppliers from around the state to participate in this important effort as a part of a larger initiative to align Maine with much for the rest of the country by prohibiting the cruel and unsporting practices of bear baiting, trapping and hounding with packs of dogs.
Maine is one of just a handful of states that still allows the killing of bears over bait for recreation. Baiting involves luring a bear to a noxious pile of rotting meat, pizza, pastries, donuts and other junk food and then shooting the bear at point blank range while her head is buried in the piles of bait. Nearly 80 percent of all bears in Maine are killed by this unsporting practice, which flies in the face of Maine’s hunting heritage.
Katie Hansberry, campaign director for Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting said: “Most Mainers would be shocked to learn that businesses they patronize are giving handouts to bear baiters. There’s no sport in killing a bear whose face is buried in rotting jelly donuts and we are confident that voters will put an end to this biologically reckless practice on the 2014 ballot. In the interim, we hope that Maine businesses will cease to participate in such an abhorrent practice.”
Daryl DeJoy, steering committee member for Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting and executive director of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine said: “By designating August ‘End Bear Baiting Month’ it allows us to get the message out about the relatively new phenomenon of baiting. There is no tradition in baiting – by feeding millions of pounds of fatty junk food to bears, we are creating larger bear populations and habituating the bears to human food and smells, creating nuisance bears. This is an important first step to ridding Maine of this practice.”
Nearly every state and federal wildlife agency, including Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife warns the public not to feed bears because it leads to conflicts with humans, but Maine carves out a special exception for those who want to kill bears. The businesses that give leftover food waste to trophy hunters for baiting are not only subsidizing an inhumane and unsporting practice, but are also creating more nuisance bears by conditioning them to human food sources and making them more likely to search out food in dumpsters and camp sites.
For more information on Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, please visit http://fairbearhunt.com/.
Media Contact: Elise Baldacci, 207-299-0226, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maine Bear Hunting Reform Narrowly Rejected by Voters
Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting expressed disappointment about the election results on Question 1, but thanked more than a quarter million Mainers who voted to end bear baiting, hounding, and trapping.
"We are grateful to so many Maine voters for supporting this proposed reform, and we look forward to working with them and with ‘no’ and non-voters to outlaw the practices of bear hounding and trapping, because we believe there’s substantial agreement on that issue."