Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting


Prohibiting Bear Baiting, Hounding and Trapping is a Win-Win for Maine

Evidence from other states shows a stable bear population and increased revenue

(Oct. 30, 2014) – A recently released report shows that a “Yes” on Question 1 will lead to increased bear hunting participation and revenue generation for the state, while stabilizing the bear population. Colorado, Oregon and Washington prohibited these cruel methods two decades ago and have been effectively managing their bear population while keeping bear-human conflicts stable and dramatically increasing revenue.

Katie Hansberry, campaign director for Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, said: “Lessons learned from other states show the potential for Maine’s bear population to finally stabilize and revenue to increase threefold. This means more revenue for the state and three times as many potential clients for Maine guides and outfitters. How can Mainers do anything but vote Yes on Question 1? A “yes” vote on Question 1 means “yes” to sound bear management, “yes” to a ban on cruelty and “yes” to more revenue.”

After Oregon prohibited baiting and hounding, bear tag sales tripled and revenue from non-resident bear tag sales in the state doubled. In Colorado, the number of bear hunters and revenue more than tripled, while Washington resident license more than quadrupled and revenue from non-resident license sales doubled. If Mainers vote “yes” on Question 1 on November 4, Maine is expected to see a similar long-term economic boost.

John Beecham, an expert in human-bear conflicts with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and a former bear biologist for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, recently told VICE News, “[The Maine wildlife agency] can make an argument that they need to shoot more bears because they need to reduce conflicts, but the reality is that that's not a very accurate argument. You can't back that up with data. It's not there…The reality is that there is no relationship between the size of the bear population and conflict levels.”

These same states have also effectively managed their bear populations and bear-human conflicts have remained relatively stable. Oregon and Washington’s respective bear populations have remained at population levels between 25,000 to 30,000, the same size as Maine’s population. 

With Maine’s current bear management methods, the bear population hasn't stabilized, or even slowed. In fact, it's doing just the opposite. Since 2004, as a result of baiters, trappers and outfitting guides dumping 7 million pounds of pizza, jelly donuts and other junk food in Maine’s woods each year, the bear population has increased by 30 percent and nuisance complaints by 25 percent.

Maine is also an outlier on these outdated practices being the only state in the country to allow all three of these cruel and unsporting practices and the only one to allow trapping.

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting is a coalition of state and national groups, environmental and animal organizations, animal shelters and rescue groups, hunters, veterinarians, businesses, community and faith leaders and independent biologists. The coalition’s Bear and Science Advisory Council consists of sportsmen, scientists and bear experts who have come together to support a fair bear hunt and prohibit the cruel practices of hounding, baiting, and trapping.


Endorsements

Wildlife Alliance of Maine
Animal Welfare Society
Spay Maine
Maine Friends of Animals
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
Coastal Humane Society
Animal Refuge League
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
Halfway Home Pet Rescue

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Media

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."

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